----- "Andrew Quïnn" <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 

> Well, I know that religion and social practices often plays [or played] a 
> key role in the creation of honorifics. For example, Spain used to be a 
> ruthlessly Catholic country, and its period under Islam held many Christian 
> influences as well. It said in the Bible to honor thy mother and father; and 
> so, (thus goes my theory), parents began to make their kin refer to them 
> using the "formal" or "honorific" 3rd person/2nd person form of verbs (as in 
> habl*a* as opposed to habl*as*, or crey*eron *instead of cre*istes*). 

My understanding was that it was a contraction of "Vuestra Merced", "Your Grace", which is why you can abbreviate Usted as "Ud" or Vd". Since "Your Grace" would invoke a third person verb, no big surprise. As to whether addressing your parents this way is a Spanish Catholic/Christian thing, I don't know, but my impression was that a certain class (I'm guessing, posh) in France at a certain time vouvoyer-ed their parents (respect/deference). 

> Is there some sort of cultural belief system in Troygeum? If so, that could 
> easily explain the creation of honorifics. 

> On Fri, May 7, 2010 at 7:10 AM, Njenfalgar <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 

> > Hello all, 

> > 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? 

I can't give you the "how", but look at Japanese (which you probably already have). Women tend to use them more than men. I thought maybe it was a Shinto thing: "o-satoo" (sugar) is in but "*o-empitsu" (pencil) is not. But I don't think so. What merits an "o-" and what doesn't is mercurial to me, and when I tippy-toed around it with native speakers, I got bupkis other than traditional usage. The verb system is a little more translucent, but no "how" (perhaps hierarchy?). Good luck.