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In the Milarepa Life Story the Buddhist teacher Marpa issues many commands to his student, Milarepa, his wife, Dakmema, and his co-religionist, Lama Ngokpa. In these commands the co-occurrence of the imperative stem (skul tshig) and a given pronoun or vocative (khyod, bu, rang re, etc.) indicates a varying level of distance between himself and the addressee. Marpa's speech is also nuanced by the use of pronouns, vocatives, and nicknames across a variety of registers. Marpa's interlocutors, however, invariably use honorific titles and the deferential verb zhu ba to make their requests. The contrast highlights Marpa's authority, as his speech alone determines how close he is with an interlocutor at a given time.
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