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T–V distinction

In sociolinguistics, a T–V distinction (from the Latin pronouns tu and vos) is a contrast, within one language, between various forms of addressing one's conversation partner or partners that are specialized for varying levels of politeness, social distance, courtesy, familiarity, age or insult toward the addressee. Many languages lack this type of distinction, instead relying on more explicit wording to convey these meanings. The morphosyntactic T–V distinction, though, is found in a variety of languages around the world.

English does not have a T–V distinction, with the exception of a few dialects. There previously was one with the pronouns thou and you, with the familiar thou disappearing from Early Modern English. Additionally British commoners have historically spoken to nobility and royalty using the third person rather than the second person, a practice that has fallen out of favor. English speakers today often employ semantic analogues to convey the mentioned attitudes towards the addressee, such as whether to address someone by given or surname, or whether to use sir/ma'am. Under a broader classification, T and V forms are examples of honorifics.

The T–V distinction is expressed in a variety of forms. Two particularly common means are

  1. Addressing a single individual using the second-person plural forms in the language, instead of the singular (e.g. in French).
  2. Addressing individuals with another pronoun with its own verb conjugations (e.g. in Spanish).

History and usage

The terms T and V, based on the Latin pronouns tu and vos, were first used in a paper by the social psychologist Roger Brown and the Shakespearian scholar Albert Gilman.[1] This was a historical and contemporary survey of the uses of pronouns of address, seen as semantic markers of social relationships between individuals. The study considered mainly French, Italian, Spanish and German. The paper was highly influential[2] and with few exceptions, the terms T and V have been used in subsequent studies.

Origin

In Latin, tu was originally the singular, and vos the plural, with no distinction for honorific or familiar. According to Brown and Gilman, usage of the plural to the Roman emperor began in the 4th century AD. They mention the possibility that this was because there were two emperors at that time (in Constantinople and Rome), but also mention that "plurality is a very old and ubiquitous metaphor for power". This usage was extended to other powerful figures, such as Pope Gregory I (590–604). However, Brown and Gilman note that it was only between the 12th and 14th centuries that the norms for the use of T- and V-forms crystallized. Less commonly, the use of the plural may be extended to other persons, such as the "royal we" (majestic plural) in English.

Brown and Gilman argued that the choice of form is governed by either relationships of 'power' and/or 'solidarity', depending on the culture of the speakers, showing that 'power' had been the dominant predictor of form in Europe until the 20th century. Thus, it was quite normal for a powerful person to use a T-form but expect a V-form in return. However, in the twentieth century the dynamic shifted in favour of solidarity, so that people would use T-forms with those they knew, and V-forms in service encounters, with reciprocal usage being the norm in both cases.

Early history: the power semantic

In the Early Middle Ages (the 5th century to the 10th century), the pronoun vos was used to address the most exalted figures, emperors and popes, who would use the pronoun tu to address a subject. This use was progressively extended to other states and societies, and down the social hierarchy as a mark of respect to individuals of higher rank, religious authority, greater wealth, or seniority within a family. The development was slow and erratic, but a consistent pattern of use is estimated to have been reached in different European societies by the period 1100 to 1500. Use of V spread to upper-class individuals of equal rank, but not to lower class individuals.[3] This may be represented in Brown and Gilman's notation:

Unequal power Equal power
Emperor Father High-class friend Low-class friend
T↓  ↑V T↓  ↑V ↓↑V T↓↑
Subject Son High-class friend Low-class friend

Modification: the solidarity semantic

Speakers developed greater flexibility of pronoun use by redefining relationships between individuals. Instead of defining the father–son relationship as one of power, it could be seen as a shared family relationship. Brown and Gilman term this the semantics of solidarity. Thus a speaker might have a choice of pronoun, depending on how they perceived the relationship with the person addressed. Thus a speaker with superior power might choose V to express fellow feeling with a subordinate. For example, a restaurant customer might use V to their favourite waiter. Similarly a subordinate with a friendly relationship of long standing might use T. For example, a child might use T to express affection for their parent.[4]

This may be represented as:

Superior has choice Subordinate has choice
Customer Officer Employer Parent Master Elder sibling
T↓V  ↑V T↓V  ↑V T↓V  ↑V T↓  T↑V T↓  T↑V T↓  T↑V
Waiter Soldier Employee Child Faithful servant Younger sibling

