https://www.duolingo.com/NoraGJ

Ni and Du

NoraGJ
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When is it proper to use ni? When is it proper to use du?

3 years ago

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/pineconeperson

Du is singular, ni is to address multiple people. Make sense?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti
Arnauti
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See native speakers argue about it in this thread: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5591933

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/devalanteriel
devalanteriel
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Nice thread! For a tl;dr version: a lot of people from younger generations use ni as a polite form, for instance in the service industry. Don't ever say ni to an old person, because it may offend them. The change to du started in the 1960s but the older system used honorifics, and not the word ni as is commonly believed. And a lot of people feel very strongly about how they prefer to talk, and will get very upset when discussing ni or du.

The end.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti
Arnauti
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Thanks devalanteriel!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anders91
Anders91
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I do not agree.

Ni as a form of politeness was definitely a thing in the working class and was used alongside han/hon and honorifics.

I know that my family from more rural parts of Sweden did not use honorifics as it was seen as a more upper-class thing to do. They did however use ni to older people.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti
Arnauti
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I think this article is pretty accurate: http://www.sydsvenskan.se/inpa-livet/inget-genomslag-for-niandet---forran-nu/ – there are actually like 3 periods in the history of ni.

The oldest people I've been in direct or indirect contact with, who lived in the countryside, preferred I as a polite pronoun, and felt that Ni sounded cold.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joel__W
Joel__W
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Very interesting article! When my mom grew up, in 1950s and 1960s West Sweden, it was apparently polite to call people ni in a middle class context. Seems like there are very different views on when and how people actually used I, ni, titles and circumlotions and what they thought about them. Something for a thesis maybe?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti
Arnauti
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I think pretty much everyone used it as a polite pronoun at that time, except in very rural areas – alongside with 3rd-person forms and titles. This is such a popular subject that there's probably quite a lot of literature about it, I googled and found this interesting study from 1975 online http://www.zetterberg.org/Indikator/i7504.htm and a downloadable masters thesis in pdf about how doctors speak to their patients in Swedish in Finland and Sweden that I can't link to but it's called Int’ är ni väl du med doktorn? by Anneli Henriksson

I guess there's a lot more out there, but research never ends… now that there's a lot of digitized literature, maybe a big corpus study on the use in novels?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NoraGJ
NoraGJ
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Thanks everyone!

3 years ago
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