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Under vocative (also Salutation case or form of address ) is generally regarded a special form of a noun , usually a noun for the that is needed, addressed to address directly a spoken utterance or call. The vocative is sometimes not viewed as a case in the grammatical sense, because it does not function as a sentence member , but as a form of calling and addressing the noun , which in some languages ​​can look like a case on the surface. Such a case-like vocative form very likely existed in original Indo-European , which has been preserved to this day in some of the follow-up languages ​​in Europe and the Indo-Iranian language area .


“The call is an indication of a second person with the purpose of a request to be made by the called party himself. Its characteristic case form is the vocative. "

In German-speaking linguistics , in European philologies and in Indo-European studies, the vocative is usually understood as a case and is located as such in the theory of forms ( morphology ); In Anglo-Saxon linguistics, on the other hand, “vocative” is often understood as a phrase and thus falls into the sub-area of syntax . These different definitions often lead to misunderstandings. This article is based on the German and Indo-European tradition, however, on the definition of the vocative as a form of calling and addressing the noun . The vocative phrase is explained below.

Vocative as a case

The vocative is in the grammars of the classical languages of the cases ( case ) counted. This is because it looks like a case, especially on the surface; Compare the declination patterns of the word for wolf in the related classical languages ​​Latin, Ancient Greek, Sanskrit and the Caucasus language Georgian, which is probably not related to these :

Latin Ancient Greek Sanskrit Georgian
Nominative lup-us lýk-os vṛk-aḥ mgel-i
Ergative mgel-ma
accusative lup-um lýk-on vṛk-an
Genitive lup-ī lýk-ou vṛk-asya mgel-is
dative lup-ō lýk-ō (i) vṛk-āya mgel-s
Instrumental vṛk-eṇa mgel-it
ablative lup-ō vṛk-āt
locative vṛk-e
Adverbial mgel-ad
vocative lup-e! lýk-e! vṛk-a! mgel-o!

Function of the vocative

The vocative looks like a case, but it has a different function than the other cases. While nominative, genitive and the other cases serve to shape the syntax , i.e. the sentence structure of a language, and to express the respective relationship between two linguistic denotations , a noun in the vocative is outside the sentence. To put it simply, a vocative is used to establish contact between the speaker and the person addressed (call) or to maintain (salutation).

Vocative formation in the Indo-European languages

The Indo-European vocative, which is usually limited to the singular , is illustrated using the example of the word for "wolf", a typical masculine o -stem:

Nominative vocative
Urindo-European * wl̥kʷ = os * wl̥kʷ = e!
Old Indian vr̥k = as vr̥k = a!
Ancient Greek lýk = os lýk = e!
Latin lup = us lup = e!
Gothic wulf-s wulf!
Old Church Slavonic vlьk = ъ vlьč = e!
Lithuanian vilk = as vilk = e!

Explanation of the notation: The so-called topic vowel is separated from the respective word stem by an equal sign (=), the actual case ending (in the nominative mostly -s) by a hyphen. Zero endings are not specified. The asterisk (*) in front of the Urindo-European words means that these are hypothetical word reconstructions that are not supported by written sources.

Two morphological phenomena can be described:

  1. Probably already in Primitive Indo-European the Wortbildungssuffix was -o in the vocative to -e- abgelautet . This vowel change also persists in the most important subsequent talks , although -o- is partially changed.
  2. The typical case suffix for the nominative was -s . The vocative itself was usually without a suffix, which already shows its exceptional position in the case system.

Development of the vocative in the Indo-European language branches

In some Indo-European branches of the language the vocative has become obsolete and its form has therefore disappeared, in others it has been preserved and is still used today. Some languages ​​have also developed new vocative forms. An overview:

Language family Vocative preserved masculine vocative retained,
feminine vocative gone
Vocative completely gone Vocative newly formed
Baltic languages: Lithuanian Latvian
Germanic languages: East Germanic (Gothic) West Germanic
(English, Dutch, Frisian)
North Germanic
(Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish)
Celtic languages Breton Gaelic, Cymrian
Italian languages: Latin
Romance languages: Portuguese, Spanish,
Catalan, Provencal,
French, Romansh,
Slavic languages: Bulgarian, Macedonian,
Bosnian / Croatian / Serbian,
Polish, Czech,
Upper Sorbian Lower Sorbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Belarusian Russian
Indo-Iranian languages: Kurdish Hindi / Urdu Persian (Dari, Farsi)
Other languages: Modern Greek Armenian Albanian


In Greek , the vocative singular is more often different from the nominative, but the vocative plural is always identical to the nominative plural.

