On Fri, 7 May 2010 13:10:13 +0200, Njenfalgar <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I am planning to introduce honorific language into Treoygeum, which at this
>point in its history does not have such things. Now I was wondering what the
>typical ways are for languages to develop this. Wikipedia is a great help to
>understanding *what* honorifics and the like are, but I have not yet found
>anything explaining *how* these languages acquired this. Now I can easily
>imagine several ways, but I'd like to have some guidance from natlangs. Can
>anybody help there?

You might try to find a grammar of (modern) Javanese, preferably as old as
you can find (i.e. late 19th-20th C; I don't mean Old Javanese which is an
entirely different creature).  They exist in English and Dutch, and will
surely get into the two levels of language (there are actually more)-- ngoko
(informal) and kromo (high); maybe see what Wikipedia has. Ngoko and kromo
are basically two different sets of vocabulary.

I only know about this by reputation; never studied it. Of course with
"honorifics" come the converse, "humilifics" (??). We can see this in
various words for "I"-- aku (ngoko, used with intimates; I don't know the
kromo word used to superiors, but there certainly is one); among those I've
heard of are _padamu_ 'your foot' (the foot being the lowest of the low in
that culture), sahaya (Sanskrit) 'slave' (NB standard Malay/Indonesian
_saya_). A superior might use _hulun_ 'head'.

The story is that when Bahasa Indonesia was made official, young Javanese
breathed a huge sigh of relief, and began using it gladly with their parents
and superiors, since it eliminated the need to remember all those honorific
words. I'm not even sure if the ngoko/kromo distinction is still alive and
well in present day usage.