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What is a bystander honorific?



A bystander honorific is an honorific in which the social status of some other person present is expressed through choices made among linguistic alternants. These choices

  • are made based upon the person’s relationship to the speaker, but
  • do not depend on whether

    • the alternants refer to the person, or
    • the person is the addressee.
Example (Dyirbal, Australia)
  • Dyirbal has a "mother-in-law language" which is a set of lexical items substituted in the presence of

    • opposite-sex parents-in-law
    • opposite-sex children-in-law, and
    • opposite-sex cross-cousins.

    Dixon 1972 32

  • Generic
      A bystander honorific is a kind of

    Levinson 1983 90–91


    Comrie 1976b


    Dixon 1972 32

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    Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

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