Is Italian the only modern language that uses the feminine 3rd person singular pronoun (Lei) for formal speech, regardless of the gender of the 2nd person singular addressee?

cf. T–V_distinction#Italian

  • 4
    German uses Sie for 3fs, 3cp, and formal 2cs. Jul 7, 2018 at 5:43
  • 2
    Plenty of forms of address based on abstract nouns like your highness are feminine singular in European languages (eg Spanish su Alteza), they are just a bit too formal for everyday modern use between commoners. T-V is an oversimplification, Lei is not really for V, voi is also used. Jul 7, 2018 at 10:03
  • @A.M.Bittlingmayer In Italian Voi is extremely formal, to the point that I have seen it used today only in bureaucratic contexts or contracts. Lei is the standard respectful forms in Italian. Voi is not really used anymore. Jul 7, 2018 at 16:55
  • 4
    @LukeSawczak. "sie" (she) and "Sie" (you, polite) are not the same word. The former takes a verb in the 3rd pers. singular, the latter a verb in the 3rd pers. plural.
    – fdb
    Jul 7, 2018 at 18:20
  • 1
    @fdb Technically agreed — but if we slice it another way (the pronoun is the same, the conjugation is different) I think it can at least be submitted as relevant evidence :) Jul 7, 2018 at 18:27


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