[An-lang] Respect particles in AN languages

Paz B. Naylor pnaylor at umich.edu
Mon Nov 8 21:33:52 UTC 2004

Dear Colleagues:

Tagalog, unlike most other Philippine languages it seems, does use respect
forms.  The highly formal "PO [poq]" and the less formal "HO [hoq]" are
tacked on at the end of the phrase as a form of polite address when speaking
to our elders and superiors as well as strangers/nonfamiliar people.
(Growing up in Manila, how well I remember my mother as well as other
grown-ups complaining about how impolite, even rude, in their speech
Visayans were, since they never used these respect particles - which do not
in fact exist in their own language.) In addition, in We also use the 2nd
person plural pronoun "KAYO" (cf. French VOUS) and for really formal speech
situations (e.g., addressing high officials) we use the 3rd person plural
pronoun "SILA" (cf. German SIE).

Allow me to quote the following:

 Chirino  found Tagalog "most admirable" of the Philippine languages.
Tagalog had the subtlety of Hebrew, the fullness and elegance of Latin.  Its
articles and pronouns reminded him of Greek.  Above all, Tagalog was a
polite language with the "same courtesy and urbanity" as his own native
Spanish.  (Bernad 1972: 153)

Here is the reference to Joe Kess's article on the subject:

Kess, J. F.  Tagalog respect particles:  Origins, uses, and
sociolinguistic parallels. Pacific Linguistics,
Series C-76, 1982, 3, 1-25.

Regards to all.  Paz

Paz Buenaventura Naylor, Ph.D.
Emeritus Assoc. Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures
              Program Associate, Linguistics
              Faculty Associate, Ctr. for SEAsian Studies
(formerly) Assistant Professor, Linguistics
                Lecturer, Teaching Fellow, Romance Languages
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI 48109 USA

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