Edited by Paul Bouissac
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 304] 2019
► pp. 289–317
Chapter 12. Pronouns in affinal avoidance registers
Evidence from the Aslian languages (Austroasiatic, Malay Peninsula)
Affinal avoidance registers are strategies of restrained linguistic conduct in relation to one’s in-laws. Current theories are primarily concerned with two types of strategies: (1) taboos on uttering the proper names of affines, and (2) substitution of everyday words with dedicated parallel lexicon in the presence of affines (so-called “mother-in-law languages”). However, the role of pronouns has received limited attention. Here we explore little-known registers in the Aslian languages (Austroasiatic, Malay Peninsula), where dedicated pronoun paradigms take centre stage in communication with and about in-laws. We characterise and compare these closely related but internally diverse systems, situate them in their cultural contexts, and discuss their status in relation to current theories and typologies of avoidance and honorific registers.