remoteness versus proximity

M56   Thu May 17, 2007 3:36 pm GMT
This is from the book "From Sign to Text: A Semiotic View of Communication By Yishai Tobin". Talking about Hebrew:

"the extra-linguistic contexts between the encoder and decoder (e.g. the social and professional distance between them) may also influence the choice of tense used in these utterances: the more distant the relationship, the more likely a remote form will be used to convey these specific kinds of messages; while the closer the relationship, the more likely a proximate form will be deemed acceptable or appropriate."

I think the same goes for English usage. What do you think?
Liz   Fri May 18, 2007 9:06 am GMT
Of course. That's sort of obvious. It's the same in all languages I'm acquinted with.

However, there is a tendency towards using more informal utterances in formal situations as well. I was schocked at first when I heard almost everyone in Germany saying "Tschüss" to total strangers, even to older people everywhere.
M56   Fri May 18, 2007 11:45 am GMT
Well I wasn't suggesting we be presciptivist about this. Much formal informal use is based on how the speaker perceives the situation at the moment of speaking. So, some will see the need for formality in certain situations and others will not.