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Tikrit University Journal for Humanities
Vol. ( 14 )

No. ( 3 )

April ( 2007 )

Honorific Expressions in Arabic and English with
Reference to other Languages
Hashim Sa'doon Saleem Al-Ni'aymi
University of Tikreet
College of Education
Dept. of English
Abstract
Honorifics have currently occupied an important position within the domain of socio-pragmatic studies of language and within the theories of communication.
The basic aim of this paper is concerned with identifying the points of similarity and difference between honorifics in
Modern Standard Arabic and English with regard to structure. It also aims at giving a brief account of the term honorifics and how are honorific expressions realized in both languages. It is hypothesized that the structure of honorifics in Modern Standard
Arabic is different from that in English.

1.

The Concept of Honorifics:
Honorifics are derived from outputs of politeness strategies where these directly or indirectly convey a status deferential between speaker and addressee or referent, where they indirectly convey such a status deferential, as in French Tu / Vous pronouns do via the general strategy of pluralizing in order to impersonalize
(Brown and Levinson 1978: 183).

1

Honorific Expressions in Arabic and English with Reference to other Languages

Hashim Sa'doon Saleem Al-Ni'aymi

Honorifics have been defined as “politeness formulas in a particular language which may be specific affixes, words, or sentence structure” (Richard et al., 1985: 131). Languages which have a complex system of honorifics are, for instance, Japanese,
Mudurese (a language of Eastern Java), Hindi, and Arabic; English, on the other hand, has no complex system of honorifics, but there are few cases of compound honorifics; e.g. professor doctor, dear sir, etc. (ibid.: 131).
Irvine (1995: 1) points out that “linguistic honorifics are forms of speech that…...

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