[b-hebrew] We and us

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Wed Nov 15 00:46:17 EST 2006


That usage is common in old Russian, something like, Hear, o king, his
slave!
It's not really politeness in the modrn sense, but close to superstitious
fear of directly addressing a superior; thus 3rd person instead of the 2nd.
Similarly, in many cultures a slave or vassal was not supposed to look
directly at king or master.

Vadim Cherny

>
> Begging your patience.
>
> Take 1 Sam 26:19 for an example:
>
> yishma` na' 'adoni hammelek 'et dibrey `abdo
>
> We have a 3rd person subject prefix on the verb.  Surely this is a
> transformation from the second person notion "you" (2nd person) as in
> "you listen."
>
> We have a third person pronominal suffix on `abdo.  Surely this is a
> transformation from the first person possessive notion, "The words are
> mine."
>
> The question is not whether the notions surface as noun clauses or
> independent pronouns.  The question is whether the transformation from a
> notion in one person to a surface structure in another person is driven
> by politeness.
>
> Am I thinking correctly?
>
> If yes, why wouldn't the surface structure qualify as grammaticalization
> since it requires third person reference?
>
> Shalom,
> Bryan
>
> David Kummerow wrote:
> > Dear Bryan,
> >
> > See me earlier response to Peter. I take it that Peter's point does not
> > invalidate my questioning of the supposed link between politeness and
> > the two BH first-person independent pronouns. That English "your humble
> > servant" HASN'T grammaticalised into a first-person pronoun could even
> > be taken in support of my claims. Why hasn't it grammaticalised? The
> > answer from typological research is that English would need polite
> > second- and third-person pronouns before such a grammaticalisation could
> > occur (again, see Helmbrecht's work).
> >
> > This is the same with 'adoni hammelek substituting for 'attah. The
> > phrase is hardly a polite pronoun. Sure, the phrase functions to express
> > politeness, but I don't think it is a grammaticalised polite pronoun; it
> > is still a noun phrase.
> >
> > Regards,
> > David Kummerow.
> >
> >
> >> B-Haverim,
> >>
> >> Peter makes a good point.  In addition, we may take note of third
person
> >> being substituted for second in BH (and English?), as in 'adoni
hammelek
> >> substituting for 'attah.
> >>
> >> Shalom,
> >> Bryan
> >>
> >> Peter Kirk wrote:
> >>
> >>> /
> >> />/ Later, David wrote:
> >> />>/ ... Helmbrecht demonstrates that the
> >> />>/ grammaticalisation of politeness distinctions in the first-person
is
> >> />>/ from a number of options: nouns denoting "servant" and "slave" etc
> >> />>/ (Japanese, Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, Turkish); ...
> >> />/
> >> />/ If the use of nouns denoting "servant" and "slave" for the first
person
> >> />/ counts here, then certain registers of English must be considered
an
> >> />/ exception to Helmbrecht's rule and so potentially similar to
Hebrew. For
> >> />/ in English there is no politeness distinction in second person
pronouns,
> >> />/ but in some registers "your humble servant" is used consistently as
a
> >> />/ politeness related substitute for "I". And in fact precisely the
same
> >> />/ happens in the Turkic language into which I am working on Bible
> >> />/ translation; in the register the translators have chosen to use,
second
> >> />/ person polite forms are not used (as not appropriate in a
historical
> >> />/ context, for they are known to be a recent innovation), but a form
"your
> >> />/ slave" similar to the now obsolete Turkish usage is sometimes used
in
> >> />/ this translation, especially where the Hebrew offers some support.
But
> >> />/ then that implies that Hebrew is an exception to Helmbrecht's rule
for
> >> />/ sometimes using `ABDEKA as a first person form, quite apart from
'ANI
> >> />/ and 'ANOKI.
> >> />/
> >> /
> >> -- 
> >> B. M. Rocine
> >> Living Word Church
> >> 6101 Court St. Rd.
> >> Syracuse, NY 13026
> >> (W): 315.437.6744
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > b-hebrew mailing list
> > b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> > http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
> >
>
> -- 
> B. M. Rocine
> Living Word Church
> 6101 Court St. Rd.
> Syracuse, NY 13026
> (W): 315.437.6744
>
>




More information about the b-hebrew mailing list