Bertinetto bert.NET at CAEN.IT
Tue Oct 13 17:46:38 UTC 1998

Hallo everybody.
On the topic suggested by David Gil, one might add the following facts from
a most exotic language: Italian.
	Italian has three politeness pronouns:
- lei (which actually coincides with the 3rd sg form; very much used)
- voi (coinciding with the 2nd pl form; now much less less used than at the
beginning of the century, but still used, specially in the South)
- loro (coinciding with the 3rd pl form; very formal).
	"Loro" is only used (by those who still use it) with plural
referents, and requires plural agreement:
- E' da molto che loro sono arrivati/e?
  'have you (more than one person) been here for a long time?'
  The agreement is in both number and gender: "i" masc./ "e" fem.
	"Lei" presupposes a singular referent, and if this is a male,
agreement is most of the times limited to number, excluding gender:
- E' da molto che lei e' arrivato?
  'have you (a single person) been here for a long time?'
  "E' da molto che lei e' arrivata?" with feminine agreement is not
  ungrammatical, but rarely used; however, feminine agreement is mandatory if
  the referent is a woman
	The interesting fact is that when "voi" is used as a polite form
referring to a single person, it may ONLY agree in gender, not number.
- E' da molto che (voi) siete arrivato/a?
  'have you (a single person, masc./fem.) been here for a long time?'
  Obviously, if the referents are more than one, there is also number
  agreement: "E' da molto che (voi) siete arrivati/e?"
  'have you (more than one person, masc./fem.) been here for a long time?'


    Pier Marco  Bertinetto       ____
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