These choices were available not only to reflect permanent relationships, but to express momentary changes of attitude. This allowed playwrights such as Racine, Molière, Ben Johnson, Marlowe and Shakespeare to express a character's inner changes of mood through outward changes of pronoun.[5][6]

For centuries, it was the more powerful individual who chose to address a subordinate either with T or with V, or to allow the subordinate to choose. For this reason, the pronouns were traditionally defined as the pronoun of either condescension or intimacy (T) and the pronoun of reverence or formality (V). Brown and Gilman argue that modern usage no longer supports these definitions.[7]

Modern history

Developments from the nineteenth century have seen the solidarity semantic more consistently applied. It has become less acceptable for a more powerful individual to exercise the choice of pronoun. Officers in most armies are not permitted to address a soldier as T. Most European parents cannot oblige their children to use V. The relationships illustrated above have changed in the direction of the following norms:[8]

Superior choice removed Subordinate choice removed
Customer Officer Employer Parent Master Elder sibling
↑↓V ↑↓V ↑↓V T↑↓ T↑↓ T↑↓
Waiter Soldier Employee Child Faithful servant Younger sibling

The tendency to promote the solidarity semantic may lead to the abolition of any choice of address pronoun. During the French Revolution attempts were made to abolish V. In 17th century England the Society of Friends obliged its members to use only T to everyone, and some continue to use T (thee) to one another.[9] In most Modern English dialects the choice of T no longer exists outside of poetry.

Changes in progress

It was reported in 2012 that use of the French vous and the Spanish usted are in decline in social media.[10] An explanation offered was that such online communications favour the philosophy of equality, regardless of usual formal distinctions. Similar tendencies were observed in German, Persian and Chinese, Italian and Estonian.[10][11]

History of use in individual languages

English

The Old English and Early Middle English second person pronouns thou and ye (with variants) were used for singular and plural reference respectively with no T–V distinction. The earliest entry in the Oxford English Dictionary for ye as a V pronoun in place of the singular thou exists in a Middle English text of 1225 composed in 1200.[12] The usage may have started among the Norman French nobility in imitation of French. It made noticeable advances during the second half of the 13th century. During the 16th century, the distinction between the subject form ye and the object form you was largely lost, leaving you as the usual V pronoun (and plural pronoun). After 1600, the use of ye in standard English was confined to literary and religious contexts or as a consciously archaic usage.[13]

David Crystal summarises Early Modern English usage thus:

V would normally be used

  • by people of lower social status to those above them
  • by the upper classes when talking to each other, even if they were closely related
  • as a sign of a change (contrasting with thou) in the emotional temperature of an interaction

T would normally be used

  • by people of higher social status to those below them
  • by the lower classes when talking to each other
  • in addressing God/Jesus
  • in talking to ghosts, witches, and other supernatural beings
  • in an imaginary address to someone who was absent
  • as a sign of a change (contrasting with you) in the emotional temperature of an interaction[14]

The T–V distinction was still well preserved when Shakespeare began writing at the end of the 16th century. However, other playwrights of the time made less use of T–V contrasts than Shakespeare. The infrequent use of T in popular writing earlier in the century such as the Paston Letters suggest that the distinction was already disappearing from gentry speech. In the first half of the 17th century, thou disappeared from Standard English, although the T–V distinction was preserved in many regional dialects. When the Quakers began using thou again in the middle of the century, many people were still aware of the old T–V distinction and responded with derision and physical violence.[citation needed]

In the 19th century, one aspect of the T–V distinction was restored to some English dialects in the form of a pronoun that expressed friendly solidarity, written as y'all. Unlike earlier thou, it was used primarily for plural address, and in some dialects for singular address as well.[15] The pronoun was first observed in the southern states of the US among African-American speakers, although its precise origin is obscure. The pronoun spread rapidly to White speakers in those southern states, and (to a lesser extent) other regions of the US and beyond. This pronoun is not universally accepted, and may be regarded as either nonstandard or a regionalism.[16]

Yous(e) (pron. /jz/, /jəz/) as a plural is found mainly in (Northern) England, Scotland, parts of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, northern Nova Scotia and parts of Ontario in Canada and parts of the northeastern United States (especially areas where there was historically Irish or Italian immigration), including in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and scattered throughout working class Italian-American communities in the American Rust Belt. It also occurs in Scouse (the regional dialect of the Liverpool area).

