Date: Wed, 17 Apr 1996 09:59:24 -0300


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

proper name.

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