OT: Opinions wanted: person of vocatives
|From:||Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, July 1, 2003, 1:50|
I'm working on paternosters in my two conlangs, and I have
a question about the first line (wow, I've gotten far!).
The older English form is "Our father, which art in heaven";
the verb "art" is conjugated in the second person singular because "which"
refers to "father", which is in the vocative; it's the person being
addressed, and therefore considered second person.
In modern English it's "Our father, who is in heaven". The relative
pronoun is considered third person because "father" - and indeed, all
nouns - can only be third person in modern English. Only the pronouns can
be first or second person, though that can include relative pronouns when
the antecedent is a personal pronoun: "I who am honored to be here";
"You who are my friend", etc.
So now I have a decision to make with my conlangs, which boils down to
this: are vocative nouns considered to be second or third person?
I thought I would solicit opinions from the group. Informed reports of
actual natlang usage, anecdotes about your own languages, and pure
unadulterated aesthetic opinion are all welcome. :)