Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Bystander Honorific

Definition: 

A bystander honorific is an honorific in which the social status of some other person present is expressed through choices made among linguistic alternants. These choices:

  • are made based upon the person’s relationship to the speaker
  • do not depend on whether

    • the alternants refer to the person
    • the person is the addressee
    Examples: 

    (Dyirbal, Australia)

    Dyirbal has a "mother-in-law language" which is a set of lexical items substituted in the presence of:

    • opposite-sex parents-in-law
    • opposite-sex children-in-law
    • opposite-sex cross-cousins
    See Also: