--- "Mark J. Reed" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I'm working on paternosters in my two conlangs,
> and I have
> a question about the first line (wow, I've
> gotten far!).
> The older English form is "Our father, which
> art in heaven";
> the verb "art" is conjugated in the second
> person singular because "which"
> refers to "father", which is in the vocative;
> it's the person being
> addressed, and therefore considered second
> person.
> In modern English it's "Our father, who is in
> heaven".

Just goes to show! When you ask an idiot to mess
around with texts like this, you get a second
rate answer!

> The relative
> pronoun is considered third person because
> "father" - and indeed, all
> nouns - can only be third person in modern
> English.

Uh - how so? If you're addressing it (a noun
other than yourself), then it's second person.

The curious phenomenon is that the third person
verb is used generally with relative pronouns:
"it's me who does all the work around here!";
"you're the one who always drives on the wrong
side of the road."; etc. This doesn't change the
_real_ person, nor does it alter the person of
the vocative.

> Only the pronouns can
> be first or second person, though that can
> include relative pronouns when
> the antecedent is a personal pronoun: "I who am
> honored to be here";
> "You who are my friend", etc.
> So now I have a decision to make with my
> conlangs, which boils down to
> this: are vocative nouns considered to be
> second or third person?

The vocative is always first or second person (in
English). The real question is: how does your
conlang handle the vocative?

> I thought I would solicit opinions from the
> group.  Informed reports of
> actual natlang usage, anecdotes about your own
> languages, and pure
> unadulterated aesthetic opinion are all
> welcome. :)

Consider my remarks above somewheres betwixt
actual usage and esthetic opinion. [Personally, I
find the 'new' English versions of prayers highly
ugly. For context, and while in no way an Old
Catholic, have successfully resisted using the
'new' forms of these prayers, still say the kyrie
in Greek and would prefer the mass to be in

As for conlangs, on the odd occasion a Kerno
speaker might have to recite this prayer in Kerno
rather than Latin, they'd say "ke biase", who
art. Of coruse, Kerno still has a fairly discrete
verbal conjugation:

  ke biame  who am
  ke biase  who are
  ke biathe who is
  ke sumus  who are
  ke ez     who are
  ke vionte who are


beuyont alch geont la ciay la cina
mangeiont alch geont y faues la lima;
     pe' ne m' molestyont
     que faciont
doazque y facyont in rima.