You, but more respectfull in English

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You, but more respectfull in English

Postby LCommi » 2004-08-22, 18:19

I've been wondering lately: " is there any way of saying u, Sie, Vous or Usted in English?"
Every language I know has an alternative for you when speeking to older people as a way to show respect. I just don't know any such form in English.

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Postby Car » 2004-08-22, 18:28

No, but you can still use a different style to address the persons, it also makes a difference whether you use the first or last name etc.
Actually, you is formal while the informal "thou" was lost.

This seems to be an interesting discussion about the topic.
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Postby Strigo » 2004-08-22, 18:30

If you're curious, in Romanian it's

DUMNEAVOASTRĂ
Aquí es donde traduzco diariamente música israelí del hebreo al español

[flag]cl[/flag] native; [flag]en[/flag] fluent; [flag]il[/flag] lower advanced ; [flag]pt-BR[/flag] read fluently, understand well, speak not so badly (specially after some Itaipava); recently focusing on [flag]sv[/flag][flag]ar[/flag] and I promised myself to finish my [flag]ru[/flag] New Penguin Russian Course: A Complete Course for Beginners in less than a month (12/oct/2013). Wants to wake up one day speaking [flag]ka[/flag][flag]lt[/flag] and any Turkic language.

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Postby Ozymandias » 2004-08-22, 18:32

No, there is only one form of the second person pronoun in Standard Modern English

'You' is used formally, informally, singular, plural

Respect in English would be shown in your tone of voice and choice of words.

There do exist specific plural forms of 'you' but they're considered sub-standard.

'Y'all' is the most common in the USA, short for 'you all' it originally started in the South Eastern States (Dixie), but has since spread to California and become more and more common. Even so, I doubt very much whether it will ever be accepted into the mainstream.

So, to answer your question simply: no, there is only one second person pronoun in English: you.


I hope this helps...


Ozy

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Postby Psi-Lord » 2004-08-22, 18:36

Worth pointing that, in certain situations (such as a waiter addressing a customer, among others), one might also add 'sir' / 'madam' to give a more formal tone.
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Postby ekalin » 2004-08-22, 18:47

Fortunately, English has very little of this formal/informal variants when adressing people...
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Re: You, but more respectfull in English

Postby Fenek » 2004-08-22, 19:02

LCommi wrote:I've been wondering lately: " is there any way of saying u, Sie, Vous or Usted in English?"


Yes, but there's no way to say "tu" in English ;)

English people were so polite, that they said "you" (="Vous/Usted") to everyone and they forgot the word "thou" (="tu") :P
I'd appreciate any corrections to my messages!
Vi sarò molto grato per ogni correzione!
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Aş fi recunoscător pentru orice corectare!
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Postby Malcolm » 2004-08-22, 19:43

I find it quite conveniant actually that there's no distiction in english... Because this distinction adds difficulty to the learning of the language. When do you shift from Vous to tu? from Sie to du? From Dumneavoastra to dumneata to tu?
I've always wondered when they translate american films to french, when they decide that the actors will shift from vous to tu. It's usally after the first kiss, but it's not always as easy... So just think about how english speakers are lucky with their very conveniant "you" :)

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Postby Anutka » 2004-08-22, 21:05

Of course it's convenient. I always find it hard to discern whenI should use "Usted" or "Вы" and when "tu" or "ты", but in my recent visit to Russia everyone I met seemed to do so quite naturally. Of course, with the new attitude of equal respect for everyone, the distinction seems unnecessary, even insulting to someone who isn't used to it.

In Hebrew there is no such form either. This makes teaching it to French or Spanish students rather hard. My class certainly doesn't get it, since the only other language they know is English, but I suppose it also has something to do with the fact that the teacher doesn't mind students using "tu" when talking to her because it makes her feel younger. We call her Sarita, which is a nickname. We call the rest of our teachers by their first names too, so it's no wonder no one gets it. It isn't only a difference in language, but in culture as well.

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Postby Car » 2004-08-23, 4:52

Anutka wrote:We call the rest of our teachers by their first names too, so it's no wonder no one gets it. It isn't only a difference in language, but in culture as well.


Exactly. We have one docent who asked us whether we wanted to use formal or informal language (yes, you can make such a big fuss about it). So it ended up in informal "du" plus first name. But it's still akward and once "Herr XY" plus the formal "Sie" slipped out. It does create a nicer, more relaxed atmosphere though, which was nice for that subject, but probably would have the opposite effect in other subjects.

