Ben Oostdam story # 717



ABOUT "US" ...

We tend to be a bit sloppy about the use of the word "We"
When I talk to Bob, I may say something like:
"We should be happy that the sun is shining this afternoon!"
and I mean that he, Bob, and I, Ben should be happy the sun is shining.
So in this case "We" includes I myself as well as the person I am addressing, Bob.

Then i go on telling Bob that "last night, we got soaked when we went for dinner!"
and Bob is not even surprised that I use "we" again, but now I mean that "we",
my wife and I, got soaked and imply that he, Bob did not go to dinner with us.
Bob automatically seems to understand that this time, I used "we" to designate myself
with someone else than himself; he is not even insulted, apparently.

Indonesians use two separate words for "we" :
"kita" to include the person addressed
and "kami" for the other case, when the addressee is not included...

A few days ago "we" overheard our tenant using a third option for "we:
He was showing an old friend of his around and pointed at our deck, stated:
"That's where we have barbecues and drinks at night!"

Hearing this (and coming back to that later), I was surprised,
because he only moved in with us last February
and had not participated in any of these events ....

So in this case, the word "we" excluded both speaker and adressee
I wonder if the Indonesian language provides
a third term for "we", and what it would be?
After all, it does not seem that rare of a usage...didn't I just tell you
'I would get back to that...?' Like when I wrote "we" overheard our tenant,
it was not I who overheard it, but my daughter,
so obviously I used the term "we" in the same sense as my tenant did,
namely, excluding myself.

To help the Indonesians build up their language
(again, 'cause "we" used to do that in the 1950's)
I suggest that the word "kuri" be introduced to be used
in similar "kuri"-ous usages of the term "we" - that is, excluding "us".


BLO fecit 20110619c - stories