Ancient Greek

Nominative vocative translation Remarks
Masculine o stems lýkos lýke! wolf
i tribes óphis óphi! Snake
u strains hyiýs hyiý! son Only in the Attic dialect, otherwise transformed into the o-stem: hyiós - hyié!
n-stems kýōn kýon! dog
nt strains gérōn géron! old man
nt strains patḗr páter! father
- tribes polítḗs políta! Citizen
Feminine - tribes nymph nýmpha! girl only in epic Doric , in all other dialects syncretism with the nominative: nýmphē!
Consonant stems nýx nýx! night
particularities gynḗ gýnai! woman isolated form, probably formed from the oblique trunk gýnaik- with a drop of -k

In masculine ā-declension, the end-s (-ς) of the endings -ēs (-ης) or -as (-ας) is omitted; if the ending -ēs (-ης) is preceded by t (τ) ( -tēs , -της), the ending is -tă (-τᾰ). Examples: Nom. Tamias ( ταμίας ), "administrator, treasurer"> Vok. Tamia! ( ταμία ); Nom. Bouleutēs ( βουλευτής ), "Councilor"> Vok. Bouleuta! ( βουλευτά ).
In the 3rd declension, the vocative almost always corresponds to the nominative, but shifts in accent or quantity can occur.

Modern Greek

The Modern Greek leading the vocative for feminine discontinued and also the number of masculine declension greatly reduced: in principle today on every masculine Sigma (-s) ends in modern Greek; so was the ancient Greek Nom.Sg. πατήρ patér transformed to πατέρας patéras . This sigma, in turn, is consistently absent in the modern Greek vocative forms. An overview:

Nominative vocative translation
Masculine to -os: kýrios kýrie! Mr
géros géro! old man
Masculine on -as: patéras patéra! father
Masculine on -us: pappoús pappoú! Grandpa
Masculine in -ís: politís polití!
politá! (archaic)

In the case of two-syllable male names ending in -os (e.g. Giorgos ) and polysyllabic compound names whose second component is a two-syllable name (e.g. Karakitsos from kara + Kitsos ), the vocative never ends in -e , but always in -o . In nouns ending in -tis (-της) the vocative ends in -ti (-τη). The archaic form with the ending -ta (-τα) can also be used in the higher language level as well as among older or conservative speakers (see Katharevousa ) or serve as a joking parody of this language form.


In Latin , the vocative is almost always the same as the nominative . As a case with a distinguishable form, it appears among other things with the (albeit quite frequent) masculine words of the o-declension, which end in -us in the nominative . In this case from the nominative (singular) -us the ending in the vocative -e (z. B. Brut usBrut e ! , Christ usChristian e ! ). Words ending in -ius in the nominative and certain forms of the possessive pronoun are an exception : the former end in in the vocative , the latter have their own forms (e.g. Claudia clamat: "Consule tibi, m i fil i !" - Claudia calls: “Take care of yourself, my son!”). Greek names ending in -ēs and -ās form a vocative on -ē or -ā: Orestē! (also Oresta ! , to Orestēs ), Aenēā! (to Aenēās , minor form Aenēa ), Amyntā! (to Amyntās ). Irregular vocatives are Hercle! for Hercules and Jesus! for Jesus, the latter is the Greek vocative.

