Chapter published in:Positioning the Self and Others: Linguistic perspectives
Edited by Kate Beeching, Chiara Ghezzi and Piera Molinelli
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 292] 2018
► pp. 51–79
Sociocultural and linguistic constraints in address choice from Latin to Italian
This chapter identifies the changes which led from the Early Latin address system, when address choice was unmarked as to the reverential dimension, to Late Latin, when such functions progressively emerged establishing the opposition between tu and Vos (2pl), and then to the Italian system. Speakers of Old Italian continued the differentiation in the address system, and, starting from the tu/Vos opposition, subsequent developments led to a tripartite system (tu/Voi/Lei).The chapter traces the main pragmatic and structural steps in the development of address terms and the external and internal factors involved. Whereas the emergence of reverential forms in the history of Latin is mainly due to socio-cultural factors, the change from Voi to Lei can be attributed to both social (contact with Spanish) and linguistic factors, since the use of honorifics triggered anaphoric abstract reference to a third person, then morphologised as third singular pronouns (Lei).
Keywords: politeness, address system, Latin, Italian, honorifics, tu/Vos pronouns
Published online: 17 July 2018
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Cited by 3 other publications
No author info given
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