Questions tagged [formality]

For question about formality in linguistics, e.g., in personal pronouns (T-V-distinction) or verbs.

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4 votes
2 answers

Why did older languages lose the informal "you" if modern languages are losing the formal "you"?

English and (I believe) Brazilian Portuguese have to varying degrees lost T-V distinction via adoption of the formal second-person pronoun for both formal and informal situations. English completely ...
TheEnvironmentalist's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers

In English, can the use of a word change from formal to informal, or vice versa, while the meaning of the word remains the same?

Note: I have zero background in linguistics, so I do not know if my question is valid, and I am probably not going to use proper terminology. Thank you for reading. Here goes. Can the use of a word ...
Dan's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers

Formalizing Natural Languages

I've been interested in the subject of metalanguages [in mathematical logic] and how (if) we can formalize them. Most metalanguages I've encountered use some variation of a natural language (such as ...
Heleyrine Brookvinth's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer

When and how did the Japanese honorific system evolve?

I know that languages, in general, can denote honorifics, especially with second person pronouns (T/V distinction, etc), and I imagine that the Japanese system of honorifics is probably an extension ...
Breaking Bioinformatics's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers

Did/Do most languages use a similar pronoun to the plural for formal singular?

I don't think the title is super clear, but I couldn't a better way to word it, let me give a few examples From what I understand, the "original" pronouns were English: Singular Informal: Thou ...
YoTengoUnLCD's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers

Plural form as respect form - based on what?

Many languages use the plural as respected mood for a singular (even English use "you" which is basically a plural form of thu). Now my question is: based on what those who started to speak in ...
Ubiquitous Student's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers

pronouns with uppercase and lowercase variants

In Russian, there are two forms of the formal 2nd person singular pronoun: lowercase вы (vy) and uppercase Вы (Vy). If I understand correctly, the latter is used in situations where the speaker and ...
user8017's user avatar
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13 votes
6 answers

Why did English stop using thou?

In Shakespearean English, thou/thee/thy/thine were used for second person singular, and you/your/yours were used for second person plural. In modern English, you is used for both singular and plural. ...
Orcris's user avatar
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