June 13, 2024

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In sociolinguistics, a T–V distinction (from the Latin pronouns tu and vos) is a contrast, within one language, between second-person pronouns that are specialized for varying levels of politeness, social distance, courtesy, familiarity, age or insult toward the addressee. Languages such as modern English that, outside of certain dialects, have no syntactic T–V distinction may have semantic analogues to convey the mentioned attitudes towards the addressee, such as whether to address someone by given or surname, or whether to use “sir” or “ma’am” in American English. Under a broader classification, T and V forms are examples of honorifics.

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