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Re: OT: Imperatives (Was: Re: OT: German Imperatives)

From:Alex Fink <a4pq1injbok_0@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 16, 2007, 21:48
On Wed, 16 May 2007 02:50:54 +0100, Jeff Rollin <jeff.rollin@...> wrote:
>In the last episode, on Tue, 15 May 2007 17:49:39 -0700, "David J. >Peterson" <dedalvs@...> wrote: >> Jeff wrote: >> << >> Depends on your perspective, really. In (Peninsular) Spanish, with >> formal forms of address (using the polite "2nd person" pronouns >> "Usted" (sg) and "Ustedes" (pl), you use 3rd person agreement on the >> verb (since the forms originate in the formula "Vuestra Merced" "Your >> Grace" and, accordingly, refer obliquely to a second person using a >> 3rd person term). >> >> I always thought it came from Arabic "ustaadh" [?us.'taaD], a >> way to address someone with respect. It always seemed like >> far too much of a coincidence that two words pronounced >> almost identically and with almost the exact same usage should >> be totally unrelated. Apparently history says it's so, though. > >Well, my explanation is the only one I've heard right now, but that one >(yours) actually seems more plausible to me.
I recall reading somewhere that the Romance-internal etymology of _Usted_ was indubitably the correct one, since the timing was off for it to be an Arabic loan. I tried finding the source again, though, and Google is much less certain than I expected. Anyway, why the insistence on deriving it from one xor the other? I think the most likely scenario is that _vuestra merced_ and various contractions of it were a Romance-internal development, but pressure from Arabic helped select _Usted_ as the contraction that eventually won out. Alex