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Thread: ты и вы

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    ты и вы

    I'm reading now a book on Russian Revolution, where speaking of discomfort inside the Russian Army before Revolution says that soldiers, mostly countrymen, were very displeased because of officers addresing to them with "ты", a treatement used to addrees to animals and children, instead of more formal "вы" since, being the officials from noble families and the soldiers from previous serf families, remembered a recently passed and heated state of things.
    Putting apart that Pushkin was very happy for being treated as ты instead of as вы from his beloved , what is now the state of things in Russia? Is general the use of вы and ты is strictly limited to address to young people, friends and family? For example, should be correct to address to everybody in this forum with "ты"?

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    Re: ты и вы

    Quote Originally Posted by radomir
    I'm reading now a book on Russian Revolution, where speaking of discomfort inside the Russian Army before Revolution says that soldiers, mostly countrymen, were very displeased because of officers addresing to them with "ты", a treatement used to addrees to animals and children, instead of more formal "вы" since, being the officials from noble families and the soldiers from previous serf families, remembered a recently passed and heated state of things.
    What book are you reading, I wonder. In the course of the most recent history there was much cr@p written about the Revolution. I think that the form of address was probably the last thing the starving, freezing and flea bitten soldiers were displeased with.

    Putting apart that Pushkin was very happy for being treated as ты instead of as вы from his beloved , what is now the state of things in Russia? Is general the use of вы and ты is strictly limited to address to young people, friends and family? For example, should be correct to address to everybody in this forum with "ты"?
    Ты is a form of adress to a familiar person whom you know and who had consented to such familiarity between you two.
    Present norms of etiquette dictate that one needs to say 'Вы' to an unfamiliar person, a seemingly older person or a person of a higher rank (or position).
    There is a concept (or even a social ritual) перейти на "Ты" when two persons agree after they had gotten to know each other to address to each other as 'Ты'. An older person can offer such a ritual to a younger one (the opposite can be considered impolite), i.e.:

    - Давай на "ты"?
    - Давай.


    It's customary to use the 'ты' form of address among the classmates, friends, family members, when addressing to children and in the Internet. Using Вы on some forum or chatroom is generally used to alienate from the one you adress to, or to mock him or her. There are exceptions, but ты is a default Internet form of address.

    P.S. In the old times, peasants and serft were adressed Ты with little or no exceptions at all so I doubt it was all that frustrating for the soldiers. Most of them were former peasants after all.

    Peter the Great, I think, was the one who introduced drinking for brotherhood (выпить на брудершафт - from the German Brüderschaft) - a ritual to cement the friendship. Two men were supposed to drink wine (or whatever), with their arms intertwined like this:


    After this they were supposed to kiss three times (yes, it was customary even among the men without any homosexual preferences) and after that they could use 'Ты' to adress each other.

    This custom (usually without kissing though) persists even now, but usually people participate in it just for fun. Also the phrase 'Я с вами на брудершафт не пил' (I haven't drank with you for the brotherhood) means that the person saying it doesn't agree to be addressed as 'Ты' (note, the 'Вы' form is used in the phrase).
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    Re: ты и вы

    As for the book it is "A People's Tragedy. The Russian Revolution 1891-1924" from Orlando Figes, an specialist of Cambridge University on Russian Revolution, where also mentions what you say as well as that soldiers should work in the country as peasants when they were in the Army to permit their units to feed them . Yes, I have heard "to pass to ты".

