Article published in:Inquiries in Hispanic Linguistics: From theory to empirical evidence
Edited by Alejandro Cuza, Lori Czerwionka and Daniel Olson
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 12] 2016
► pp. 263–280
Vosotros, ustedes, and the myth of the symmetrical Castilian pronoun system
In studies of T/V address systems, research typically ignores plural forms in favor of their singular counterparts. We show that there is widespread asymmetry between singular and plural T/V forms in Castilian Spanish, and that the historically T plural vosotros often serves as the plural of both tú (T) and usted (V). Our data consist of naturally-occurring examples, interviews with a dozen Spaniards across three generations, and the results of an online survey that polled speakers about their pronominal choices when offered three scenarios involving multiple interlocutors, some addressed as tú and others as usted in the singular. In each scenario, respondent use of vosotros in the plural was significantly higher than their corresponding use of tú in the singular.
Keywords: Address forms, Castilian Spanish, Second-person plural, Spanish dialectology, T/V pronouns
Published online: 01 November 2016
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Cited by other publications
Kanwit, Matthew & Virginia Terán
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