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I found this text on the ubuntu.com website. There are what seems to be 2 different levels of politeness mixed together. Or is this a stylistic device?

下载并安装Ubuntu桌面操作系统, 只需要一张空白的光盘或U盘。无论 当前的操作系统是Windows 或 Mac OS, 都可以用 Ubuntu 取代它们,亦可以选择让 Ubuntu 与它们并存。

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3 Answers 3

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This is a difficult question, before answering, let's have an understanding on what is a stylistic device. From Wikipedia:

In literature and writing, Stylistic Elements are the use of any of a variety of techniques to give an auxiliary meaning, idea, or feeling to the literal or written.

As you probably already know, 您 is the polite way of addressing a second person, 你. Using Google search, I found quite a number of examples where both 你 and 您 are contained within a sentence:

  1. 您的孩子是否尊重你? (Does your child respect you?)
  2. 您曾否上傳你創建的圖片,而不是用相機拍回來的? (Did you ever upload pictures that are not taken from your camera?)
  3. 教您十招养车的秘籍让你的爱车光亮如新 (Teach you 10 ways to get your car a brand new look)
  4. 小心您的隐私:偷看你的QQ聊天记录 仅需300元 (Beware of your privacy: peep at your QQ chat record for just 300 dollars)

From these examples, it can be said that politeness is expressed at the earliest and once, only where necessary. I would reason that Chinese wants to be polite, but not overly polite that it may appear annoying, fake or impersonal such as this ad from Google:

正在苦苦寻找顾客,而顾客也正在 Google 上寻找可以在 Google 和我们的广告网络中展示广告。仅当有人点击的广告时,才需要支付费用。

Also, the change in tone from 您 to 你 helps to bring back attention or focus to the subject (you, the reader). Therefore, contrary to other answers, I would argue that the mixing of 你 and 您 is indeed a stylistic device when used appropriately.

But for the specific example you have given, it seems to be just a case of imperfect writing, possibly due to the usage of a translation service. Instead of having so many "yous", I would have rewritten it like this:

只需一张空白的光盘或U盘,即可下载并安装 Ubuntu 桌面操作系统 。无论当前的操作系统是Windows 还是 Mac OS,您都可以用 Ubuntu 取代,或让 Ubuntu 与它共存。

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Mixing 您 and 你 is a bad practice. I am not aware of any fashionable usage of the mix, not even in net-speak. Your example is just loosely reviewed.

One rare case where you may see both words in one dialog is when the speaker uses 您 for the listener while uses 你 as a reference to a general 2nd person (similar to "one" in English). In this case 您 and 你 refer to different persons and the mix is not about style. E.g.

“他9点才来。这么重要的事,怎么能迟到两个钟头呢?觉得呢?”

"He didn't show up until 9. How could one be late for 2 hours for such an important event?! What do you say?"

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I don't think mixing 你 and 您 is a stylistic device . It is a little inconsistent, but it is NOT grammatically wrong. Actually I believe the sentences in your example are correct, just not perfect. I also believe it is also correct to use 你 and 您 even in one sentence.

For example: 你要和您的朋友一起来.

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