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Question: When you're speaking formally to someone why do we use

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Author Photo by: CherryLover
Jul 29 2020, 8:54pm CST ~ 2 weeks, 0 days ago. 
Question: When you're speaking formally to someone why do we use "kayo?" Because "kayo" is plural so if you're speaking to one person formally what do you say?
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Author Photo Diegocorry Badge: SupporterBadge: Serious Supporter
Jul 29 2020, 9:01pm CST ~ 2 weeks, 0 days ago. 
@CherryLover Kayo is both plural you and singular formal you.
 
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Author Photo Scrover
Jul 30 2020, 6:51am CST ~ 1 week, 7 days ago. 
To expand on Diegocorry's comment, politeness and respect is a big thing in the Philippines. In the Philippines, there are a number of circumstances where use "respectful" language to show respect. Examples are when a person is significantly older than you, superiors (e.g. your boss), or even when customer service people are talking to you.
 
In regards to your question, this means all singular pronouns can turn into plural pronouns to show respect. It's simply not limited to just "kayo". For example, ka -> kayo, mo -> ninyo, siya -> sila etc.
 
But in which specific situations might you turn a singular pronoun into a plural pronoun to show respect? After all, when talking to your "ate" or "kuya", there is no need to turn singular pronouns into plural pronouns. That might be too polite.
 
There are no hard rules here, but as a general rule I think asking yourself the following question will do the trick:
 
"Might an average Filipino think using 'po' here is appropriate in this circumstance to show respect?"
 
If the answer is yes, then one I think should choose to turn the singular pronoun into a plural pronoun.
 
You might be also be familiar with the other phrases Tagalog uses to show respect (such as "ate", "tita", "lolo" etc), but if you aren't a quick google search will do the trick.
 
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Author Photo akosikoneho
Jul 30 2020, 11:38am CST ~ 1 week, 7 days ago. 
@Scrover
 
> To expand on Diegocorry's comment, politeness and respect is a big thing in the Philippines.
 
Actually, it is believed that using sila and kayo as polite pronouns is influenced from Spanish (which does the same thing). Many languages (including the second most widely spoken, Cebuano) do not do this.
 
Politeness particles like po/ho (tagalog) tabi (bicolano), and pu (kapampangan) seem to be an areal feature. Plural or indirect pronouns for politeness seem to be a calque of Spanish which does the same thing (su her/his/its,ustedes your mercys) etc.
 
But yeah, kayo for polite is very common, although I still get tripped up when some speakers use sila as an effort to be extra polite.
 
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Author Photo jkos Badge: AdminBadge: SupporterBadge: VIP Supporter
Jul 30 2020, 11:40am CST ~ 1 week, 7 days ago. 
Many languages (including the second most widely spoken, Cebuano) do not do this.
 
@akosikoneho Is that right? Interesting...does Cebuano generally have less Spanish influence than Tagalog?
 
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Author Photo akosikoneho
Jul 30 2020, 11:45am CST ~ 1 week, 7 days ago. 
@jkos
 
Mm, Cebuano is famous for having a lot of the most frequent vocab being Spanish.It does not however use kamo/mo (their version of kayo, actually kayo is a very old loan into Tagalog from a non central language, probably kapampangan) nor sila as polite forms of "you". It also lacks the politeness particles which seem to be confined to southern Luzon.
 
At least in Tagalog one can reasonably talk without Spanish loans... but Tagalog semantics seem highly influenced by Spanish and English to me at times. In general though, the lexicon of Cebuano seems way more hispanicized... I can reliably use Spanish loan to fill a gap in Ceb, I can't do that with Tagalog (despite the rumors).
 
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Author Photo Diegocorry Badge: SupporterBadge: Serious Supporter
Jul 30 2020, 12:41pm CST ~ 1 week, 7 days ago. 
@akosikoneho @jkos
Ilonggo also - no politeness particle.
 
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Author Photo Bituingmaykinang
Jul 30 2020, 4:00pm CST ~ 1 week, 7 days ago. 
Because using ka comes off as very direct.
 
To confuse you more, there's even a more polite word than kayo. It's "sila".
 
"Sino po sila" is the most polite way to ask "who are you". Basically, third person pronoun are the most polite in Tagalog.
 
When you go to government offices, it's not uncommon for people to be addressed "Ano pong maitutulong ko sa kanila?". (What can I help you with?)
 
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Author Photo JohnD
Aug 05 2020, 5:49am CST ~ 1 week, 1 day ago. 
Not unique to the Philippines. The French do it too.
Tu is the singular you. Vous is the plural and also the polite singular.
You have probably heard the French greeting of 'Comment allez-vous?' Meaning 'How are you?'. The vous here is the polite singular use.
 
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Author Photo primesgenato
Aug 05 2020, 9:10am CST ~ 1 week, 1 day ago. 
@CherryLover
 
Use of plural 1st and 2nd person pronouns for singular address is a longstanding practice. It started with royalty being referred to plurally as a sign of power. It goes by many names. For example it's called "T-V Distinction" for 2nd person pronouns, so named because of the Latin pronouns of tu/vos. It's also called the "Majestic Plural" or "Royal We", for 1st person pronouns, when nobility refer to themselves. For example, "We want tea", despite the Queen referring to herself only. It existed in English too for thou/ye. Thou being singular and familiar (sometimes contemptuous), and ye being plural or singular polite.
 
Additionally Tagalog uses 3rd person pronouns for politeness. Indian languages and others have this practice too. Again, it's because of the snooty royals not being referred to directly, to show respect. It does exist in English too, to some degree. The Queen might say, "One is not amused", when she's got her panties in a bunch. Or a Boracay hotel receptionist might ask, "Is sir ready to checkout?"
 
Edit:
3rd person plural pronouns to politely address an individual does have limited English usage today as well. Yet again, it's out of respect to Queens, but of a different kind. Apparently there are 63 genders, maybe more now, depending on who you ask. So for someone who considers himself (oops I'm supposed to say "themselves") gender non-binary, then "they", "them", "their", etc., are the preferred singular pronouns.
 
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Author Photo Diegocorry Badge: SupporterBadge: Serious Supporter
Aug 05 2020, 9:15am CST ~ 1 week, 1 day ago. 
That’s one thing I love about this site: one simple question can generate a whole
wealth of new and useful information! 😄
 
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Author Photo Bituingmaykinang
Aug 05 2020, 11:31am CST ~ 1 week, 1 day ago. 
Additionally Tagalog uses 3rd person pronouns for politeness. Indian languages and others have this practice too. Again, it's because of the snooty royals not being referred to directly, to show respect. It does exist in English too, to some degree. The Queen might say, "One is not amused", when she's got her panties in a bunch. Or a Boracay hotel receptionist might ask, "Is sir ready to checkout?"
 
@primesgenato
 
So it is possible that the level of politeness in speech came from the Indian influence than Spanish? After all, a lot of the local Datus and Rajas were partly Indianized.
 
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Author Photo primesgenato
Aug 05 2020, 11:45am CST ~ 1 week, 1 day ago. 
@Bituingmaykinang
 
Could be. "T-V Distinction" existed even before Spanish though. Roman empire had an impactful influence on the world. Hard to pinpoint one particular source of influence on Tagalog. Probably a mixture of influences.
 
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Author Photo akosikoneho
Aug 05 2020, 12:05pm CST ~ 1 week, 1 day ago. 
"T-V" distinction in the sense of using plural pronouns is just one way to do it. Indirectness or special honorific pronouns or particles are other ways to do it. Mandarin Chinese curiously has a special pronoun 您 (nin2) you polite, thought to be from 你(ni3) + 们 men(5)。 Meaning “you plural", as the dialect base that grew into Standard Chinese (northern dialects) long ago lost their honorific pronouns and honorific verbs. All though presently, 您们 (ni3men5)is however not appropriate for plural politeness. In which case they revert to indirectness with 大家(da4jia1) lit. big house/ big family or 各位(ge4wei4) lit. every position.
 
So it is very possible Tagalogs just developed it spontaneously, but usually with linguistics "why" isn't always answerable. Politeness and respect vary by culture time and age, and are subject to change (as the Chinese dramatic loss of honorific language has proven, and the on going loss of formal registers in Javanese continues to do so).
 
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Author Photo hamilee Badge: Native Tagalog Speaker
Aug 07 2020, 10:09am CST ~ 5 days ago. 
In addtion, when a parent calls the child for a reason in the Tagalog region, the response of the child is "po" as a sign of respect. In the Visayan region they say the name of the person (with the higher "social status") who is calling them. The response instead of "po" is "Nay" (Mom) or "Tay" (Dad). In other words, respect is still there but in another form. (Well, it's one of the subtleties which I'm not sure if it still in practice.)
 
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