Which languages apart from Japanese, Korean and Javanese encode systematically the relationships between speaker, hearer and referent by means of grammar markers and special sets of vocabulary?

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    In Manchu there are about 20 words for 'I' depending on who the speaker and the listener(s) are. Generally speaking, this feature of marking politeness is the areal feature of most of the languages of Pacific Asia.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 23:17
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    Does the choice of personal pronouns according to social relationships count as "grammatical realisation"?
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 0:45
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    In Javanese the realisation of social relationships is also purely lexical. You need to formulate your questions better before asking them.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 0:56
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    wikipedia says: " There is a complex system of verb affixes to express differences of status in subject and object"
    – meireikei
    Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 1:23
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    Would languages with a T-V distinction qualify? To a lesser extent, what about majestic plural? Heck, what about how in formal English people seem to prefer Latin roots over Germanic?
    – acattle
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 18:07

1 Answer 1


Various Australian Aboriginal languages have grammatical encoding of the kinship relationships between speaker/hearer/referent.

See: Blythe, Joe (2013), Preference organization driving structuration: Evidence from Australian Aboriginal interaction for pragmatically motivated grammaticalization. Language, 89:4, pp. 883-919.

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