Politeness distinction in Pronouns (Hungarian)

TwoPolit: Binary politeness distinction. The language distinguishes two types of relations (pragmatic function): an intimate/familiar relation and a respectful (honorific) relation. Such a binary distinction may also be expressed by several distinct pronouns, with the choice of pronoun depending on the dialectal or grammatical circumstances.

(1) te éhes vagy?

you hungry cop.prs.2sg

’Are you hungry?’ (informal)

(2) maga éhes?

you hungry

’Are you hungry?’ (formal)

(3) ön éhes?

you hungry

’Are you hungry?’ (formal)

Politeness is expressed primarily with personal pronouns and the matching verb conjugation. Informality is coded by addressing the interlocutor with second person forms, while the formal tone is established by using the pronouns Ön or maga, and the third person singular or plural verb forms. (cf. Kugler‒Laczkó 2000: 158‒9).


Nikolett F. Gulyás