[b-hebrew] We and us

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Wed Nov 15 16:19:35 EST 2006

Hi David,

So I think we have found at least one 2nd person polite pronoun in BH. 
;-) Correct me if I am wrong.  Let's just talk about this one example 
for the moment.

BH 2nd person polite pronoun is the cliticized pronoun _yod_ when 
prefixed to the yiqtol form *when standing for the notion 2ms* (i.e. the 
polite yishma` instead of the notionally "correct" tishma` as an 
expression of social distance).

Of course the next question is whether a combination of clitic polite 
pronouns and stand-alone polite pronouns is attested 
cross-linguistically.  Maybe not.  But maybe we have found something 
close enough to satisfy the constraints of innate human language capability.


David Kummerow wrote:
> Hi Bryan,
> Just a clarification of what you say below: it is not just that there 
> needs to be 2nd and/or 3rd person CONTRASTS, but we should expect there 
> to be 2nd and/or third person grammaticalised polite PRONOUNS. It is an 
> important difference, I think. This is at the heart of the matter with 
> my difference of opinion with Peter.
> Regards,
> David Kummerow.
>> 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.
>> Shalom,
>> Bryan
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B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13026
(W): 315.437.6744

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