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Re: Bernard Comrie, The World's Major Languages, 2ed (2011)

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  • Garth Wallace
    On Sun, Sep 2, 2012 at 1:19 PM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets ... The one I know of is omae , which AIUI somehow shifted from a sort of humble first person
    Message 1 of 46 , Sep 3, 2012
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      On Sun, Sep 2, 2012 at 1:19 PM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
      <tsela.cg@...> wrote:
      > On 2 September 2012 21:53, taliesin the storyteller <
      > taliesin-conlang@...> wrote:
      >
      >> Ditto for polite pronouns. They are no longer polite. They are AFAIK
      >> standard in a court of law, judge to accused. I've overheard them at social
      >> services, employee to unemployed man. These days it shows that the speaker
      >> is superior. Explicitly showing that you are better than someone else in
      >> Norway is a *big* no-no. It's rather unwise to use 'em if in a lively pub!
      >>
      > Interesting. Similar things have happened with some Old Japanese honorific
      > pronouns, that have become downright rude in Modern Japanese.

      The one I know of is "omae", which AIUI somehow shifted from a sort of
      humble first person (honorific "o-" obligatory for non-first person* +
      "mae" front/thing in front of = "your front"/"that thing which is in
      front of you" = "me") to a derogatory second person (the honorific
      "o-" still marks it as referring to non-first person, but it now marks
      the thing that is "mae" itself, not the thing that "mae" is in
      reference to -> "that thing in front of me" = "you (jerk)"). I'm not
      sure about the time frame for this semantic shift, though; it might be
      within modern Japanese.

      *For example, when referring to somebody's family: "imōto" (my) little
      sister vs. "o-imōtosan" (your/someone else's) little sister
    • Roger Mills
      ... I ve read the chapter on Javanese (new in the second edition). A bit scary that it uses the wikipedia (english and malay) and omniglot as sources, but
      Message 46 of 46 , Sep 15, 2012
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        --- On Sat, 9/15/12, taliesin the storyteller <taliesin-conlang@...> wrote:

        I've read the chapter on Javanese (new in the second edition). A bit scary that it uses the wikipedia (english and malay) and omniglot as sources, but perhaps there aren't any better sources around?

        Javanese has a very interesting politeness system. There are at least three separate sets of words, phrases and constructions used for the politeness levels. If you speak to X, a child, you use one set, if you speak with a colleague you use another and if it's the boss you use the third.
        ===================================================

        It goes further than that!! IIRC there's, in some cases, even slightly different vocab. if you're talking to the village head vs someone from the Sultan's court-- it's called Kromo Desa 'village kromo' (kromo being the high level). Ngoko is one of the others, I forget the third one. Look in an older Javanese(-Dutch) dictionary (Jansz is one), who marks a lot of the special vocab.

        There's at least one predictable processe involved. If a word ends in /r,l/ + V, you substitute -nt@n-- so soré 'afternoon' vs. sonten 'id.'; sari 'essense' vs. santen 'coconut oil'--that shows up in Indo /Ml. as santan, and then borrowed into many other languages. I know soré is < Skt. (surya 'sun'), and suspect sari is too.

        I'm told that the introduction of Bah.Indonesia elicited a sigh of relief from a lot of young Javanese, esp. students away from home. It meant they didn't have to worry about maybe using the wrong word and causing offence when writing to parents/grandparents etc.

        My understanding is that Japanese has comparable levels...
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