Politeness distinction in pronouns (Surgut Khanty)

PolitNoPn: Pronoun avoidance. Certain languages do not use pronouns to express politeness, but have a rich inventory of other strategies for expressing the distinction.

(1a) nüŋ təɣə jüw-a!

you here come-imp.2sg

’Come here!’ (one addressee, both formal and informal)

(1b) nīn təɣə jüw-ittən!

you_two here come-imp.2du

’You two, come here!’ (both formal and informal)

(1c) nəŋ təɣə jüw-ittəɣ!

you here come-imp.2pl

’Come here!’ (two addressees, both formal and informal)

(2) warwara mihajlovna, nüŋ jaŋqiʌ-a!

Varvara Mihajlovna you walk-imp-2sg

’Varvara Mihajlovna, please go there!’ (both formal and informal)

In Surgut Khanty, the same second person pronouns are used in formal and informal contexts (1a, b, c). Respect toward the addressee is expressed by other means, for example by referring to the addressee’s first name and patronymic (2).


Márta Csepregi