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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

370                The Loom of Language
Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian is now the one used to address
husband or wife, children, close relations, and intimate fnends There
is a French verb tutoyer (German duzerf) which means to speak fami-
liarly., that is, to address a person as tu in preference to the more formal
vow (French vouzoyer, German siezen)
In the days of the Roman Empire, nos (we) often replaced the em-
phatic ego (I) This led to the substitution of vos for tu The custom
began in the upper ranks of Roman society Eventually vos percolated
through the tiers of the social hierarchy till it reached those who had
only their chains to lose So vous is now the polite French for you The
verb which goes with it has the plural ending, while the adjective or
past participle takes the gender and number of the person addressed
Thus the Frenchman says Madame, vous etes trop bonne (how kind of
you, Madam), but Monsieur, vous etes trop bon In spite of the Revolu-
tion of 1789, the French often use Monsieur, Madame> and Mademoiselle
with the third person, e g Madame est trop bonne
Spaniards and Italians have pushed deference further by substi-
tuting a less direct form for the original vos (Span ) or voi (Ital) The
Italian uses lei (or more formally ella) = she, with the third person
singular, eg lei e americano* (you are American^) Let is the pronomial
representative for some feminine noun such as vossignona (Your Lord-
ship) The plural of lei is loro In Italian conversation we can often
omit lei and loro Instead we can use the third person without pronoun,
e g ha mangiato? (have you eaten^)
When a Spaniard addresses a single individual who is not an intimate
or a child, he uses usted (written V or Vd for short) instead of tu. The
corresponding pronoun for use when addressing more than one person
is ustedes (Vs or Vds). Usted is a contraction of vuestra merced (Your
Grace) Consequently the verb appears in the third person, as in Italian,
e g. como se llama usted? (what is your name?), como se llaman ustedes^
(what are your names ?), In very short statements or questions we can
omit usted, e g. que dice> (what do you say?)
Portuguese is more extravagant than either Spanish or Italian The
usual equivalent for our you when it stands for a male is o senkor, and
for a female a senhora, or (in Brazil) a senhonta. So the Portuguese for
the simple English have you got ink> is tern o senhor (or a senhora} tinta?
Our catalogue of pohte behaviour would be incomplete without the
Balkan equivalent The Rumanian for the polite you is the periphrastic
domnia voastra (Latin dormna vostra, Your Lordship) The pohte forms
of our invariant YOU in Italian and Spanish are m the table below.