Lexical and Grammatical Properties of Personal Pronouns in Vietnamese: Deicticity and Relationships
Languages of publication
Since all languages have ways of referring to the person speaking and the person being addressed, some have been misled into thinking that the category of person works in the same manner in all languages. Recognition that pronouns work differently in some East Asian languages is usually limited to observations about the number of different words used to refer to the speaker and addressee. This paper looks at the ways that Vietnamese speakers use words to refer to themselves and their addressees. The system that emerges is complex and dynamic. It makes use of both transreferential deictic words (that refer to participants in the speech act) as well as non-deictic words that only refer to individuals in terms of characteristics of the conversational participants such as age, sex and social role and the relationship between interlocutors.
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