[b-hebrew] We and us

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Wed Nov 15 07:49:38 EST 2006

Hi Vadim,

Interesting.  Does "May *he* (the king) hear his slave" also exist?

I am sure you are right about the avoidance issue (which is btw, 
politeness).  We're not really searching for politeness at this point in 
our discussion.

David has informed us that the 'ani/'anoki contrast is not best 
understood as a politeness thing.  His evidence is that such a contrast 
needs, if cross-linguistic types have anything to say about it, 3rd and 
2nd person contrasts as a priority to the 1st person.  I have just been 
wandering around in the BH corpus looking for 2nd and/or 3rd person 
politeness contrasts.


Vadim Cherny wrote:
> 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

B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13026
(W): 315.437.6744

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