Use this domain for words that the speaker uses to show respect or a lack of respect to the person he is addressing. Some languages have elaborate systems of honorifics. Other languages have none. Languages with a stratified social structure often use honorifics. Egalitarian societies generally lack them, but some egalitarian societies may use them. For instance in Nahuatl there are four levels of honorifics. Level 1 is how one addresses intimates, small children, and pets. Level 2 is for strangers and persons treated formally. Level 3 is for respected persons, the dead, and God. Level 4 is for obsequious respect, as for the archbishop in an interview with a priest, and for ritual kin. (Jane H. Hill and Kenneth C. Hill. 1978. Honorific usage in modern Nahuatl: the expression of social distance and respect in the Nahuatl of the Malinche Volcano area, Language 54:123-155.) In Japanese, which has a stratified social structure, a person uses one set of words and affixes when speaking to someone below you in the social hierarchy, such as your wife, children, and pets. A different set of words is used when speaking to peers. Another set is used when speaking to a superior. A fourth set is used when speaking to the emperor. English used to have two pronouns for second person singular. 'Thou' was used for equals and inferiors, and 'you' was used for superiors. Your language may have special honorific words used as (1) pronouns, (2) affixes, (3) particles, (4) terms of direct address, (5) greetings (6) requests, (7) apologies.

  • What pronouns are used to show respect or a lack of respect?
    thou (archaic), you (archaic),
  • What affixes are used to show respect?
    (none in English)
  • What particles are used to show respect?
  • What terms of direct address are used to show respect?
    sir, ma'am, your honor, your majesty,
  • What words are used in greetings to show respect?
    hey, hi, hello, pleased to meet you,
  • What words are used in requests to show respect?
    may, can,
  • What words are used in apologies to show respect?
    sorry, excuse me, I beg your pardon,