amhoanna wrote:I should add I don't just mean the Hokkien words lán, lí and goá... I'm talking about the three concepts, throughout SE Asia.
Yes, I also meant the concepts, I just felt that the terms "inclusive first person plural personal pronoun", "second person singular personal pronoun" and "first person singular personal pronoun" are somewhat bulky, so I substituted them with shorter lán, lír, goá
amhoanna wrote:To start with a Hoklo example: if U call someone and they don't know who U are, they might ask, "Lán hia tó'ūi?"
Also the word "lílán", meaning "lán", or Mandarin "你我". ("時間已経造成汝咱个阻礙...")
This is interesting. I always had the impression that East Asian cultures tended to stress social hierarchies and therefore to emphasize the social distance between "you" and "me/us" (the custom to call people by their titles or Korean and Japanese complex honorific systems may serve as examples how this reflects on the language). The differenciation of inclusive and exclusive personal pronouns also fits this picture because by this way, it is possible to make a sharper destinction between in-group guán and out-group lír/lín. The blending of lán with goá or lír on the other hand would blur the lines between "you" and "me", which I think is interesting in your first example in particular, because in every language I know, you would usually use the highest degree of honorifics (i.e. social distinction) towards people you don't know.*
amhoanna wrote:The Malay word KITA means "lán" in Std Malay (/Indonesian), but means YOU (sg) in many other dialects and sister languages, esp. in the east (Maluku, Sulawesi, etc.). If I went to Manado, for example, I would look up the pronouns in Manado Malay before going, at the same time as checking the exchange rates.
I must admit, I have next to no knowledge of Austronesian languages so far. Does that mean some of those languages do not distinguish between the concepts represented by lír and lán in Hokkien? If not, do you have theories about how the same word might have come to represent those otherwise clearly distinguished concepts? Were they maybe the same in "proto-Malay"?
amhoanna wrote:The Viet word TA* means "lán" generally, but it can also be used in the singular (I).
So could this be roughly compared to the use of gún for "I" in certain Hokkien variants then (apart from the fact that gún is exclusive while TA* is inclusive of course)?
amhoanna wrote:This may be "a saltwater thang".
I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with this expression...
*EDIT: I just remembered that in Mandarin I would probably not use 您 towards a total stranger... Still, the overall tendency remains: European languages would use honorific pronouns if available (German "Sie", French "vous", Russian "Вы"...), Korean and Japanese would use honorific verb forms, Tibetan would use honorific vocabulary... Even in Mandarin, although one would probably still stick to 你, one would tend to be more humble than towards people whose social relation towards oneself is already established and tend to the use of forms of address like 先生、小姐(as long as it doesn't denote prostitutes in the area in question)、師傅、老師 and so on.