Having no difference seems easier at first, but it makes it harder to differentiate through your choice of words. It's not that easy to get what the person is using.
Please correct my mistakes!

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Postby senatortombstone » 2004-08-23, 14:38

In old and middle English the words for the second person pronouns were


informal THOU-subject, THEE-object

second person plural and polite YE-subject, YOU-object

I find it interesting that the objective form of YE survived instead of the subject form. That would be like DICH or DIR becoming the subjective and objective form in German

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Postby darkina » 2004-08-24, 18:22

Car wrote:
Anutka wrote:We call the rest of our teachers by their first names too, so it's no wonder no one gets it. It isn't only a difference in language, but in culture as well.


Exactly. We have one docent who asked us whether we wanted to use formal or informal language (yes, you can make such a big fuss about it). So it ended up in informal "du" plus first name. But it's still akward and once "Herr XY" plus the formal "Sie" slipped out. It does create a nicer, more relaxed atmosphere though, which was nice for that subject, but probably would have the opposite effect in other subjects.

Having no difference seems easier at first, but it makes it harder to differentiate through your choice of words. It's not that easy to get what the person is using.


Same here...we have a teacher that wants us to address him with TU, probably cos he's very young, but it was incredibly hard at first and still now I dont find it too easy... Some teachers address to students formally, some don't and I must admit that I prefer those that call us formally for some crazy reason...(maybe cos it makes me feel 'important' ;)).
I noticed how hard this is to get sometimes for English people because they use 'you' all the time... Sometimes I find it so much easier, for example in formal e-mails I find it uncomfortable to use the italian formal way (which by the way resembles to the third person singular, so f you say 'suo' you have to specify in some cases whose this 'suo' is, if there's a third person you're talking about...)
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Postby Maja » 2004-08-24, 18:44

Darky wrote:Same here...we have a teacher that wants us to address him with TU, probably cos he's very young, but it was incredibly hard at first and still now I dont find it too easy... Some teachers address to students formally, some don't and I must admit that I prefer those that call us formally for some crazy reason...(maybe cos it makes me feel 'important' ;)).

I remember the same from my times at university. All professors used formal addressing, but some assistents used formal and some informal. I personally prefer informl addressing because in this case both parties can keep distance - mind that we were not friends or colleages with them. :wink:
Here at work I would like to have more formality - we don't have any - so that colleagues and customers would not say whatever just cross their mind any single minute, sometimes it is quite embarassed situation.
As you don't get Slovene well, I'll give you an example in German: anybody can say to you "du, Esel!", but nobody can say "Sie, Esel!". :wink:
Maja

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tu / vous

Postby Nate Dog » 2004-08-25, 4:19

I think we are forgetting the other function of the variants of the word 'you'. Remember also that you often need to distinguish between you and you all. I find 'you all' really cumbersome to use, but despise 'youse'. Does anyone have any suggestions for alternatives to 'you all'?

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Postby Car » 2004-08-25, 6:03

Darky wrote:Some teachers address to students formally, some don't and I must admit that I prefer those that call us formally for some crazy reason...(maybe cos it makes me feel 'important' ;)).


Same for me and formal is the standard for both sides. We're all adults after all and being talked to informally while you have to stay formal creates a bigger distance than formal language alone can ever create. Not to note that in other situations, outside of uni, I may not know how to treat them.

(which by the way resembles to the third person singular, so f you say 'suo' you have to specify in some cases whose this 'suo' is, if there's a third person you're talking about...)


You could avoid that by capitalising the formal "suo", similar to German "Sie". Ok, sometimes I have to think twice so that I actually capitalise it, but it does have a function.
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Postby Varislintu » 2004-08-25, 6:58

This is very interesting, I had not known why there is only one word for 2nd pers sing and 2nd pers plur in English. Now if someone could just hop into a timemachine and travel back, and ask the people in question why they chose to stick with "you" and not "ye" :wink: . But aren't there some British dialects where you say "me" instead of "my" and "ye" instead of "you"?

But about the common use (in European languages) of the 2nd pers plural when respectfully refering to a "you". I think it is a silly archaic thing. My understanding is, that it dates back to the time of monarchs. The monarch represented the whole kingdom, he/she wasn't a private person. So when addressing a monarch, you addressed the whole court. That is why the plural was used, not out of respect per se. But of course the lesser people probably thought it must be worth imitating, and so started using it amongst themselves. But always when I hear the plural being used in Finnish, I can't help thinking "whose court are you addressing :roll: ?"

