The politeness systems of address, variations across Breton dialects
Melanie Jouitteau
February 2021

This paper provides a synthesis of the various address systems in Breton dialects, and their evolution during the last century. I discuss the available data and the methodology of my synthesis of it, and I add the elicitation results of my recent fieldwork. I describe three distinct address systems: hierarchical T-V (plurals are directed to superiors as a V form), gendered T-V (plurals are directed to women and girls as a V form) and non-dual (the singular marker is missing in all paradigms, the plural form is the only address pronoun and does not realize a formal marker, †V). I map these systems to their respective territories of usage. I analyse the diachronic evolution and the cross-influences of these three systems over the last century. Most of the speakers in a central and south area are restricted to a unique address pronoun, like Modern English you. This system gains ground towards the coasts, where a distinctive T address among male close friends or relatives gives rise to a T-V gendered system like in Welsh (Watkins 1977). In the remaining North and South-East areas, a hierarchical T-V system organized around age and social status resists much more to the extension of the central area. I present evidence for independent subsystems inside both T-V systems: addresses to animals, to clergymen and God. Occasional inversion of an expected marker serves emotionally charged interactions (aggressive T, hypocoristic V).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005662
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Lublin
keywords: dialectology, politeness systems, systems of address, breton, celtic, t-v systems, syntax
previous versions: v1 [January 2020]
Downloaded:340 times


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