Pronouns in affinal avoidance registers: Evidence from the Aslian languages (Austroasiatic, Malay Peninsula)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


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.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • Pronouns, Affinal avoidance, Aslian languages, Austroasiatic, Honorific and respect registers, "Mother-in-law language", Dual
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe social dynamics of pronominal systems
Subtitle of host publicationA comparative approach
EditorsPaul Bouissac
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISBN (Electronic)9789027262547
ISBN (Print)9789027203168
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NamePragmatics and Beyond New Series
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISSN (Print)0922-842X

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