French

In Old French texts, the pronouns tu and vous are often used interchangeably to address an individual, sometimes in the same sentence. However, some emerging pattern of use has been detected by recent scholars.[17] Between characters equal in age or rank, vous was more common than tu as a singular address. However, tu was sometimes used to put a young man in his place, or to express temporary anger. There may also have been variation between Parisian use and that of other regions.

In the Middle French period a relatively stable T–V distinction emerged. Vous was the V form used by upper-class speakers to address one another, while tu was the T form used among lower class speakers. Upper-class speakers could choose to use either T or V when addressing an inferior. Inferiors would normally use V to a superior. However, there was much variation; in 1596 Étienne Pasquier in his comprehensive survey Recherches de la France observed that the French sometimes used vous to inferiors as well as to superiors "selon la facilité de nos naturels" ("according to our natural tendencies"). In poetry, tu was often used to address kings or to speak to God.[18]

Use of names

The boundaries between formal and informal language differ from language to language, as well as within social groups of the speakers of a given language. In some circumstances, it is not unusual to call other people by first name and the respectful form, or last name and familiar form. For example, German teachers use the former construct with upper-secondary students, while Italian teachers typically use the latter (switching to a full V-form with university students). This can lead to constructions denoting an intermediate level of formality in T–V-distinct languages that sound awkward to English-speakers. In Italian, (Signor) Vincenzo Rossi can be addressed with the tu (familiar) form or the Lei (formal) one, but complete addresses range from Tu, Vincenzo (peer to peer or family) and Tu, Rossi (teacher or fellow student to high-school student, as stated above) to Lei, signor Vincenzo (live-in servant to master or master's son) and Lei, Rossi (senior staff member to junior) and Lei, signor Rossi (among peers).[citation needed]

Translation issues

The use of these forms may be an issue for compensating translation of dialogue into English if the translator does not wish to use the "thou" pronoun to translate. For example, a character in a French film or novel saying "Tutoie-moi !" ("Use [the informal pronoun] tu when addressing me!") might be translated "Do not be so formal!" or "Call me by my first name!"

Conversely, when translating from English to a T–V language, the translator must decide again and again throughout the work which second-person form the reader would deem the more appropriate in a given situation. In the current German DVD release of Gone with the Wind, the translators of the subtitles and dubbing artists sometimes make opposite decisions; the actors' dubbed voices speak with the familiar form, while the subtitles for the same scene are more formal.

Singular, plural and other ways of distinction

In many languages, the respectful singular pronoun derives from a plural form. Some Romance languages have familiar forms derived from the Latin singular tu and respectful forms derived from Latin plural vos, sometimes via a circuitous route. Sometimes, singular V-form derives from a third person pronoun; in German and some Nordic languages, it is the third person plural. Some languages have separate T and V forms for both singular and plural; others have the same form; others have a T–V distinction only in the singular.

Different languages distinguish pronoun uses in different ways. Even within languages, there are differences between groups (older people and people of higher status tending both to use and to expect more respectful language) and between various aspects of one language. For example, in Dutch, V form u is slowly falling into disuse in the plural, thus one could sometimes address a group as T form jullie (which clearly expresses the plural) when one would address each member individually as u (which has the disadvantage of being ambiguous). In Latin American Spanish, the opposite change has occurred—having lost the T form vosotros, Latin Americans address all groups as ustedes, even if the group is composed of friends whom they would call or vos (both T forms).[citation needed] In Standard Peninsular Spanish however, vosotros (literally, "you others") is still regularly employed in familiar conversation. In some cases V-forms are likely to be capitalized when written.

Table

The following is a table of the nominative case of the singular and plural second person in many languages, including their respectful variants (if any):

