Erland MEYER


Department of Ambulatory Training Aids, Munich


Social Implications of Deliberate Irregular Usage of Vietnamese Kinship Titles to Extra-Kinship Persons


Vietnamese speakers use kinship titles to address extra-kinship persons according to age differences. However, in many instances speakers choose titles that do not fit the true age difference between speaker and addressee. The presentation focuses on social implications of such mismatches and enquires into possible motivations and intentions of the respective speakers, who, in creating these situations, modify the character of social relationships. Examples of effects on social positions of such irregular usage include: enlarging social distance between conversational partners, and/or creating a counter-factual subordination of an older person to a younger person, in which higher social status is attributed to the younger one.