APPELLATIVES AND VERBAL FORMS OF ADDRESS
Languages of publication
This paper deals with such sentences as, in English, 'Mum, will you have some coffee?', or in Polish, 'Mamo, napijesz sie kawy?'. The sentences contain appellatives (usually called 'vocatives' in the literature) - the words 'Mum' and 'Mamo' - followed by verb forms - 'will you have' and 'napijesz sie'. The author claims that appellatives and verb forms are two different things, deserving separate description. The usual division of sentences into those that use a familiar T-pronoun (Latin and French 'tu') and those that use a polite V-pronoun (Latin 'vos' and French 'vous') is inadequate for two reasons: (a) - there are numerous languages in which there are several (and not just two) pronouns on the scale between familiar informality and polite formality; (b) - English, French, German etc. are non-pro-drop languages. There are, however, numerous pro-drop languages (Polish or Latin, for example), in which the form of the verb makes the use of a personal pronoun superfluous. What is more, a V-form of the verb in a sentence directed at the interlocutor does not necessarily require a formal appellative; example from French: 'Jean, vous allez prendre du café?' - as against 'M. Dupont, vous allez prendre du café?'. Aside from that, the appellative (for example, in Polish) may be in the vocative or the nominative case, so that different permutations are possible. It is suggested that it is the verb form in the sentence addressed to the interlocutor that we should consider primary. The appellative may or may not be there: there is no obligation to name the addressee. In every language, both appellatives and verb forms in sentences accompanying appellatives are laid out on a scale, stretching from non-formal to formal. The 'non-formal' end includes 'familiar' and even 'intimate', while the 'formal' end comprises 'honorific'.
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