second-person singular familiar second-person singular respectful second-person plural familiar second-person plural respectful
Afrikaans jy
jou
u[19] julle u[19]
Albanian ti ju ju ju
Amharic አንተ (antä, m)
አንቺ (anči, f)
እስዎ (ɨsswo)
or[why?]
እርስዎ (ɨrswo)
እናንተ (ɨnnantä) እስዎ (ɨsswo)
or[why?]
እርስዎ (ɨrswo)
Arabic أنتَ‎ (anta, m)
أنتِ‎ (anti, f)
antum[citation needed]
others[20]
antum (m)
antunna (f)
antum (m)
antunna (f)
others[21]
Aragonese tu vusté
vos (Ansó dialect)
vusatros
vusaltros (regional)
vusotros (regional)
vustés
vos (Ansó dialect)
Armenian դու (du, East)
դուն (tun, West)
դուք (duk, East)
դուք (tuk, West)
դուք (duk, East)
դուք (tuk, West)
դուք (duk, East)
դուք (tuk, West)
Azerbaijani (Azeri) sən siz siz siz
sizlər[22]
Basque hi (intimate)
zu (standard)
zu (standard)
berori (very respectful)
zuek zuek
Belarusian ты (ty) (Vy) вы (vy) вы (vy)
Bengali তুই (tui; very informal)
তুমি (tumi)
আপনি (apni) তোরা (tora; very informal)
তোমরা (tomra)
আপনারা (apnara)
Breton te c'hwi c'hwi c'hwi
Bulgarian ти (ti) Вие (Vie) вие (vie) вие (vie)
Catalan tu vostè (formal)
vós (respectful)
vosaltres vostès (formal)
vosaltres
Mandarin Chinese (Modern) () (nín)[23] s 你们 nǐmen
t 你們
various[24]
Croatian [text?] [text?] [text?] [text?]
Czech ty Vy vy Vy
Danish du De (increasingly uncommon) I De (increasingly uncommon)
Dutch jij
je
u jullie
je[25]
u
Early Modern English thou (nom)
thee (obj)
ye[26] (nom)
you (obj)
ye[26] (nom)
you (obj)
ye[26] (nom)
you (obj)
Modern English you you you you
Esperanto ci (uncommon) vi vi vi
Estonian sina
sa
teie
te
teie
te
teie
te
Faroese tygum[27] tit tit
Filipino ka kayo kayo sila
Finnish sinä Te[28] te Te
French tu vous
il/elle (show deference)
vous vous
ils/elles (show deference)
Frisian (West) jo[19] jimme jimme
Scottish Gaelic thu sibh sibh sibh
Galician ti (tu, eastern dialect) vostede vós (vosoutros, northeastern dialect) vostedes
Georgian შენ (shen) თქვენ (tkven) თქვენ (tkven) თქვენ (tkven)
German du Sie[29]
Ihr (arch or dial)
Er/Sie/Es[30] (arch or dial)
ihr Sie[29]
Ihr (arch or dial)
Modern Greek εσύ (esí) εσείς (esís) εσείς (esís) εσείς (esís)
Gujarati તું (tu) તમે (tame) તમે લોકો (tame loko) તમે લોકો (tame loko)
Hindi तू (, very informal)
तुम (tum)
आप (āp) तुम लोग (tum log) आप लोग (āp log)
Hungarian te maga (rural and a bit old-fashioned)
ön (formal and official)
ti maguk (rural and a bit old-fashioned)
önök (formal and official)
Icelandic þú þér (very uncommon) þið þér (very uncommon)
Ido tu vu vi vi
Indonesian kamu (more familiar)
kau
Anda kalian Anda
Anda sekalian (less common)
Interlingua tu vos vos vos
Italian tu Lei or lei
Ella (literary)
voi (archaic or dialectical)
voi or Voi voi
Loro (uncommon)
Japanese various various various various
Javanese kowe
awakmu
panjenengan
sampeyan
kowe kabeh panjenengan sedanten
Kannada ನೀನು (niinnu) ನೀವು (niivu) ನೀವು (niivu) ನೀವು (niivu)
Kazakh сен (sen) сіз (siz) сендер (sender) сіздер (sizder)
Korean (neo) (directly addressing a person);
당신 (dangsin)(addressing anonymous readers)
너희 (neohui) – (여러분 yeoreobun)
Ekoka !Kung a i!a i!a i!a
Kurmanji
(N. Kurdish)
تو (tu) هون (hûn)
هنگۆ (hingo)
تو (tu)
هون (hûn)
هنگۆ (hingo)
هون (hûn)
هنگۆ (hingo)
Sorani
(S. Kurdish)
تۆ (to) ێوه (êwe)
تۆ (to)
ێوه (êwe) ێوه (êwe)
Kyrgyz сен (sen) сиз (siz) силер (siler) сиздер (sizder)
Ladino vos vozótros vozótros
Latvian tu[31] jūs[31] jūs jūs
Lithuanian tu jūs jūs jūs
Lombard ti
lüü (m)
lée (f)
viòltar viòltar

