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How polite is your language?

 Language Learning Forum : Cultural Experiences in Foreign Languages Post Reply
51 messages over 7 pages: 1 2 3 46 7  Next >>
montmorency
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4562 days ago

2371 posts - 3676 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Danish, Welsh

 
 Message 33 of 51
29 August 2012 at 8:54pm | IP Logged 
FELlX wrote:
Ogrim wrote:
French: The “vous” is still very much the norm in France,
and you would never address a stranger (e.g. a shop attendant or a waiter) with “tu”.
However, I do feel that there is a slight tendency for younger people to switch to “tu”
more rapidly than what was maybe the norm some years ago. My approach is that I address
everyone with “vous” and only switch to “tu” if they invite me to do so.

One thing that would be interesting to develop is how "tu"/"vous" (and other
equivalents in other languages) is used on the Internet.

Generally in forums, and in most communities, the familiar form is the norm. Therefore
it is more and more frequent to meet people (on the Internet, then possibly IRL)
without ever using the formal pronoun to talk to them. Is it also the same in other
languages?




I've noticed that in German classes held in the UK over the years (at least in
reasonably advanced ones), the English people all insist on using the "du" form, and I
sometimes get the impression that the native speaking teachers don't fully approve, but
they realise that the cultural norms are a bit different here, and let it pass. One
year, the teacher asked the class at the beginning what they wanted to use, and of
course everyone said "du" except the man sitting next to me, who said quite reasonably,
that he wanted to practice the polite forms, because that's what he'd have to use in
Germany most of the time, so we compromised on using one form before the break, and the
other form after the break. Well, that was in theory. But it fell apart almost
immediately, and we were all "du"-ing each other as usual! .



Edited by montmorency on 29 August 2012 at 8:56pm

1 person has voted this message useful



prz_
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Poland
last.fm/user/prz_rul
Joined 4593 days ago

890 posts - 1190 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, English, Bulgarian, Croatian
Studies: Slovenian, Macedonian, Persian, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Dutch, Swedish, German, Italian, Armenian, Kurdish

 
 Message 34 of 51
29 August 2012 at 11:36pm | IP Logged 
I've always wondered if English "you" was only a form of "Mr/Ms" with the same form as in 2nd plural or it meant that English language 'treats people less official'. Luckily, I had an opportunity to see it in Macedonia since we had classes with several women from Australia. And they were always telling ти instead of ви.

If it comes to Polish, it seems to be very official since we have special forms Pan & Pani - a form of 2nd plural referring to the current Pan & Pani has gone long, long, long time ago (maybe except some local forms, but now even in the very rural areas they seem to be extremely archaic)
2 persons have voted this message useful



Kartof
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4800 days ago

391 posts - 550 votes 
Speaks: English*, Bulgarian*, Spanish
Studies: Danish

 
 Message 35 of 51
03 September 2012 at 7:47am | IP Logged 
Just an interesting Bulgarian pop-folk music video I
stumbled upon in youtube. The whole basis of the song is that the singer is telling the man she
is singing to to refer to her in the informal "ти" in an effort to get closer to him. :)

Edit: fixed the link

Edited by Kartof on 03 September 2012 at 2:21pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 6331 days ago

9753 posts - 15779 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 36 of 51
03 September 2012 at 3:06pm | IP Logged 
prz_ wrote:
If it comes to Polish, it seems to be very official since we have special forms Pan & Pani - a form of 2nd plural referring to the current Pan & Pani has gone long, long, long time ago (maybe except some local forms, but now even in the very rural areas they seem to be extremely archaic)
I loved being addressed as Pani in Poland! Makes you feel respected :D
1 person has voted this message useful



Ogrim
Heptaglot
Senior Member
France
Joined 4373 days ago

991 posts - 1896 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, French, Romansh, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Catalan, Latin, Greek, Romanian

 
 Message 37 of 51
10 September 2012 at 6:00pm | IP Logged 
FELlX wrote:
Ogrim wrote:
French: The “vous” is still very much the norm in France, and you would never address a stranger (e.g. a shop attendant or a waiter) with “tu”. However, I do feel that there is a slight tendency for younger people to switch to “tu” more rapidly than what was maybe the norm some years ago. My approach is that I address everyone with “vous” and only switch to “tu” if they invite me to do so.

One thing that would be interesting to develop is how "tu"/"vous" (and other equivalents in other languages) is used on the Internet.

Generally in forums, and in most communities, the familiar form is the norm. Therefore it is more and more frequent to meet people (on the Internet, then possibly IRL) without ever using the formal pronoun to talk to them. Is it also the same in other languages?


Here is an interesting opinion piece from The Guardian which addresses the decline of "vous" in French: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/10/france-t u-vous-distinction-twitter-generation

1 person has voted this message useful



atama warui
Triglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4435 days ago

594 posts - 985 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, Japanese

 
 Message 38 of 51
04 October 2012 at 5:26pm | IP Logged 
montmorency wrote:
And so (to sum up) no, you don't have a more or less neutral term (like the French
"Monsieur") that can be used on its own with no surname, as a polite, but not "servile"
form of direct address, just as we don't (for practical purposes, except in a few
restricted circumstances).

When you see someone dropping their purse and you want to address them, you say "Entschuldigen Sie bitte" - or, if you feel adventurous, "Hallo, Sie!" (but that might come across not-so-polite)

Edited by atama warui on 04 October 2012 at 5:27pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 6331 days ago

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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
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 Message 39 of 51
04 October 2012 at 6:31pm | IP Logged 
I didn't know an equivalent of "excuse me" when I was in Germany for the first time, so I had to use English... Embarrassing :D

What about Portugal btw? The forms o senhor/a senhora always seemed incredibly formal to me... Can even você be too informal sometimes? Never been to Portugal so it's kinda hard to judge.

Edited by Serpent on 04 October 2012 at 6:31pm

1 person has voted this message useful



stelingo
Hexaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 5566 days ago

722 posts - 1076 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Czech, Polish, Greek, Mandarin

 
 Message 40 of 51
04 October 2012 at 11:31pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
I didn't know an equivalent of "excuse me" when I was in Germany for the first time, so I had to use English... Embarrassing :D

What about Portugal btw? The forms o senhor/a senhora always seemed incredibly formal to me... Can even você be too informal sometimes? Never been to Portugal so it's kinda hard to judge.


Yes, o senhor/a senhora is very formal. I'm still unsure when it would be 'correct' to use você. I get the feeling many Portuguese don't like this pronoun, something which seems to be confirmed on this forum. Instead of using o senhor/a senhora você people often prefer to use the person's first name along with the definite article.

eg, (Talking directly to José) 'O José já terminou o relatório?'
Have you finished the report (José)?


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