Trust based "honorifics"

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greatbuddha
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Trust based "honorifics"

Post by greatbuddha » 06 Apr 2013 00:57

I've had an idea for a different variety of honorifics system. Unlike the Korea and Japanese systems, which are mostly based on social heirarchy, which uses honorifics depending on how "high up" someone is socially, you would base the honorifics based on how much one person trusts another, or by social distance.
So you'd have a level for people you don't know at all.
Acquaintances
Friends and superiors
Family, spouses, and really high superiors (like an emperor or something)

You'd use the same language with both friends and superiors because using the friend level language says "I trust you and what your plans for us" to your superiors.

And using intimate language with a very high superior would say "I trust you as much as I would trust my spouse"
तृष्णात्क्रोधदुःखमिति उद्धो बुद्धः

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Batailleur
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Batailleur » 06 Apr 2013 01:23

This is actually quite epic. Can I use this for a 'lang?
ILR 5 = :eng:
ILR 4 = :rus:
ILR 3 = None
ILR 2 = :fra:
ILR 1 = None
Abandoned = :gla: (Scots), :sqi:, :heb:, :epo:
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greatbuddha
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by greatbuddha » 06 Apr 2013 01:27

Yes? I didn't copywrite it or anything.
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hadad
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by hadad » 06 Apr 2013 01:45

What a lovely idea! I've made seperate terms though for friends, acquaintances, etc.. in a few conlangs. I have:

friendly acquaintances
neutral acquaintances
disliked acquaintances
friends
close friends
best friend(s)
enemies
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DesEsseintes
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by DesEsseintes » 06 Apr 2013 02:45

That sounds like an interesting idea and a great way to explore social interaction in your conculture. Here are some ideas that immediately come to mind:

1. As the most intimate level would be used for the people the speaker interacts with the most, it is the most likely level to be unmarked or minimally marked. Is that how you conceived it? Otherwise, you would wind up speaking to your spouse using more complicated word forms, an unlikely, albeit conceivable, scenario. However, that's assuming there are grammatical endings for the different registers. Are there going to be different grammatical forms for each level, or will the differences only be lexical? Which word classes will be marked?

2. Is your system going to distinguish distance/intimacy only or is there going to be an additional parameter for plain/polite or formal/informal. As I'm sure you're aware, the Japanese and Korean systems both make (at least) a twofold distinction. One idea would be to have a trust parameter (like the one you outlined) and a politeness parameter. In such a system, one would use the "highly trusted" plain style with your spouse and the "highly trusted" polite style with the emperor. Only an idea :)

I love honorifics and want to include them in my own conlang, but I haven't worked out a system yet. I would definitely be interested in learning more about your system.

One of a hundred social situations to consider:
How would a shop keeper address his customer? And how would the customer reply? I suspect they would use different trust registers...

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Lambuzhao
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Lambuzhao » 07 Apr 2013 01:41

Interesting.
:wat:
Some natlangs have levels of formal~informal interaction (I'm thinking of Romance languages). However, they do not have as many levels of intimacy, or "trust", as is the case here. And they certainly do not demonstrate levels of formality/informality in pronouns other than the 2SG. At least Japanese does a better job of that. And remember, there is more to Japanese Honorifics than looking up to superiors, while effacing oneself. There are levels of intimacy among friends and family that do not exactly map onto the workplace or at Court.

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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Omzinesý » 07 Apr 2013 12:30

Very interesting!


All languages have ways to code the formality of the situation. You don't really use the same words with a president than with your friend. It's not just the T/V distinction of European languages. Japanese maybe does it more explicitely with its "masu" endings and the culture of politeness is very complicated. But speaking particular kind of English in the correct manner in a situation is not an easy task either.

I think it's a pragmatic principle to try to convay the image that I believe you. It's just very rude to say someone that you don't have status to say that. (Of course there are finer ways to do that.) So, I think, not to be rude, the system must be very formal and the social distance of trustworthy must be very strictly defined, and so the system ends up to coding just social hierarchy, like Japanese. Maybe the only difference is that friends are not handled like superiors in Japanese.