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    Re: ты и вы

    Quote Originally Posted by radomir
    As for the book it is "A People's Tragedy. The Russian Revolution 1891-1924" from Orlando Figes, an specialist of Cambridge University on Russian Revolution, where also mentions what you say as well as that soldiers should work in the country as peasants when they were in the Army to permit their units to feed them . Yes, I have heard "to pass to ты".
    I merely wanted to say that this 'impolite' form of address wasn't the main factor of the soldiers' discontent.
    The form 'Ты' is used to the present day in the army when a commander addresses his subordinates (I mean when an officer adresses a private or a sergeant).
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    Re: ты и вы

    On what I have read abt soldiers working in the country to feed themselves, I see in other book that it must refer to "the institution of "military colonies" allowing the soldiers to live with their families and spending part of their time on their customary agriculture. Created by Alexander I. I finish copying: "the system, however, only ended up by enslaving the local population in the colonies, for the peasants' sons had to become soldiers and their daughters soldiers' wives". Finally everything ends badly.

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    Re: ты и вы

    It's normal to use 'вы' to the person you don't know (it's a rule for evryone except children). People at similar age during communication begin using 'ты', but if we are talking about an old man and young man, the old one can afford 'ты', but the young man - doesn't, even if they have known each other for ages...
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  7. #7
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    Re: ты и вы

    Quote Originally Posted by Pollymundo
    It's normal to use 'вы' to [s:3kowto3m]the[/s:3kowto3m] a person you don't know (it's a rule for everyone except children). People [s:3kowto3m]at[/s:3kowto3m] of similar age during communication begin using 'ты', but if we are talking about an old man and young man, the old one can afford (say) 'ты', but the young man - [s:3kowto3m]doesn't[/s:3kowto3m] can't, even if they have known each other for ages...
    Isn't English wonderful!!!
    Your meaning is completely clear and these are not serious errors. But I thought you might want correction like most people do.

    Well it sounds like the situation is more or less the same as in France and Germany.

    In my country (Sweden) the polite form is used less than in those countries; basically it has been phased out over the last 30 years.

    Russsian teaching material for beginners focus on вы though, at the moment that seems easier to me.

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    Re: ты и вы

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    The form 'ты' is used to the present day in the army when a commander addresses his subordinates (I mean when an officer adresses a private or a sergeant).
    This is really not quite like that.
    According to the Russian Military Service Regulations, it is required to addresss subordinates, using "вы". Most probably, this began just after the Revolution.
    However, in practice military officers often use "ты" and "боец", the last is a specific form of addressing to the military personnel including privates and sergeants.

    Radomir,
    As for the military colonies, I hope you know that they were ended up in 1861 or so, when the serfdom was abolished. In fact, these colonies also enslaved people, rather to Military Ministry, then to a certain "помещик".
    So when Ramil said soldiers came from peasants, he meant not this out-of-date structure, but the fact that around 95% of the country's population were peasants in those days.

    Perhaps, you already know that, but one might come to a bit different conclusions about Russian soldiers and peasants, when simply following this topic, as at its' present state.

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    Re: ты и вы

    Johanna,
    thank you for correction.
    You wrote Well it sounds like the situation is more or less the same as in France and Germany.

    I would like to add about Spain. The situation is different there, the Spanish prefer to use "tu" in all cases. The form 'usted'=вы is used only between a chief and subbordiners and in official documents. And I like this tradition! Y don't need to think about using appropriate verb form, you just remember the one for 'tu'. And people become closer!

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Quote Originally Posted by Pollymundo
    It's normal to use 'вы' to [s:1dsin6vf]the[/s:1dsin6vf] a person you don't know (it's a rule for everyone except children). People [s:1dsin6vf]at[/s:1dsin6vf] of similar age during communication begin using 'ты', but if we are talking about an old man and young man, the old one can afford (say) 'ты', but the young man - [s:1dsin6vf]doesn't[/s:1dsin6vf] can't, even if they have known each other for ages...
    Isn't English wonderful!!!
    Your meaning is completely clear and these are not serious errors. But I thought you might want correction like most people do.

    Well it sounds like the situation is more or less the same as in France and Germany.

    In my country (Sweden) the polite form is used less than in those countries; basically it has been phased out over the last 30 years.

    Russsian teaching material for beginners focus on вы though, at the moment that seems easier to me.
    You can have, do, or be anything you want...

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