linguoboy wrote:What you're talking about is known in linguistics by the Eurocentric label "T-V distinction". Chinese actually does have a formal second-person pronoun, 您 nín, which like vous etc. was originally plural, but IME it's not much used nowadays even in non-Communist societies like Taiwan and Singapore. Traditionally, it had a huge range of nouns which could be used pronominally depending on the relationship between speaker and addressee and their respective roles in society. This system was drastically simplified with the destruction of the old feudal order but relics still survive.
Such systems are better preserved in neighbouring East and Southeast Asian languages like Japanese and Vietnamese. In fact, it's been argued that personal pronouns in Japanese represent what's called an open class, in contrast to Western languages, where they are closed classes (despite attempts to promote neologisms like "ze" and "hen"). These languages are also unlike other languages you know in that their verbs are not declined for person and they are generally pro-drop. It's not unusual for their speakers to use titles or kinship terms where speakers of European languages would expect personal pronouns.
Zé do Rock wrote:wat ar open and closed classes in this case?
Znex wrote:Pokkers, jeg er så jaloux. Jeg ønsker at jeg så let kunne lære andre sprog.
Verdammt, ich bin so eifersüchtig. Ich wünsche, dass ich andere Sprachen so einfach lernen könnte.
Zut, je suis tellement jaloux. Je souhaite que je puisse apprendre autres langues tellement facilement.
Droga, eu estou com tanta inveja. Eu queria que eu pudesse aprender outras línguas tão facilmente.
Dam, dw i mor eiddigeddus. Dymuna i ro'n i'n medru dysgu ieithoedd eraill mor hawdd.
Mac an donais, tha mi cho farmadach. 's àill leam gu robh urrainn dhomh ionnsachadh cànanan eile cho furasta.
Damn, I'm so jelly. I wish I could learn other languages so easily.
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