In Finland, 50 years back or so, the proper way of keeping a respectful distance to people (especially people of lower class, as they are difficult to address with the plural) was by avoiding the use of "you". Instead the persons name was used. So a woman addressing a servant might say

"Ilsa cleanes the floor now", or
"Did Ilsa enjoy her day off?" (assuming the servants ever had days off, I don't know :roll: )

avoiding the "you" altogether. But that might not sound very natural today, in English, as an alternative for respectful addressing.

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Postby Leviwosc » 2004-08-25, 12:23

The Dutch formal form is simply, 'u'. And informal is, 'jij'.

The schools where I used to study were always pretty strange, some teachers wants us to adress him with 'jij', while mostly older teachers demand that we adress him with, 'u'. Sometimes we don't even know the first name of a teacher and so we have to use his surname, it's very strange then using 'jij'. So in that case everybody use, 'u'.

The students are never adressed with 'u'. I think that's a typically foreign habbit. The students are considered as from a lower rang. Though it happen sometimes that a teacher adress his students with 'u'. Though it happens only when someone is very annoying, the use of 'u' is then rather ironic than willing to be formal.

Ik hoop dat u het niet erg vindt dat ik verder ga met mijn les terwijl u zit te kletsen?

I hope you don't mind that I continue my lesson while you're chatting?

Especially older people here thinks that the norm increase of the youth has to deal with the fact that youngers use, 'jij', more often than; 'u'. I think this is non sense.

By the way, I see pretty often, native English speakers, using the pronoun, 'u' instead of, 'you'. I know this is slang or easy going language. But I'm curious if more natives do this?

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Postby darkina » 2004-08-25, 19:32

Car wrote:
Darky wrote:Some teachers address to students formally, some don't and I must admit that I prefer those that call us formally for some crazy reason...(maybe cos it makes me feel 'important' ;)).


Same for me and formal is the standard for both sides. We're all adults after all and being talked to informally while you have to stay formal creates a bigger distance than formal language alone can ever create. Not to note that in other situations, outside of uni, I may not know how to treat them..


In other situations I'd be formal anyway because that's the use with older people you don't know well...
By the way, I realised that the 'keeping the distance' is probably the reason why I like formal while most people say they prefer the informal way...

(which by the way resembles to the third person singular, so f you say 'suo' you have to specify in some cases whose this 'suo' is, if there's a third person you're talking about...)


You could avoid that by capitalising the formal "suo", similar to German "Sie". Ok, sometimes I have to think twice so that I actually capitalise it, but it does have a function.


It does make sense, actually sometimes in formal letters the equivalent of "Sie" are capitalised, but I find that too formal... (maybe it has a lighter impact on German also cos you capitalise nouns too...). But the cases when the similarity is confusing mostly happen in spoken language.


I also find it so peculiar everytime I realise that English doesn't distinguish between you-singular and you-plural... It's hard and funny to imagine that situation in a native's mind (as I noticed with some English people that don't know other languages)
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Postby Car » 2004-08-25, 19:45

Darky wrote:In other situations I'd be formal anyway because that's the use with older people you don't know well...


That's clear, however there are situations where I'm a bit unsure.

I also find it so peculiar everytime I realise that English doesn't distinguish between you-singular and you-plural... It's hard and funny to imagine that situation in a native's mind (as I noticed with some English people that don't know other languages)


But as "y'all" shows, they also see a need for a distinction.
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Postby Guest » 2004-08-25, 21:53

Darky wrote:It does make sense, actually sometimes in formal letters the equivalent of "Sie" are capitalised, but I find that too formal... (maybe it has a lighter impact on German also cos you capitalise nouns too...)


In German, you simply spell all kinds of formal second person pronouns with capital letters: "Sie", "Ihr" (outdated, but still in use in some Swiss areas, I believe), "Er" (outdated), umm, can't think of any others. Anyway, you have no choice. Not capitalising those words gives them a different meaning: "sie" is third person plural or feminine, "ihr" is second person plural informal, and "er" is third person singular.

The informal pronouns "du" and "ihr" used to be capitalised in letters (but not usually otherwise) before the spelling reform. A lot of people seem to continue that use of "Du" and "Ihr" intentionally because they consider the capitalisation more respectful (though not more formal) for reasons that I fail to understand.

I recently read a postcard from someone who had used "Ihr" as the informal plural pronoun as people did before the spelling reform, and I have to say that a for short second I actually wondered "Why am I being addressed the way kings used to be?". :wink:


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