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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by greatbuddha » 08 Apr 2013 21:51

I was imagining the political system of this consociety to have been very democratic for a very long time (like thousands of years), so politicians aren't given a special level respect, the attitude is more like "we put you there so you go do your job and I'll talk to you like I know you only if you do your job well." The consociety doesn't really have a social ranking system as it is the same immortal society I talked about in another post, since everyone has an indefinite lifespan, everyone knows that their boss won't be boss forever, so talking down to people or acting like you deserve extra respect because of your (temporary) position is the ultimate social faux pas.
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Jarhead » 08 Apr 2013 22:03

Lambuzhao wrote:Some natlangs have levels of formal~informal interaction (I'm thinking of Romance languages).
Italian L1 speaker here. We do have different forms to speak to people, which correspond roughly to ancient english you / thou contraposition.
We use "lei" form (more respectful) for strangers and superiors, but also people we know professionally and not personally, while "tu" form (more familiar) for people we know personally or outside a professional context, but also for people who don't hold a "higher" social status (such as, when I talk to another teeneger, I use the "tu" form even if he's a stranger). There's also the now-unused "voi" form (most-respectful) which was used especially in the southern part of Italy to address more socially relevant people and, oddly (i think), your father.
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by ol bofosh » 08 Apr 2013 22:10

I think I read a while ago that Basque has something similar to this. They have "formal" and "informal" distinction, but that studying this distinction it turns out to be a "solidarity" distinction, or something. Even if you don't know the person, but they come from a similar/the same social/cultural background then you refer to them in "informal"(for want of a better word), and for anyone of a different background you refer to them in "formal".

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Jarhead
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Jarhead » 14 Apr 2013 20:44

Yeah italian works kind of like that
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Valosken » 15 Apr 2013 15:10

I was gonna do this with closeness. I don't like social hierarchy. I might do a trust system now. This is a cool idea.
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Sasquatch » 03 Jul 2013 02:59

I don't think such a system would remain based on trust. Just going off my own personal experience. I've interacted with the owner of the company I work for. I don't trust him as much as I trust my wife. But I would have to use that level of honorific with him because I wouldn't want to let him know I didn't trust him. My choice of words would be based on my desire to keep my job. All honorifics systems degrade into a class system eventually.
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eldin raigmore
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by eldin raigmore » 03 Jul 2013 21:25

According to novels I've read, and movies I've seen, about West Point, an officer by default calls a higher-ranking officer "Sir". (Or, depending on the unit, a female superior might be called "Ma'am", or might be called "Sir".)
But if a junior officer decides that a higher-ranking officer has permanently forfeited any chance that the junior officer will ever again respect him/her, the junior officer addresses the senior officer by rank only.
Thus if Lieutenant Jones respects General Smith, or even thinks it's still posssible that one day he may respect General Smith, he will call the General "Sir".
But otherwise Lt. Jones will address Gen. Smith as "General Smith".

So even if a trust-based system of honorifics does degrade into a class-based or rank-based system, the speakers can still use it (along with the rest of the language) to indicate that though they recognize someone else's higher rank they don't think they deserve it anymore.

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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Sasquatch » 04 Jul 2013 02:11

eldin raigmore wrote:So even if a trust-based system of honorifics does degrade into a class-based or rank-based system, the speakers can still use it (along with the rest of the language) to indicate that though they recognize someone else's higher rank they don't think they deserve it anymore.
That may work fine in the military since the general can't fire the junior officer. But it could be suicide in the private sector.
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Kaidonni » 04 Jul 2013 11:14

Sasquatch wrote:That may work fine in the military since the general can't fire the junior officer. But it could be suicide in the private sector.
Try it out on R Lee Ermey, I dare ya. [:D]

I'm going for honorifics myself, but it's based on the physical form an individual has taken rather than social status or trust.

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Dormouse559
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Dormouse559 » 04 Jul 2013 16:25

Sasquatch wrote:That may work fine in the military since the general can't fire the junior officer. But it could be suicide in the private sector.
Is there a reason why the language's culture can't disallow firing by superiors in all/most situations?

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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by Valkura » 05 Jul 2013 05:03

Dormouse559 wrote:
Sasquatch wrote:That may work fine in the military since the general can't fire the junior officer. But it could be suicide in the private sector.
Is there a reason why the language's culture can't disallow firing by superiors in all/most situations?
Does the conculture even need to have Earth-like modern business workplaces? (No.)
Please don't read this.

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eldin raigmore
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Re: Trust based "honorifics"

Post by eldin raigmore » 05 Jul 2013 20:44

Kaidonni wrote:Try it out on R Lee Ermey, I dare ya. [:D]
I believe R. Lee Ermey played the high-ranking NCO ("Master Sergeant", maybe? or maybe "Sergeant-Major"?) in one of the movies I was talking about. I could be wrong. Anyway in most of the U.S.'s services NCOs and WOs are not called "sir"; only commissioned officers are called "sir". I think.

Dormouse559 wrote:Is there a reason why the language's culture can't disallow firing by superiors in all/most situations?
The whole point of being a serf is that you can't get "fired".
If the culture has a big feudal piece, even if it's not mostly feudal, it may be that superiors can't "fire" inferiors -- even if they can abuse them in other ways.
The Master/Apprentice relationship, also, might be much like the foster-parent/foster-child relationship; maybe neither party can get out of it just by wanting to.
All of that would fit with real-life European culture of certain times, and also a few other real-life cultures at various times.

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