The speech of Augustus to the severed head of the loser Varus is legendary : Quinctil i Var e , redde legiones! " -" Quinctilius Varus, give [me] back the legions! "

Romance languages


Romanian is the only Romance standard language that has retained the vocative for masculine on -e from Latin and also developed vocative forms on -ule ; Today it also knows a vocative for feminine in -o , which was probably borrowed from neighboring Slavia or from Albanian through language contact . However, there are also some nouns that have not developed a vocative form different from the nominative, v. a. those on -e :

Nominative vocative translation
Masculine bărbat bărbate! man
soț soțulе! husband
frate frate! Brothers
Feminine soră sorо! sister
femeie femeio! woman
soție soție! wife

Another peculiarity of Romanian is the development of vocative forms in the plural. Unlike the corresponding singular forms, these forms agree with a different case form, namely the case obliquus in the plural, which in Romanian linguistics is often called the genitive - dative . Compare:

Nominative vocative translation
Masculine bărbați bărbaților! Men
frați fraților! brothers
Feminine fete fetelor! girl
soții soțiilor! Wives

However, the use of the plural vocative is not mandatory; Use of the nominative for the salutation is also possible.

Baltic languages

Both living languages ​​of the Baltic language branch show vocative forms to this day, and the extinct Old Prussian language also knew such.


The Lithuanian language has not only received the vocative from the Indo-European original language , but also further differentiated it, and therefore shows the greatest variety of vocative forms of all European languages:

Nominative vocative translation
Masculine o stems vilkas vilke! wolf
jo trunks vėjas vėjau! wind
jo trunks brolis broli! Brothers
i tribes vagis vagie! Thief
u strains žmogus žmogau! human
n-stems šuo šunie! dog
Feminine a-stems tautà táuta! people
e-strains katė Kate! cat
i tribes žuvis žuvie! fish
r strains duktė ductry! daughter


In the Latvian language the vocative is different from the nominative for most nouns, but less common than in Lithuanian and becomes v. a. replaced by the nominative in feminine.

Nominative vocative translation
Masculine o stems vilks vilk! wolf
jo trunks vējš vēj! wind
jo trunks brālis brāli! Brothers
u strains tirgus tirgu (s)! market
n-stems suns suns! dog
Feminine - tribes tauta tauta! people
e-strains announce Kundz (e)! lady
i tribes zivs zivs! fish

Celtic languages

Vocative forms can be reconstructed for the ancient Celtic , which has not been handed down to us. In any case, the oldest documented Celtic language, Gallic , has vocative forms on -e for nouns with o-stem:

Nominative vocative translation
Ancient Celtic (~ 500 BC) * makwos * makwe! son
Gallic (~ 0 Chr.) mapos mape! son


Both in the Irish and in the Scottish variety of the Gaelic languages, the vocative has survived to this day, but has changed greatly in shape. It only occurs with masculine o-declension. In the earliest evidence of Irish ( i.e. in the Ogam inscriptions) the nominative ending of the o-declension (-os) had already disappeared, as was the vocative ending -e , but this resulted in an umlaut of the stem vowel a> i .
In addition, a vocative particle finally appears before the noun, which leads to a lenation of the initial m> mh [v]. Compare the word for son in several stages of Gaelic:

Nominative vocative
Urgaelic (~ 0 Chr.) * makkwos * makkwe!
Ogam - Irish (~ 200–700 AD) macc * micc!
Old Irish (~ 700–1200 AD) mac a mhic!
Neuirisch (until today) mac (a) mhic!

In the plural of the 1st declension, the ending -a occasionally appears in the vocative: fir (men) - a fheara! (Men!)

British languages

Welsh has vocative forms to this day. Their development was probably similar to that in Gaelic, but the particle a, which lenient the initial sound (m> f), is no longer preserved. The stem vowel was not changed with the original ending -e:

Nominative vocative
Great Britain (> 500 AD) * mapos * mape!
Old Cymrian (~ 800–1200 AD) * mab * a mhab!
New Kymrian (Welsh) (to date) mab fab!

The Breton has probably gone through the same development, but the vocative are now out of use:

Nominative vocative
Breton (today) mab mab!