lur
Malay kamu (standard), awak (regional Malay; common spoken short form is engkau informal), hang (northern dialect, but understood and accepted across Peninsular Malaysia), kau (is impolite in all contexts except in very close relationships, e.g. friends [but not acquaintances]) anda (polite/friendly formal; found in formal documents and in all formal contexts, e.g. advertisements. Anda is almost never encountered in spoken Malay; instead, most Malaysians would address a respected person by their title and/or name), kamu (unfriendly formal; also found in formal documents and in all formal contexts, where the intention is to convey a forceful tone in writing—often seen in lawsuits and summonses). kamu semua (polite/friendly formal), kau orang (when pronounced as ko'rang [used in very close relationships, equivalent to "you all" in parts of the U.S.] is slang and more informal), hangpa (northern dialect), kalian (archaic) anda, kalian (archaic)
Malayalam nee thaankal ningal ningal
Macedonian ти (ti) Вие (Vie) вие (vie) вие (vie)
Maltese int, inti int, inti intom intom
Marathi तू तुम्ही tumhī (formal),
आपण āpaṇ (official)
तुम्ही tumhī तुम्ही tumhī (formal),
आपण āpaṇ (official)
Mongolian чи (chi, ᠴᠢ) та (ta, ᠲᠠ) та нар (ta nar, ᠲᠠ ᠨᠠᠷ) та нар (ta nar, ᠲᠠ ᠨᠠᠷ)
Nepali तँ, तिमी (, timi) तपाईं (tapāī̃) तिमी(-हरू) (timi[-harū]) तपाईं(-हरू) (tapāī̃[-harū])
Norwegian (Bokmål) du/deg De/Dem (archaic) dere/dere De/Dem (archaic)
Norwegian (Nynorsk) De/Dykk (archaic) de/dykk De/Dykk (archaic)
Odia ତୁ tu
ତୁମେ tumē
ଆପଣ āpaṇa ତୁମେମାନେ tumemane ଆପଣମାନେ apōṇōmane
Persian تو to شما šomā شما šomā شما/شماها šomā/šomâ-hâ
Polish ty pani (to a woman)
pan (to a man)
(verbs following any of the above addresses are in the 3rd person singular form)
In the early period of the communist rule, a practice of using the second-person plural form wy (lit. you) as a formal way of addressing a single person was introduced (a calque from Russian) but it did not catch on.
wy państwo (general)
panie (to women)
panowie (to men)
(verbs following any of the above addresses are in the 3rd person plural form, although in many cases for państwo (general) the 2nd person plural form is also possible).
Portuguese in Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific tu (te; ti) você; o senhor/a senhora, dona; vossa excelência (o / a; lhe; si; se; lo/la)
(Vós / O Senhor / A Senhora when addressing a deity, Jesus or the Virgin Mary)
vocês
vós (dialects of northern Portugal)
os senhores/as senhoras; vossas excelências
Portuguese in Northern, Southeastern and Central-Western Brazil. você (and te, oblique form of tu, combined with você for a more familiar tone), sometimes tu você (equalizing, less polite)
o senhor/a senhora; seu (from sr)/dona; vossa excelência (oblique o / a; lhe; se; si, clitic lo/la)
(Vós / O Senhor / A Senhora when addressing a deity, Jesus or the Virgin Mary)
vocês os senhores/as senhoras; vossas excelências
Portuguese in Southern and Northeastern Brazil, some sociolects of coastal São Paulo (mainly Greater Santos), colloquial carioca sociolect (mainly among the youths of Greater Rio de Janeiro) and in Uruguay. tu (however almost always conjugated in the third person singular like você), sometimes você você (equalizing, less polite)
o senhor, a senhora (to a superior, more polite)
vocês os senhores/as senhoras
Punjabi (Punjab) ਤੂੰ‌ / تو
tū̃
ਤੁਸੀਂ‌ / تسی‎
tusī̃
ਤੁਸੀਂ‌ / تسی‎
tusī̃
ਤੁਸੀਂ‌ / تسی‎
tusī̃
Quenya (Tolkien's High Elvish) tyë lyë
Romanian tu dumneata (less formal)
matale, mata (regional)
dumneavoastră (formal)
voi dumneavoastră / domniile voastre (archaic)
Russian ты (ty) narrowly reserved intimates (or for insults) вы (vy) the unmarked norm
Note: the capitalised spelling Вы is used in formal correspondence
вы (vy)
Note: not capitalised
вы (vy)
Note: not capitalised
Rusyn ты () () вы () вы ()
Sanskrit त्वम् (tvam)
त्वा (tva, acc) and ते (te, dat and gen) also used in poetry/verse
भवान् (bhavān, addressing a man, root भवत्)
भवती (bhavatī, addressing a woman)
युवाम् (dual, yuvām)
यूयम् (plural, yūyam)
(वाम् (vam, dual) and वः (vaḥ, plural) for accusative, dative and genitive also used in poetry)
भवन्तौ (dual, bhavantau, addressing men)
भवत्यौ (dual, bhavatyau, addressing women)
भवन्तः (plural, bhavantaḥ, addressing men)
भवत्यः (plural, bhavatyaḥ, addressing women)
Scots thoo, mostly replaced by ye
[ðuː], Southern [ðʌu], Shetland [duː]
ye, you ye, you ye, you
Serbian ти (ti) Ви (Vi) ви (vi) ви (vi)
Slovak ty Vy vy vy
Slovene ti vi
Vi (protocolar)
vidva (dual)
vidve or vedve (dual – when addressing two women);
vi (plural)
ve (plural – when addressing only women)
vi (dual and plural)
Sorbian (Lower) ty Wy wej (dual), wy (plural) wy
Sorbian (Upper) ty Wy wój (dual), wy (plural) wy
Somali adi adiga idinka idinka
Spanish in Peninsular Spain, Equatorial Guinea, Philippines usted (formerly or literary vos, usía and vuecencia/vuecelencia among others) vosotros (masc.) vosotras (fem.) ustedes
Spanish in some parts of Andalusia and in the Canary Islands usted ustedes (in Andalusia sometimes an altered system is heard, for example: ustedes estáis; the vosotros/as pronouns are increasingly popular and replacing this one) ustedes
Spanish of most of the Americas usted
Note: in Cuba, is generally used instead, even for someone one has just met.
ustedes ustedes (literary vosotros, vosotras, in poetry, anthems...)
Spanish in parts of the Americas, mainly in the Southern Cone and Central America vos usted ustedes ustedes (literary vosotros, vosotras, in poetry, anthems...)
Spanish in Costa Rica and in parts of Colombia usted (el otro usted: for informal, horizontal communication) usted ustedes ustedes (literary vosotros, vosotras, in poetry, anthems...)
Swedish du/dig Ni/Er (rarely used since the du-reformen) ni/er Ni/Er (rarely used)
Tagalog ikáw
ka (postpositive only)
kayó kayó kayó
Tajik ту (tu) Шумо (Şumo) шумо (şumo) шумо (şumo) or шумоён (şumojon; the latter is used in Spoken Tajik only)
Tamil நீ (née) நீங்கள் (neengal) நீங்கள் (neengal) நீங்கள் (neengal)
Telugu నువ్వు (nuvvu) మీరు (meeru) మీరు (meeru) మీరు (meeru)
Turkish sen siz siz siz, sizler
Ubykh wæghʷa sʸæghʷaalha sʸæghʷaalha sʸæghʷaalha
Ukrainian ти (ty) ви (vy) / Ви (Vy, addressing officials in letters etc.) ви (vy) ви (vy)
Urdu تو (, very informal)
تم (tum)
آپ (āp) تم لوگ (tum log) آپ لوگ (āp log)
Uyghur سەن sen سىز siz or سىلى sili سىلەر siler سىزلەر sizler
Uzbek sen siz senlar sizlar
Welsh ti or chdi chi or chwi chi or chwi chi or chwi
Yiddish דו (du) איר (ir) איר (ir)
עץ (ets, regional)
איר (ir)

