[b-hebrew] We and us

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 16 17:50:31 EST 2006

Hi Peter,

Sorry I misunderstood you, but you did say "given the decline in use of 
the polite form of 'you' in many European languages". I happened to 
include English amongst these "many European languages" inadvertently, 
and used it as an example, while you close to use French and German as 
your examples. In any case, Helmbrecht discusses both French and German 
in much detail, German being his native language. Probably such a change 
is predictable, given that, if you are correct here, "vous" and "Sie" 
are dying in usage, unlike English "you" which was overused. I would 
need to do some more reading on that, but I don't really have time at 
the moment. You could chase it up if you wanted and I'd be interested in 
what you find.


David Kummerow.

> Your statement betrays a failure to read what I wrote. I wasn't 
> referring to English "you", but to for example French "vous" and German 
> "Sie". The time may come when these are no longer used as polite 
> alternatives to "tu" and "du" respectively, but revert to being second 
> and third person respectively plural pronouns. This process is already 
> in progress. It is more advanced in Azerbaijani, where the plural used 
> to be used for the singular as in French but is becoming quite rare. 
> Would the loss of such usage, if it happened, be reversal of 
> grammaticalisation and so falsify anyone's theory?
> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> E-mail:  peter at qaya.org <http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew>
> Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
> Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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