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Thank you to London police
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Littlestone
Littlestone
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Edited Jun 05, 2017, 09:47
Re: Thank you to London police
Jun 05, 2017, 09:37
Rhiannon wrote:
Why is this in the third person - to deflect any suspicion that 'It's all about me!!!'? or to give your opinions some credibility because you look like you're quoting someone who agrees with you? very strange.


Well, possibly both but not necessarily very strange. Referring to oneself in the third person (illeism) has a long and interesting history. From Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico to Gollum’s use of illeism in the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, illeism can, “...impart an air of objective impartiality...”.

It’s also used a lot by artificial intelligence in Science Fiction. For example, "This unit is malfunctioning". (Source Wiki). You might want to apply that to Mr Trump :-) but delve a little deeper and the use of illeism is more complex than just being ‘about me’.

Illeism is often found, “...in feudal societies and other societies where honorifics are important to observe ("Your servant awaits your orders"), as well as in master-slave relationships ("This slave needs to be punished"). Recruits in the military, mostly United States Marine Corps recruits, are also often made to refer to themselves in the third-person, such as "the recruit," in order to reduce the sense of individuality and enforce the idea of the group being more important than the self. The use of illeism in this context imparts a sense of lack of self, implying a diminished importance of the speaker in relation to the addressee or to a larger whole.” (Source Wiki). It could be that the use of illesim is more pronounced in the US than here but I wouldn't know for sure if that’s the case.

I do know, however, that in Japan, with a language practically built on honorifics and where one of the worst insults you can come up with is to use the wrong word for ‘you’, it’s often the case that adults will address a child by saying something like, “Does Jiro want more rice?” To which the child might reply, “No thank you, Jiro’s full.” And it’s not only in Japan; young children often refer to themselves in the third person in many other counties as well.

Perhaps even more interesting is that, “...in certain Eastern religions, like Hinduism or Buddhism, this [illeism] is sometimes seen as a sign of enlightenment, since by doing so, an individual detaches his eternal self (atman) from the body-related one (maya). Jnana yoga actually encourages its practitioners to refer to themselves in the third person." (Source Wiki).

Sorry, a lot of that should have been put under the ‘Trivia alert’ warning. :-) English is such fun though, even its word order is like a bit of clay that can take on so many shapes before being fired and fixed into something more solid – a bit like our politics. :-)
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