Date: Wed, 17 Apr 1996 09:59:24 -0300
From: Chris Brooks chris[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]HSCC.KUNIV.EDU.KW
Subject: Re: On those Bobdolisms
Third personisms are used in Indonesian to refer not only to to
oneself but one's conversational partner. If I am talking to Budhi,
an exchange like the following is possible:
Chris: "Chris mau pulang dulu, ya. Kalau Budhi mau ke mana?"
Chris wants to go home now. Where is Budhi going?
Budhi: "Oh ya, Budhi harus ke kantor segera. Panggil saja
Budhi besok, baik?"
Yeah, Budhi has to go to the office soon. Call Budhi
My feeling here is that--in contrast to the self-promotional or
dispassionate historical attitude toward oneself--the use of the
proper name in place of the pronoun in Indonesian is a humbling
device, at least as far as the speaker goes. Rather than saying
"I" "I" "I", which sounds egocentric, the speaker uses his or her
This doesn't happen all the time, and Indonesian is rich in alternative
pronouns to choose from, but it does happen. Are there other languages
which have this feature?
Chris Brooks / Kuwait