In this comment, Samana Johann wrote,
worthy to raise a question on it and it's perfect training to use only 3-person and no calling of names, adressing just proper positions
The topic is, using "3rd person" modes of speech -- instead of personal pronouns like "I" and "you" and "we".
I think that means, in English, that instead of saying for example:
Would you like a glass of water?
... or more politely ...
May I fetch you a glass of water?
... you might ask instead ...
Would the Venerable accept a glass of water?
Similarly perhaps the venerable might refer to himself in the third person -- so perhaps, for example, "This person will...", instead of, "I will...".
And perhaps you're expected to refer to yourself by your own "title" too ...
Would the venerable allow "this person" (instead of "allow me") to fetch a glass of water?
... or instead of "this person", perhaps "this novice" or "this householder" or whatever your "proper position" is, instead of "I"?
What can you tell me about this topic? What are the social conventions -- how does that vary, from person to person, from one society to another, from one context to another (e.g. online or in person), from one language to another (e.g. English or otherwise)?
The little I've gathered online is that it's polite -- and proper, i.e. good training -- to use a phrase like "Bhante" instead of a person's name, when addressing them directly (i.e. in the second person) ...
- Would you like a glass of water, Bhante?
- Bhante, would you like a glass of water?
- Would Bhante like a glass of water?
The last (the third) of these sounds very (excessively) formal to my ear -- and archaic, it disappeared from the English language when "people" stopped having personal servants, who might have said, "Would Sir like a cup of tea?" -- or addressing your parents by their title, "Would Mother like a cup of tea?"
Because it's so old-fashioned (I never hear it) it sounds unnatural to me -- formal but an "affectation" -- and therefore, to be avoided! Unless it is conventional, still?
I guess I most specifically want to know how to address people (Venerables) online, especially on this site, and in English -- though understanding how to talk in person could be useful too -- and especially about when using English (or other European languages, or North American).
I don't think I've seen a site online, where people avoid the 2nd person altogether.
Is it something which varies from one monk to another? If there are three options ...
- Informal -- "Would you like...?"
- Deferential -- "Bhante, would you accept...?"
- Ultra-formal -- "Would Bhante accept...?
... will some monks prefer one and some another? Should I vary what I say (or how I say it) depending on the feedback I get from the specific person? Is there any safe default, which can always be considered not-impolite?