[b-hebrew] We and us

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 17 17:59:55 EST 2006

We are discussing it in this way because it has been suggested in the 
literature that the choice between the forms is one of politeness. It is 
the main real functional difference that anyone has suggested. This is 
the reason for the discussion of politeness (other proposals in the 
literature have mainly revolved around a diachronics without any 
discussion of function).

The discussion of the function of pronouns in other languages has 
bearing if one accepts that typology can guide to some extent analysis 
of dead languages. You may not accept the typological argument and 
that's fine. But even if you don't accept it, others do, and those 
others see benefit therefore in discussing it. Comparing with other 
languages, if one accepts typology, does get somewhere; I disagree with you.

David Kummerow.

> Why are you all so hung up on the 'politeness' function in the
> difference between )NY / )NKY ? I suspect that it is a grammatization
> of another function, but what it is I don't know yet. Both words are
> used hundreds of times, and by comparing all their usages the
> functional differences may become apparent. But just arguing and
> comparing with other languages gets nowhere.
> This would be a good subject for a Master's thesis. Professors, assign
> a grad student to get working. If there is a functional difference,
> many contexts may find both uses interchangeable. But if a common
> action can be found in which only one of the terms is used, and
> another where only the other is used, we have started on the road to
> understanding.
> Karl W. Randolph.

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