Slavic languages

Use of the vocative in Slavia

The ancient Slavonic language, which has not been documented, and the Old Church Slavonic , which has been documented since the Middle Ages, have continued the Indo-European vocative and expanded it with a wealth of forms; many of these forms live on in today's Slavic languages, including Czech , Polish , Upper Sorbian , Bulgarian , Macedonian , Ukrainian , the national varieties of the Serbo-Croatian language (Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian) and the dialects of Slovak .

Vocative in standard language Vocative in the substandard (dialects) Vocative gone
  • Bulgarian
  • Macedonian
  • Upper Sorbian
  • Polish
  • Serbo-Croatian
  • Czech
  • Ukrainian
  • Slovak
  • Belarusian
  • Lower Sorbian
  • Russian
  • Slovenian

Slavic vocative forms in comparison

In contrast to Latin, the vocative in the relevant Slavic languages ​​is well preserved and almost always different from the nominative . The following is an overview of the existing forms of the Slavic languages ​​in comparison to the reconstructed (and therefore provided with an asterisk) forms of Ur-Slavic . Forms that did not evolve according to law from the Ur-Slavonic into the daughter languages, but rather arose through analogy , are marked in orange . According to law, the vowel change u> i (only in Czech) is marked in green .

  • Masculine:
o tribes ('people') o-tribes ('wolf') yo tribes ('man')
Nominative vocative Nominative vocative Nominative vocative
Ur-Slavic * narodъ * narode! * vьlkъ * vьlče! * mǫžь * mǫžu!
Czech národ národe! vlk vlku! must muži!
Polish naród narodzie! wilk wilku! mąż mężu!
Ukrainian narod narode! vovk vovče! must must!
Serbo-Croatian narod narode! vuk vuče! must mužu!
Bulgarian narod narode! vъlk vъlko! mъž mъžo!
o-tribes ('grandpa') u tribes ('son') yo tribes ('horse')
Nominative vocative Nominative vocative Nominative vocative
Ur-Slavic * dědъ * děde! * synъ * synu! * conj * Konju!
Czech děd děde! syn syne! kůň koni!
Polish dziad dziadu! syn synu! koń koniu!
Ukrainian did didu! syn synu! kin ' Konju!
Serbo-Croatian djed everyone! sin sine! conj Konju!
Bulgarian djado djado! sin sine! con Konju!
  • Femina:
a-stems ('woman') yes stems ('soul') yes stems ('earth')
Nominative vocative Nominative vocative Nominative vocative
Ur-Slavic * žena * ženo! * duša *jet! * zemja * zemje!
Czech žena ženo! jet jet! země země!
Polish żona żono! dusza duszo! ziemia ziemio!
Ukrainian žona žono! duša so you! zemlja zemle!
Serbo-Croatian žena ženo! duša so you! zemlja zemljo!
Bulgarian žena ženo! duša so you! zemja zemjo!
yes trunks ('girls') i-tribes ('night') ū tribes ('blood')
Nominative vocative Nominative vocative Nominative vocative
Ur-Slavic * děvica * děvice! * noštь * nošti! * krъvь * krъvi!
Czech čarodějnice
čarodějnice! noc noci! Krev krvi!
Polish zakonnica
zakonnico! noc nocy! krew krwio!
Ukrainian bludnycja
bludnyce! nič noče! krov krove!
Serbo-Croatian djevica djevice! noć noći! krv krvi!
Bulgarian devica device! nošt nošt! krъv krъv!


Of all the Slavic languages, Czech has retained the vocative best for most nouns, and has also grammaticalized it: the address in the vocative is the only possible one, the address in the nominative ungrammatic.


Here are some examples of the formation of the vocative (Polish wołacz ) in Polish :

Nominative vocative
Pani Ewa (Mrs. Eva) Pani Ewo! (Mrs. Eva!)
Pan profesor (Mr. Professor) Panie profesorze! (Professor! )
Krzysztof (Christoph) Krzysztofie! (Christoph!)
Krzyś ( nickname of Krzysztof ) Krzysiu!
Ewusia ( nickname of Ewa ) Ewusiu!
Marek (Markus) Marku!
Bóg (God) Boże! (O God! )

When addressing the person by name, one often simply uses the nominative. Using the vocative sounds upscale or respectful these days. Example: "Paweł, ..." ("Paul, ...") would be the normal everyday salutation, while "Pawle, ..." sounds polite or respectful.


