Arguing against a broad typological and comparative background, the
author provides evidence suggesting that in German there exists a
grammatical category 'respect' as an expression of grammaticalized
politeness. To bear this out, the study traces the diachrony of
polite German forms of address from the earliest stages up to the
present and the associated tensions between pragmatics and grammar.
Analyses of the morphology and syntax of pronouns and verbs in
present-day standard German and in Bavarian dialect point up the
differences between Sie (2nd person honorific) and sie (3rd person
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