Take the 2-minute tour ×
Russian Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Russian language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In a traditional household, I'm curious.. In what sense do people talk to one another?

Does a father talk to his children using "вы"? или "ты"?

To the same respect, does a child refer to his parents as "вы", или "ты"?

I'm just curious because the ты version is for informal conversations, but in most European languages, speaking in the "ВЫ" sense would be respectful.

share|improve this question
    
As an addition to the previous answers, it should also be noted that it is very uncommon to address any child (less than 12-14 years old I think) as вы. –  Vasily Alexeev Sep 1 at 7:00

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Usually ты is used when addressing parents/children.
But if a child is not very close to the grandparents, uncles, aunts etc (for instance - see them very rarely), вы is used.
Practically, the addressing form for a particular relative is usually established in the early childhood and remains for the whole life.

More detailed description: wikipedia

share|improve this answer
    
so by this logic then, if the child IS close with their grandparent, they will use "ты" then, right? –  sircapsalot Aug 30 at 21:24
1  
Correct. But this can have exceptions depending on the situation, for example: at work. –  Dmitry Aug 30 at 21:41
1  
Hmm... What is the reason for downvote? Please clarify. –  Dmitry Aug 30 at 22:37
    
@sircapsalot Yeah, in modern language if the child is close, "ты" is the best choice. You see, politeness is a double-edged sword. The reason is, it's a formal way to show basic respect by assuming a person you talk to is, probably, a respected citizen (safer than to assume they are morons). On one hand, it shows your respect, on the other — it automatically creates some distance. Again, rules may depend on the language. In contemporary Russian usage people do not, as a rule, speak with polite "вы" inside family, and no one uses "вы" towards kids (neither adults, nor kids themselves). –  Shady_arc Aug 31 at 0:13

In modern language always ты is used between parents and children (unless the person who makes address wants to explicitly underline they do not recognize the other party as their relatives).

Addressing in such circumstances by вы would mean "I do not know you and do not want to, I do not recognize you as my father/son, who are you to me?", this may be used in a case of formal non-recognition of the familial relationship or in a case of extreme conflict.

share|improve this answer
    
wow! is this true? I don't see an upvote so i don't want to believe it, in case it's not true :) Just don't want to get false facts.. It'd make sense if it were true, I just really find it interesting –  sircapsalot Aug 31 at 16:30
    
Sounds pretty legit to me. –  Vasily Alexeev Sep 1 at 6:57
    
Using Google I found a forum where parents are discussing if the children should use "вы" when addressing parents. Looks like some families still teach the children to use "вы" even for mother and father. –  Artemix Sep 1 at 8:32
    
Yes, that's true. And also, вы is used at work. E.g., a boy is studying in the school where his mother works as a teacher — then, at school, he addresses her по имени и отчеству и на "вы". this is not something imaginary, it's my cousin's case. –  Menelion Elensúlë Sep 4 at 16:31

Don't know if personal experience is indicative, but my own experience corroborates Dmitry's reply.

I have always addressed members of my family using ты, which included my mother, my father, one of my grandmothers who lived with us. The other grandmother which lived separately I've never felt close and never considered part of my family but on the other hand I've always respected her highly; and thus I've always used вы to address her.

My uncles and aunts I always addressed using вы except one, who was very sympathetic to me. My cousins always got ты.

I knew of only one family where a child addressed his parents with вы, and that family was quite peculiar.

share|improve this answer
    
Was there any jealousy between your grandmother and other people if you were addressing everyone as ты, and her as вы? or does that not happen :) –  sircapsalot Aug 31 at 16:24
    
No, there was not. –  Andrey Chernyakhovskiy Sep 1 at 0:41

Random facts in addition to other answers:

  • Among upper class since XVIII (when вы was established as formal singular) until early XX century (Socialist Revolution) children saying вы to their parents (while parents said ты to them) were not unusual.

  • Мама, вы seems to be one of typical addressing forms to mother-in-law nowadays.

  • As regards permanency addressing form established in childhood (see @Dmitry’s answer), there seems to be exceptions. In fact, that is the only case when somebody switch over from ты to вы which is not implying worsening relations, I can imagine.

    I in person had changed form of address for several not very close relatives from e. g. дядя Игорь, тыИгорь Владимирович, вы when grew up (they still call me Дима, ты).

  • However, shifting from ты to вы indeed is not common. That implies, that hence it’s highly unusual to address вы to children, not only to your own or in family, I mean, but anywhere to any children; a person who knew you well in your childhood, not only relative, but, for instance, school teacher who taught you since the fifth grade (i. e. 11–12 y. o.), most probably would say you ты forever.

share|improve this answer

It depends on family. But most common is to refer to parent and child as "ты" and to grandparent as "вы".

Горе от ума. А.С.Грибоедов

Ah! grand' maman, вот чудеса! вот ново!
Вы не слыхали здешних бед?
Послушайте. Вот прелести! вот мило!..

Капитанская дочка. А.С.Пушкин

Матушка твоя, узнав о твоем поединке и о том, что ты ранен, с горести занемогла и теперь лежит. Что из тебя будет? Молю бога, чтоб ты исправился, хоть и не смею надеяться на его великую милость. Отец твой А. Г.

Тарас Бульба. Н.В. Гоголь

-- Не смейся, не смейся, батьку! -- сказал наконец старший из них.
-- Смотри ты, какой пышный! А отчего ж бы не смеяться?
-- Да так, хоть ты мне и батько, а как будешь смеяться, то, ей-богу, поколочу!
-- Ах ты, сякой-такой сын! Как, батька?.. -- сказал Тарас Бульба, отступивши с удивлением несколько шагов назад.
-- Да хоть и батька. За обиду не посмотрю и не уважу никого.

share|improve this answer
    
Тарас Бульба is completely unrelated here. Whenever the action of novel takes place, it’s not later than early XVII century, formal singular вы just did not exist that time. Especially in Запорожкая Сечь. –  Dmitry Alexandrov Aug 30 at 23:23
    
Горе от ума and Капитанская дочка are hardly relevant too. They can be used to prove situation of Griboyedov / Pushkin times, but you seems to talk about modern state, which is totally different. –  Dmitry Alexandrov Aug 30 at 23:42
    
I also doubt that it is most common to say вы to own grandparents. Relevant references would be highly desirable. –  Dmitry Alexandrov Aug 30 at 23:42
    
In short: −1 to your answer. –  Dmitry Alexandrov Aug 30 at 23:43
    
Молодец! Спасибо! –  power Aug 31 at 12:00

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.