In Russian, too, remnants of the vocative - in their isolated form as an expression of special respect - have been preserved. Example: Бог (Bog, nom.) - Боже (Bože, voc .) . Usage: Боже мой! (Bože moj!) - My God! In addition, there are regular forms in everyday language for names that end in a or я: Таня (Tanja, nom.) - Тань (Tan ', voc .), Наташа (Natascha, nom.) - Наташ (Natasch, voc. ) .


The Upper Sorbian spoken in Lusatia also has a vocative. Paradigmatically, this occurs only with masculine nouns. The most popular is the ending -o, but sometimes -je also occurs:
muž 'man' - mužo!
dźěd 'Grandpa' - dźědo!
Pětr (name) - Pětrje!

Of the feminine only one word has a vocative form different from the nominative: mać 'mother' - maći!


In Bulgarian, the vocative is usually only used when there is a certain degree of familiarity between the person you are speaking to, i.e. among friends and family. Although it is quite common to use feminine nouns such as For example, putting Mama ( мама (nom.) - мамо ( vok .)) In the vocative, putting female first names in the vocative is seen as crude and impolite or very vulgar (e.g. Daniela Даниела (nom. ) - Даниело * (Vok .; Warning - offensive!)).


In Belarusian , the vocative is mainly used in the southern and western dialects. Compare:

Masculine Feminine
Nominative дзед_ сябар_ баб-а мам-а
vocative дзед-у! сяб_р-а баб-о! мам-о!
translation Grandpa friend granny mummy

Iranian languages

Of the Iranian languages , especially those vocative forms have been preserved (or newly developed) which are only insufficiently standardized in writing , namely the Kurdish dialects and Pashtun . A certain dialectal diversity can therefore be expected.


In the Kurmandschi dialect of Kurdish , the vocative is marked with the ending -o in masculine and in feminine. Examples:

Nominative vocative translation
Masculine mêrik mêriko! man
Feminine jinik jinikê! woman

Many Arabic names adopted by Kurdish are abbreviated, so that generally Kurdish women's names (in the nominative as well as in the vocative) end in -ê and men's names end in -o.
Examples of male names: Mostafa> Misto, Mahmud> Maho, Sayyid> Sayo .
Examples of women's names :
Zaynab> Zaynê, Fatima> Fattê .


The Pashtun language also has vocative forms for masculine and feminine forms. With the masculine, however, the vocative form is identical to the object case called Obliquus II:

Nominative Obliquus I Obliquus II vocative translation
Masculine wror ورور wror ورور wrora وروره wrora! وروره Brothers
Feminine xor خور xor خور xore xore! خورې sister

Indian languages

Old Indian

The ancient Indian languages Sanskrit and Pali as well as their older level, the Vedic , know vocative forms for almost all nouns - as the only branch of Indo-European even some forms for neuter that were created by analogy :

Nominative vocative translation Comments on irregular developments
Masculine o stems vṛkaḥ vṛka! 'Wolf'
u strains śatruḥ śatro! 'Enemy' same pattern for feminine u-stems
i tribes agniḥ agne! 'Fire' same pattern for feminine i-stems
r strains Pita Pita! 'Father'
n-stems rājā rājan! 'King'
Feminine - tribes kanyā kanye! 'Girl' Analogy to the masculine i-stems
ū tribes vadhūh vadhu! 'Woman'
ī tribes strīḥ stri! 'Woman'
Neutra o stems rūpam rūpa! 'Body' Analogy to the masculine o-stems
u strains madhu madhu! 'Honey' seldom analogy to the masculine u-tribes: madho!
i tribes vāri vāri! 'Body' seldom analogy to the masculine i-stems: vāre!


