[b-hebrew] We and us

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 21 16:30:03 EST 2006

Hi Karl,

Thanks for the continuing discussion. In the next few days I'll send you 
some documents...

Just a few clarifications on the below:

1. That God uses אנכי doesn't rule out politeness prima facie: God may 
instead be choosing to speak politely and that's fine.

2. I don't think it's a mistake to call it grammaticalisation if 
politeness is what is involved with the choice of the two forms. For 
such a choice to develop, the polite form needs to have become included 
at some point in the development of the language as part of the 
pronominal paradigm. It would need to have changed its former usage to 
now convey 1st person politeness. Since the process of change in 
language is termed grammaticalisation (American "grammaticalization") in 
linguistics, I do not think it is a mistake to label this a 
grammaticalisation if politeness can be demonstrated. We would, I would 
argue, be using correct and up-to-date terminology.

David Kummerow.

> David:
> Thanks for your response.
> In other words, as I understand your letter, there has been only one
> study made on the phenomenon, and it covered only a small minority of
> the data. This is not what I was looking for, an incomplete treatment
> of the subject. This is what I mean is too early to make comparisons
> with practices in other languages, as we don't know yet what it means
> in Hebrew.
> I missed your one and only earlier message concerning immediacy vs
> non-immediacy, found that you are unsatisfied with his vague
> description. In that message it was mentioned that he had analyzed
> only Samuel and Kings.
> That God uses אנכי for himself is an indication that politeness is not
> the function. That men use it shows that it is not a theological term,
> i.e. limited to God. I think it is a mistake to call it a
> grammatization, as we are trying to find out when to use one term, and
> when to use another making this a vocabulary issue.
> Yours, Karl W. Randolph.

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