Latin vōs derived pronouns as a respectful form: Development in Romance languages

Sardokan1.0

Senior Member
Sardu / Italianu
Moderator note: Split from here.

In Sardinian we use it as courtesy form. The Latin "vos" has become "bos" because of betacism. The standard courtesy form always uses Bos or the pronoun "Bois" (Vobis) + the verb in 2nd plural person. While in some areas it's used "Vosté" (from Catalan) with 3rd singular person, similar to Spanish "Usted".

Example :
  • Coment'ìstas? / Comente ses? - How are you? - (no courtesy form, 2nd person singular).
  • Coment'istàdes? / Comente setis? - How are you? - (courtesy form, 2nd person plural, the pronoun it's omitted).
  • Vosté coment'ìstat? / Vosté coment'est? (courtesy pronoun Vosté + 3rd person singular).
  • Bois coment'istàdes? / comente setis? (courtesy form, 2nd person plural with pronoun)
  • Bos happo bidu d'hèris dae su duttore - I've seen You yesterday at the doctor. (courtesy form with Bos + Habeo + Past participle)
 
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  • Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    The standard courtesy form always uses Bos or the pronoun "Bois" (Vobis) + the verb in 2nd plural person. While in some areas it's used "Vosté" (from Catalan) with 3rd singular person, similar to Spanish "Usted".
    That's weird, as the form used in Catalan has traditionally been vos. In fact, vostè doesn't seem to be attested before the 16th century.

    These days, both vostè and vos are used, the first to indicate more distance in the treatment, while the latter shows respect and a certain proximity at the same time (so it's commonly used in administrative letters or when talking to old people).
     

    Sardokan1.0

    Senior Member
    Sardu / Italianu
    That's weird, as the form used in Catalan has traditionally been vos. In fact, vostè doesn't seem to be attested before the 16th century.
    Not so strange if we think that Sardinia was ruled by Spain until early XVIIIth century, and both Spanish and Catalan languages were used in official documents, the two languages continued to be used for other 100 years after the passage of Sardinia from Spain to Piedmont.

    P.S.
    Another interesting thing, I don't know if also in Catalan there are various forms of Vosté, but in different areas of Sardinia this pronoun has different forms or evolved into different pronunciations.

    Vosté / Fosté / Vusté / Fusté / Vostéi / Fostéi / Vostéti / Fostéti / Vustéti / Fustéti

    Also in Catalan there are so many variables? I find interesting specially Vustéti / Fustéti, a similar evolutive solution may explain the Spanish "Usted". Something like : Fustét -> Hustét (the initial F disappears) -> Ustét -> Ustéd.
     
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    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Not so strange if we think that Sardinia was ruled by Spain until early XVIIIth century, and both Spanish and Catalan languages were used in official documents, the two languages continued to be used for other 100 years after the passage of Sardinia from Spain to Piedmont.
    I just read something about it, also mentioning that Catalan was indeed used in documents there, alongside Spanish, Latin and Sardinian, until the 18th century, I guess that due to the loss of rights for the whole Crown of Aragon. Quite surprising, though, considering that Catalan began to lose its influence on the Mediterranean in the 15th/16th centuries.

    Another interesting thing, I don't know if also in Catalan there are various forms of Vosté, but in different areas of Sardinia this pronoun has different forms or evolved into different pronunciations.

    Vosté / Fosté / Vusté / Fusté / Vostéi / Fostéi / Vostéti / Fostéti / Vustéti / Fustéti

    Also in Catalan there are so many variables?
    As usual, the DCVB is a good source for this: bustέ (or.); bosté (occ., Val.); vosté (Cast., Al.); vustέ (Valls); vostə́ (mall.); vostέ̞ (Alaró, Binissalem); vustə́ (Ciutadella, Eiv.); vustέ̞ (Maó, Alaior); vusté (Alguer).

    I find interesting specially Vustéti / Fustéti, a similar evolutive solution may explain the Spanish "Usted".
    Hmm, I doubt it. There's no fusted, as far as I know, and it's easier to imagine a b- dropping (abuelo > auelo/uelo) than the whole v>f>h>- process. Contraction of vuestra merced, bearing in mind the Catalan vostè and the Portuguese você is more logical, specially if one thinks about the Vstd abbreviation. And there's also Usía, from Vuestra Señoría. But there is still debate about its real origin indeed.
     
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