The singular vocative in Hindi is equal to the singular obliquus . In the plural it is equal to the obliquus plural without the nasalization (-o instead of -õ). This results in endings deviating from the nominative for the masculine -ā and in the plural:

Singular Plural translation
Nominative vocative Nominative vocative
Masculine on -ā laṛkā laṛk e ! laṛke laṛk o ! 'Boy'
Masculine not on -ā and exceptions guru guru! guru guru o ! 'Teacher'
Feminine on -ī laṛkī laṛkī! laṛkiyã laṛkiy o ! 'Girl'
Feminine not on -ī bahu bahu! bahuẽ bahu o ! 'Daughter in law'


The Romani language , which is derived from ancient Indian, has partly preserved and partly developed the Indo-European vocative patterns. For the plural it has developed a special form on -le :

Singular Plural translation
Nominative vocative Nominative vocative
Masculine phral phrála! phralá phralále! 'Brothers'
Feminine phen phéne! phéno! phenjá phenjále! 'Sister'


The Sinhalese language also knows vocative forms for singular and plural:

Nominative vocative translation
Singular miniha miniho! 'Man'
Plural minissu minissune! 'Men'

The vocative phrase

Languages ​​that do not have a morphological vocative can also develop vocative phrases that differ from other noun phrases by the following criteria:

  • A noun used in the salutation acts as an index and is therefore not grammatically determined .
  • Vocative particles can be added to the noun of the salutation , which determine the addressee role.


In most article languages, the vocative phrase is characterized by the absence of any article, so in a broader sense it is a noun phrase without a determinative . The first Indo-European language to form a specific article was Greek (as early as around 800 BC). However, among ancient grammarians the vocative particle ὧ (see above) was considered a vocative article - a view that is no longer common today. The Greek vocative phrase is thus characterized by lack of articles. In the course of their development, the Germanic , Celtic and Romance languages ​​also form articles, so that an analogous pattern for their vocative phrases results.


This is the case in German, for example, where no article is placed in the vocative: Since an appellative such as B. Guest as part of a sentence is usually not without an article (except after as ), the articleless use results in a vocative phrase, which is usually enriched with an adjective attribute. This attribute always accompanies the head noun in its indefinite form:

Lieber Gast, setz dich!
Setz dich, lieber Gast!
NICHT: *Lieber Gast setzt sich.

In the southern German colloquial language and in the Upper German dialects, this type of vocative phrase is more common, since personal names of people in the noun phrase also have a proprial article with them (which looks like a certain article, but has no semantic function):

Das ist der Peter.
NICHT: *Das ist Peter.
ABER: Lieber Peter!

Vocative particles

Some languages ​​use vocative particles , which are usually placed in front of the noun in calls. These include, for example, Arabic , ancient Greek and Albanian .


A possible, but by no means obligatory, vocative particle in German is the literary "o". Accordingly, the vocative for father is "o father!", For daughter "o daughter!" Etc. This "o" was borrowed from ancient Greek , where the particle is ὦ (ō), into German and other European languages.


The vocative particle in the Arabic language is very well known and often used , e.g. B. in yā rajul! . This particle can be used both conatively , i.e. prompting (e.g. German: '(h) ey man!') And honorificatively , i.e. respectfully (cf. German (based on the Greek pattern): 'o man!').


The Arabic vocative particle ya is also used in neo-Hebrew colloquial language , presumably as a result of intensive contact between the two languages.

Ancient Greek

The ancient Greek salutation was often accompanied by the vocative particle , e.g. B. ὧ Σώκρατες! 'O Socrates!'. A lack of these is a sign of factual coolness or even disdain: Akoueis, Aischinē? " " Ἀ κούεις, Αἰσχίνη; “Do you hear, Aeschines?” Demosthenes asks his hated opponent.
This particle was also used in Latin, but only when the impression should arise that one is leaning on the Greek language. These particles also found their way into high-level German via Latin, but are only rarely used there - just as in modern Greek.

Modern Greek and the Balkan languages

In the modern Greek language, the vocative of the word μωρός mōrós , which means something like "stupid", has resulted in a particle that has lost its derogatory meaning and is therefore often used in modern Greek for informal address: μωρέ! mōré! .