In specific languages

Related verbs, nouns and pronouns

Some languages have a verb to describe the fact of using either a T or a V form. Some also have a related noun or pronoun. The English words are used to refer only to English usage in the past, not to usage in other languages. The analogous distinction may be expressed as "to use first names" or "to be on familiar terms (with someone)".

T verb V verb T noun V noun
Basque hika (aritu / hitz egin) (very close) zuka (aritu / hitz egin) (neuter / formal)
berorika (aritu / hitz egin) (very formal)
Bengali তুইতোকারি করা (very informal) তুইতোকারি (very informal)
Breton teal / mont dre te / komz dre te c'hwial / mont dre c'hwi / komz dre c'hwi
Bulgarian (говоря / съм) на "ти" (govorya / sam) na "ti" (говоря / съм) на "Вие" (govorya / sam) na "Vie" на "ти" na "ti" (more like adverb) на "Вие" na "Vie" (more like adverb)
Catalan tutejar / tractar de tu / vós tractar de vostè tuteig, tutejament
Chinese 稱呼你 (chēnghū nǐ) 稱呼您 (chēnghū nín)
Czech tykat vykat tykání vykání
Danish at være dus at være Des
Dutch tutoyeren; jijen, jouen, jijjouwen (used very rarely) vouvoyeren tutoyeren vouvoyeren
English to thou (referring to historical usage) to you (referring to historical usage) thouing youing
Esperanto cidiri vidiri cidiro vidiro
Estonian sinatama teietama sinatamine teietamine
Faroese at túa, at siga tú at siga tygum
Finnish sinutella teititellä sinuttelu teitittely
French tutoyer vouvoyer; very rarely vousoyer / voussoyer tutoiement vouvoiement; very rarely vousoiement / voussoiement
Frisian (West) dookje jookje dookjen jookjen
German duzen siezen Duzen Siezen
Swiss German Duzis machen Siezis machen Duzis Siezis
Hungarian tegez magáz tegezés magázás
Icelandic þúa þéra þúun þérun
Interlingua tutear vosear tuteamento voseamento
Italian dare del tu dare del Lei / dare del Voi
Indonesian mengamukan (transitive); berkamu (intransitive); menggunakan kamu mengandakan (transitive); beranda (intransitive); menggunakan Anda pengamuan; penggunaan kamu pengandaan; penggunaan Anda
Korean 말을 놓다 (mareul notta); 반말하다 (banmalhada) 말을 높이다 (mareul nophida); 존댓말하다 (jondaemmalhada); 반말 (banmal) 높임말 (nopphim mal); 존댓말 (jondaemmal)
Lithuanian tujinti tujinimas
Norwegian å være dus å være Des
Occitan tutejar vosejar tutejament vosejament
Polish mówić per ty
tykać (humorous)
mówić per pan / pani mówienie per ty mówienie per pan / pani
Portuguese tratar por tu, você; chamar de tu, você tratar por senhor / senhora / senhorita; chamar de senhor / senhora / senhorita o senhor / a senhora
Romanian a tutui a domni tutuire plural de politeţe
Russian обращаться на "ты"
быть на "ты"
тыкать (tykat') (colloquial)
обращаться на "вы"
быть на "вы"
выкать (vykat') (colloquial)
тыканье (tykan'ye) выканье (vykan'ye)
Serbian не персирати (ne persirati),
бити на ти (biti na ti),
тикати (tikati)
персирати (persirati),
бити на ви (biti na vi),
викати (vikati)
неперсирање (nepersiranje),
тикање (tikanje)
персирање (persiranje),
викање (vikanje)
Slovak tykať vykať tykanie vykanie
Slovene tikati vikati tikanje vikanje
Upper Sorbian ty prajić, tykać wy rěkać / prajić, wykać tykanje wykanje
Lower Sorbian ty groniś, tykaś (se) {lit.} wy groniś, wykaś {lit.} ty gronjenje, tykanje wy gronjenje, wykanje
Spanish tutear, vosear ustedear; tratar de usted tuteo, voseo ustedeo[32]
Swedish dua nia duande niande
Turkish senli benli olmak / konuşmak sizli bizli olmak / konuşmak senli benli olmak / konuşmak sizli bizli olma / konuşmak
Ukrainian тикати (tykaty),
звертатися на "ти" (zvertatysia na "ty")
викати (vykaty),
звертатися на "ви" (zvertatysia na "vy")
тикання (tykannia),
звертання на ти (zvertannia na ty)
викання (vykannia),
звертання на ви (zvertannia na vy)
Welsh tydïo tydïo
Yiddish דוצן (dutsn)
זײַן אױף דו (zayn af du)
זײַן פּער דו (zayn per du)
אירצן (irtsn)
זײַן אױף איר (zayn af ir)
דוצן (dutsn)
אַריבערגיין אױף דו (aribergeyn af du)
אירצן (irtsn)

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Pronouns of Power and Solidarity published in T.A Seboek (ed) (1960). Republished in Giglioli (1972). The pages numbers cited below are from Giglioli.
  2. ^ Giglioli p. 217
  3. ^ Brown & Gilman pp. 254–255
  4. ^ Brown & Gilman pp. 257–258
  5. ^ Brown & Gilman pp. 278–280
  6. ^ Crystal, David & Ben (2002) pp. 450–451. Reproduced at David Crystal's Explore Shakespeare's Works site
  7. ^ Brown & Gilman p. 258
  8. ^ Brown & Gilman pp. 269–261
  9. ^ Brown & Gilman pp. 266–268
  10. ^ a b Lawn, Rebecca (7 September 2012). "Tu and Twitter: Is it the end for 'vous' in French?". BBC News Magazine. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  11. ^ Põhjala, Priit (12 April 2013). Kas teietada või sinatada?, Eesti Päevaleht.
  12. ^ "ye, pron. and n.". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 10 November 2018. a1225 (▸c1200) Vices & Virtues (1888) 31 (MED): Hwo is þat us muȝen sceawin ða gode ðe ȝe us behoteð?
  13. ^ "Interlude 12 : Choosing thou or you" David Crystal (2004) pp. 307–310
  14. ^ Crystal (2004) p. 308
  15. ^ Schneider, Edgar W. (2005). "The English dialect heritage of the southern United States". In Hickey, Raymond (ed.). Legacies of Colonial English. p. 284.
  16. ^ "Interlude 17, Tracking a change: the case of y'all" Crystal (2004) pp. 449–452
  17. ^ Summarised in Fagyal et al (2006) pp. 267–268
  18. ^ Fagyal et al p. 268
  19. ^ a b c As with many instances in English, the pronoun is capitalized when talking to God, as in prayer.
  20. ^ In some spoken varieties of Arabic such as Egyptian, terms such as حضرتك (ḥaḍretak) ("your grace") or سيادتك (siyadtak) ("your lordship") are used
  21. ^ In some spoken varieties of Arabic such as Egyptian, terms such as ḥaḍretkum ("your graces") or siyadetkum ("your lordships") are used
  22. ^ Technically a "double plural", sometimes employed for a small group of people.
  23. ^ Only commonly employed in northern dialects like Pekingese.
  24. ^ Including 大家 (dàjiā) and 各位 (gèwèi). In the past, 您们 (nínmen) is considered incorrect, but is now used more frequently, especially in Taiwan.
  25. ^ From obsolete jelui = jij + lui = "you people"
  26. ^ a b c As grammatical case largely disappeared during the transition from Middle to Early Modern English, ye was often replaced with you from the 15th century on.
  27. ^ Only common in official documents.
  28. ^ Necessitates compound verb forms with participle in singular.
  29. ^ a b Even as a 2nd-person pronoun, Sie employs 3rd-person (plural) verb conjugations.
  30. ^ employs 3rd-person singular verb conjugations. Derisive.
  31. ^ a b Capitalized in correspondence.
  32. ^ see Spanish Wikipedia, ustedeo

Works cited

Balbo, Sophie (23 June 2005). "Dites-moi tu". L'Hebdo (in French).
Blume, Mary (19 February 2000). "Mastering the Unmasterable: A French Puzzle". International Herald Tribune.
Brown, Roger; Gilman, Albert (1960). "The pronouns of power and solidarity". In T. A. Sebeok (ed.). Style in Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. pp. 253–276.
Crystal, David (2004). The Stories of English. Overlook Press.
Crystal, David; Crystal, Ben (2002). Shakespeare's Words: A Glossary and Language Companion. Penguin Books.
Fagyal, Zsuzsanna; Kibbee, Douglas; Jenkins, Frederic (28 September 2006). French: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-139-45956-3.
Giglioli, Per Paolo (1972). Language and Social Context: Selected Readings. Penguin Books.
Helmbrecht, Johannes (2005). "Politeness distinctions in pronouns". In Martin Haspelmath; et al. (eds.). The World Atlas of Language Structures. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 186–190.
Taavitsainen, Irma; Jucker, Andreas H. (2003). Diachronic Perspectives on Address Term Systems. John Benjamins. ISBN 1-58811-310-8.
Kleinman, Scott (2009). "About Middle English Grammar" (PDF). Retrieved 16 June 2014.
The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press. 1971.

External links