Altai vocatives. Part 1
A vocative is an expression used for a noun that identifies a person being addressed, for example: “I agree with you, Tom”.
Altai people worship the aged and children so it matters how old the person is. The most commonly used vocative in the Altai language is БЫЛАР, it can not be translated verbatim into other languages, its loose translation is a signor or a signora. Since there is not a gender in the Altai language, the vocative БЫЛАР refers both to male and female, for insatance: отураар, былар (have a seat sir/madam), бери келеер, былар ( сome here, sir/madam).
Children can’t be addressed БЫЛАР. When you meet a person about forty years old and you don’t know his name you can address him БЫЛАР. This word can be also used instead of one’s name, for example, Јакшылар, былар! (Hello, signor!) even if you know the name of this man. As his name consists of two words – Иван Петрович, it’s easier to say БЫЛАР when you greet him hastily or somewhere outside. If you come to visit your friend and find out he is not at home you can address his mother БЫЛАР: “Алан качан келер, былар?”, even though you know her name.
The vocative БЫЛАР refers to one person only when asking to do something or you invite him somewhere. When there are some more people than one person you can address them just ЈАКШЫЛАР (Hello) .
The vocative expression ӦРӦКӦН is used only to address the elderly. This word also can replace the name of the person. ӦРӦ means above, on high, upwards, so this addressing can be translated as Highness. As we mentioned in Altai the person’s age is of the special value compared to his social standing. Some nations and folks call the children of the kings and emperors Your Highness, but in Altai we address ӦРӦКӦН to any aged person both male and female.
The word БАЛАМ is used to address the children and also any person who is younger than the speaker for twenty years. БАЛА means a child, baby. When БАЛАМ is said to a boy or a man it means “my son”, and to a girl or a woman it is “my daughter”.
A man of eighty winters can address a man of fifty this way: болушсаҥ, балам (help me, my son). Altai people call their own children БАЛАМ even they are seventy.
The xpression ЭЈЕ is the vocative to address the elder sister or an aunt who is in blood relation. Even though the elder sister is older for just two years, the younger sister must call her ЭЈЕ, for example: Эје, слер качан келереер? (Sister, when will you come?).
In Altai language we address our parents and other elder people СЛЕР (you which is the respectful form).