There is also another particle βρε vre of the same origin, which has arisen from the contraction from moré to mre .

Both particles were borrowed from the other languages ​​of the Balkans Language Association , which were heavily influenced by the Greek language: Albanian bre and more , Bulgarian be and more , Romanian, Serbian and Turkish bre each serve as a familiar, informal address, comparable to the youth-language German ey or age .

This particle is particularly interesting in the Macedonian language , where it has split into two forms: when addressed to a male person it is more , to a female person it is mori .


In contrast, the particle o is very common in Albanian and is often associated with calls and salutations. What is special about the Albanian particle is that it does not necessarily appear in front of the noun, but also occasionally after it. In this case, it replaces the definitive suffix used for salutation in Albanian :

Masculine Feminine
Nominative (without definiteness suffix): çun vajzё
Vocative with definiteness suffix and particle: o çun-i! o vajz-a!
Vocative with suffused particle: çun-o! vajz-o!
Translation: Lad girl


In the Kurmanji dialect of Kurdish (see above), the vocative can also be formed without a suffix with the help of independent words (so-called particles), which differ depending on the gender of the person addressed:

Surname Substituted vocative Vocative with particle
Azad (m) Azad-o! lo Azad!
Bêrîvan (f) Bêrîvan-ê! lê Bêrîvan!

Predicative salutation

The predicative salutation differs from the vocative phrase in that it describes the addressee using an evaluative, i.e. judgmental noun (the addressee receives a predicate). In the German language, the predicative salutation can be distinguished from the vocative phrase in that it can contain a second person pronoun as a deicticon :

  • (you jerk! , (you) genius! , (you) bitch!
  • (you) assholes! , (her) heroes!
  • (You) angel! , (You) snob!

This is not possible in the vocative phrase; the deictic pronoun is intonarically separated from the actual phrase:

  • (you,) honey!
  • (You,) Ms. Müller!

The statement is completely different: The predicative salutation you darling! should characterize someone as a treasure , i.e. as a valuable or loved one. In the vocative phrase (you,) darling! On the other hand , Schatz serves as a nickname, i.e. as a substitute for the name of a familiar person. This becomes even clearer in the diminutive, sweetheart , which is only used in the vocative phrase (to admonish someone), but not as a predicative salutation: * (you) sweetheart! .

Scandinavian languages

A specific phrase has become established in the North Germanic languages, which is mainly used for attributions using appellatives; it is not common in connection with personal names. The possessive companion of the 2nd person singular, i.e. the addressee, serves as the predicative copula . Examples from all four languages:

Danish Swedish Norwegian Icelandic
Nominative geni defects svin fífl
vocative dit geni! din angels! ditt svin! fíflið þitt!
translation you genius! you angel! you pig! you idiot!

In Icelandic, the definitive suffix (quasi the definite article) is added to the noun.

The Icelandic knows, moreover, especially for names of people a Vokativphrase which the Possessivbegleiters the first person singular (ie the speaker) uses:
Jón minn! (Man's name) / Helga mín! (Woman's name)

Comments and individual evidence

  1. ^ Alfons Nehring: Call, exclamation and salutation. A contribution to the syntax of the one-word sentence. In: Festschrift for Theodor Siebs on his 70th birthday (ed. C. Walther Steller, Breslau 1933).
  2. Tanja Anstatt: "The Slavic vocative in a European context". In: Geist, L. / Mehlhorn, G. (eds.) (2008): Linguistic contributions to Slavic Studies XV, Munich, pp. 9–26. Online: https://dbs-lin.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/lotman/download.php?f=6964699fad7b9b1cdaf42a117deac550&target=0
  3. See E.-G. Kirschbaum: grammar of the Russian language . Cornelsen, Berlin 2004, p. 151.
  4. The degree of insult can be seen by comparing the following sentences: Даниела, какво зяпаш бе? (Hi Daniela, why are you looking?) Vs. Даниело, какво зяпаш бе? (Daniela, what are you staring at?)
  5. http://corpus.quran.com/documentation/vocative.jsp


Web links

Wiktionary: vocative  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations