How we talk

T/V differentiation

How we talk and what we say is a sort of behavior, it has something to state about who we are. The norms of acting suitably alteration from state of affairs to state of affairs, from coevals to coevals and of class from civilization to civilization. Being polite is a must for person who wants to make a positive image of themselves and so they have to cognize the regulations of niceness. Greetings, turn toing person and other more statute or indirect facets of niceness like some grammatical device lead us to T/V differentiation, the distinction between confidential and formal ways of discourses. I would wish to foreground some facets of this differentiation and some methods of niceness in civilizations with T/V differentiation and civilizations without it: how niceness is affected ( or non affected ) by this differentiation in Magyar and in English.

T/V comes from the Latin pronouns “ tu ” and “ vos ” ( Brown & A ; Gilman, 1960 ) . These two sorts of pronouns of reference were the footing of a farther development in European linguistic communications. “ Tu ” was the remarkable and “ vos ” was the plural signifier. The use of “ vos ” as the pronoun to mention to one individual individual began with the addressing of the emperor. In the yesteryear it was non rare to hold more emperors at the same clip and of class an emperor is the representative of his people, so this indicates the royal plural. There are many linguistic communications that still use two remarkable pronouns of reference, languages like Italian, German, French, Spanish or Hungarian…

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Harmonizing to Brown and Gilman ( 1960 ) , these two pronouns represent two dimensions which are closely associated with two dimensions of societal life: power and solidarity. As the beginnings of T/V show us, the plurality is used for a long clip as a metaphor of power. The two writers say: “ The power semantic is ( … ) nonreciprocal ; the superior says T and receives V. ” ( p.255 ) . They give some good illustrations, for case: when God says T to his Angels they answer with V. But we can believe of illustrations from mundane life: my male parent still gives V to his parents and is given T from them. In the class of history, the inclination of utilizing T or utilizing V has changed. Once it was elegant to utilize ever V, members of the businessperson in return ( and extensively ) used it, while among common people, the exchange of T was the usual.

There are certain properties that communicate power. One is age, as my illustration shows it, sex, birth, strength are besides matter, and one is evidently wealth. Brown and Gilman ( 1960 ) distinguish two sorts of dealingss. When person says: “ she has more money than ” , “ he is older than ” , “ he is in a higher place than ” , this relation is asymmetric and called: “ more powerful than ” . The other relation is solidarity: “ he has the same profession as I have ” , for illustration. Nowadays we can see how dealingss show a move from power towards solidarity but there are regulations when to utilize the “ T of solidarity ” and when to utilize the “ V of solidarity ” .

As modern English makes no T/V differentiation, English-speaking people have to respond otherwise to power dealingss as Hungarian would make. English is a really polite state ; nil proves it better than what is remainder from the two signifiers of second-person pronouns of the yesteryear, “ 1000 ” and “ you ” , is “ you ” which was at that clip the pronoun of fear and distance. “ Thou ” , the familiar reference to a individual individual ( Brown & A ; Levinson, 1978 ) , now merely can be found in supplications and naif poesy. But when they have merely “ you ” for everybody, when everybody is equal in footings of pronouns, how can they show regard and niceness?

Fairclough writes in his book ( 1989 ) : “ … the kind of values which attach to, state,tuandvousin French are expressed outside the pronoun system in English – as in the pick between different rubrics and manners of reference… ” ( p.106 ) . The combination of rubric + last name is by and large a mark of societal distance. This reference can be used both to person ‘s superior and to a alien. Titles for an older individual for illustration are: Mr. , Mrs. , Miss. But these rubrics, used without a last name, can be violative and impersonal ( Chaika, 1989 ) . It is non true for some other rubrics, like Father, Sister, Reverend, Your Honor, Your Highness… which stand without last names. Peoples who are addressed with this rubrics are regarded morally superior and their societal place is ever more of import than their individualism. The rubric “ Dr. ” is every bit respectful with or without a last name – but used without it, it refers to a medical physician without a Ph.D. ( p.67 ) . Aside from rubrics and references, English can make distance with the usage of “ point of position operations ” ( Brown & A ; Levinson ) . It is a “ … set of mechanisms involves pull stringsing the look of tense to supply distancing in clip. As the tense is switched from present into past, the talker movesasifinto the hereafter, so he distances himself from the here and now. “ ( p.204 )

For illustration:

“ Iwas inquiringwhether you could take me to the airdrome. ”

The so called “ indirect address Acts of the Apostless ” besides methods of polite discourse. The interpolation ofpleaseinto sentences, certain adverbs andifclauses and “ negative mutual opposition points ” based on “ indirect illocutionary force “ ( p.269 ) . Indirect petitions can be made if person starts the sentence with: “ Could you ” , “ Would you ” , “ Might you ” . With the usage of inactive sentences the talker can besides avoid mentioning straight to person who is involved:

“ It would be appreciated if… ” ( p.194 )

In Hungarian, making distance is largely made by the V signifier. The age is the most of import factor to make up one’s mind whether to utilize it or non. The so called “ tetszikeles ” is within the V class. Children normally use it in the discourse with old people. It is a nonreciprocal relation and its usage conveys respect ( Domonkosi, 2009 ) ; it gives the feeling that the talker is speaking to a 3rd individual and non straight to the addressee. “ Tetszikeles ” is judged equivocally because it sometimes consequences in awkward and complicated sentences. That is why older kids – above 15 old ages – avoid utilizing this signifier and replace it with the more standard “ onozes ” or “ magazas ” :

“ Hogy new wave? ” alternatively of “ Hogy tetszik lenni? “ .

But grownups seem to prefer the “ tetszik ” signifier to turn to old people and normally work forces to turn to adult females. This relation is, once more, nonreciprocal: for case, for the work forces recognizing an older adult female like: “ Kezit csokolom! ” the reply is the less antediluvian “ Jo napot kivanok! ” or in the instance of old people it can even be the T signifier.

Harmonizing to Domonkosi ( 2009 ) we can distinguish grammatically single free signifiers of references and attached signifiers of references that are constitutional into sentence construction. The affiliated signifiers invariably mark the power dealingss in a conversation, while in modern linguistic communication use of Hungarian ; there is a inclination to avoid the free reference signifiers.

The development of T/V towards a less expressed marker of power does non intend that unequal relationships of power are on diminution ( Fairclough, 1989 ) . We can non presume that human relationships and their looks in discourse connected so automatically. Power inequalities can be found everyplace but languages with T/V differentiation seem to demo them more. How this enhanced differentiation affects the societal head would be a good subject for a sociolinguistic research.


Brown, P. & A ; Levinson, S. C. ( 1978 ) .Politeness:Some universals in linguistic communication use.Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, R. , & A ; Gilman, A. ( 1960 ) . The pronouns of power and solidarity. In P. P. Giglioli ( Ed. ) ,Language and societal context( pp. 252-282 ) . Harmondswort, England: Penguin Books.

Chaika, E. ( 1989 ) .Language, the societal mirror.New York: Newbury House Publishers.

Domonkosi A . ( 2009 ) .Assortments of Address Forms in Contemporary Hungarian Use( Unpublished doctorial thesis ) . The University of Debrecen, Debrecen.

Fairclough, N. ( 1989 ) .Language and power.Edinburg Gate, England: Pearson Education Limited.


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