18 Politeness distinctions in second-person pronouns

This feature is described more fully in chapter 18.


This feature (based on WALS feature 45, by Johannes Helmbrecht) is concerned with second-person pronouns, which in some languages make a politeness distinction. A binary politeness distinction is a contrast such as tu/vous in French or tú/Usted in Spanish. Some languages even distinguish more than two degrees of politeness, by having distinct forms for intimate address, for neutral address, and for polite address. Finally, some languages use titles (as well as similar expressions such as kinship terms or names) as second-person forms. Although this option is in principle compatible with the other three values, it is distinguished as a fourth value here.


Martin Haspelmath and the APiCS Consortium


No pronominal politeness distinction46
Binary pronominal politeness distinction17
Multiple pronominal politeness distinction3
Titles used as second person forms8

Language Value Lexifier Details Source
Id Primary text Analyzed text Gloss Translation Type Language Audio Details