Is the address made rude?

Is the vouviage rendered rude ?

To challenge the clerk visibly younger than you, do you see him or be familiar with him? When you meet in-laws for the first time, do you see them out of politeness or do you talk to them out of proximity? Not obvious, the question of familiarity or address. So how about a little guide to disentangling the “you” from the “you”? Second person tour.

The address is associated with politeness, decorum and distance. The familiarity, on the other hand, expresses a feeling of familiarity, a desire to forge links. You understood? Great. The article ends here. Thank you for your attention.

This is a joke. But that would be so simple, wouldn't it? Well, the different social contexts we are exposed to don't necessarily play by the same rules. Even if it allows you to create a feeling of intimacy between two people and is highly valued almost everywhere in 2021, familiarity can sometimes be badly received in others, “like an invasion in personal space”, warns Julie Auger, sociolinguist and professor in the Department of Linguistics and Translation at the University of Montreal.

According to Ms. Auger, familiarity can sometimes be seen as a failure to recognize a person's status or functions. Due to the increased presence of familiarity in the labor market, formal address is no longer the only act of respect. “It's changing [at the moment]”, she emphasizes.

A question of history

Since when does the formal take the place of the formal, then? It was in the 1960s – a revolutionary period both in Quebec and around the world – that the people of Quebec decided to thumb their noses at “you”. Associated with the Church and with a conservative Quebec, the address is no longer popular and the families decide to befriend each other. “Even [believers and practitioners of] the Catholic religion have started talking to God!” Explains Julie Auger.

The familiarity has become so democratized over the years that some people are offended to be vouvoyed. Yes, the “you” sends a message of politeness, but above all a desire for distance. We use the second person plural for “someone who you [don't] want to be associated with, [who] you will never be close,” notes the professor. And that can be misinterpreted by some people … Especially when it comes to age.

A Little Hope

If you've been the victim of a PVP. (Courtesy of Courtesy) or a V.P.V.S.P.V. (Seeing Because You Look Older or Old) you just need to mention what you prefer between “you” and “you” because you are probably in a position of power. It all depends on the relationship you want to create with the other.

What can be shocking about an unwanted expression is the realization that you are none other than an adult. “[It's the little] oops, you're not a teenager anymore” that often elicits this frustration, according to Ms. Auger.

For Joannie Fredette, content director at the creative agency lg2, the address “brings about a power relationship that bothers [her],” she says. As the manager of a team of creators, familiarity is privileged in his management style in order to continue on a progressive path. “If someone wants to get a voucher, we respect that,” she admits. We highly value inclusion and innovation, [therefore] we want to create that climate [where] everyone feels an actor of change. ”

So, it's“ you ”or is that “you”?

Obviously, there are no written rules on the question of the second person singular or plural. That being said, some situations can be confusing. A little politeness guide for using familiarity or courtesy with …

The in-laws

For Angélique, 21 and a communications student at the University of Quebec at Montreal, “it starts with you, and slowly [it migrates] towards familiarity. On [his] side, it happened naturally ”. For Julie Auger, it is up to the in-laws to establish the pronoun she prefers. It can be at the first contact or later, when the family feels a strong bond of closeness.

The clerks “When the person is clearly my age, I talk to them”, says Angélique. However, in the reverse situation, it sees all clients, regardless of their age. Julie Auger explains that the age difference in a professional relationship can have an impact on the choice of pronoun used. The sociolinguist indicates that, for her part, if she is about thirty years older than the other person, she uses the address to show a certain respect for this one.

The faculty

For Angélique, the familiarity took a long time to settle during her first year of distance university: “Now, the teachers want to be familiar with [face-to-face], but from a distance, I just spoke to them. »

From the point of view of the sociolinguist Julie Auger, there are still no clear studies which show that the feeling of proximity develops late at a distance. On the other hand, establishing clear guidelines from the start can be a good practice. quickly the familiarity. “We are all part of the same team!” She emphasizes. For Joannie Fredette, the way you work leads to a certain form of hierarchy, which makes it difficult to establish an equal relationship. Even as a manager, she prefers familiarity to signify a certain transparency. “I mean: often I answer [to my calls] in jogging, there won't be any formalities there!”

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