Hello all,

All excellent responses so far, although not yet what I was searching for.
Maybe let me elaborate on my question.

What I'd like to do is start from a language like English, move it a couple
of centuries into the future and end up with something like Japanese. So
what I need to know is: what English word should grammaticalize to give such
things like -masu, o-, go-, and how do you get four words for even the most
simple things (like iu/ossharu/mōsu/mōshiageru all meaning "say" in
different levels of politeness) where English nowadays only has one?

I have some ideas of how to get different words for the same concept. One
could start by borrowing (which is something already found in English) and
having the borrowed words carry some emotional load. Or one could invent
euphemisms and dysphemisms. If there are other ways, please tell!

But how to get verb endings for politeness is completely beyond me. I know
Korean has a very elaborate system for this, and if anybody could tell what
the etymological origin is of all these endings, I'd be very interested. The
way of Indo-European languages in that district seems to never give *more*
verb forms, as the polite levels are at best just some other person/number
than semantically intended.


Raash te feegatpin: nuukazet nhamaru'eng, shayip büngnetuk seepiit.