Variation and discursive shifting of address forms in Chilean Spanish. Formal, socio-situational and pragmatic analysis of spontaneous conversations

Start - End 
2011 - 2016 (ongoing)
Department of Linguistics
Research Focus 



This project’s aim is to gain insights into the various linguistic devices of Chilean speakers when addressing each other in conversation. For instance, usted is generally known as an expression of respect or distance, whereas tú is usual between friends. Still, speakers regularly make use of a range of terms of address to express diverse, subtle meanings. The study of the Chilean address system is interesting firstly because it consists of three pronominal and verbal forms (tuteo, ustedeo and voseo) which are experiencing a linguistic change since the 1960’s. Various factors influence a term’s selection: the type of interpersonal relationship, characteristics of the hearer, the goal of the conversation. In this case, verbal and pronominal voseo express considerably different social and pragmatic meanings. Secondly, the variety includes unique, unstudied vocatives such as weón and tío. Finally, it is characterized by a markedly rich and frequent exploitation of alternations between terms of address compared to other Hispanic varieties, and this by the same speaker, in the same interaction and on various strategic grounds. Despite these pecarticularities, the Chilean address system has scarcely been examined as opposed to for instance the Argentine system. Although recent research has collected the first systematic, sociolinguistic data, the above mentioned pragmatic variability has been fairly ignored. This project provides original data through local fieldwork (audio-recordings) in a northern city. Modern theories and methods from interactional sociolinguistics and sociopragmatics are applied in a qualitative and quantitative (statistical) analysis in relation to contextual elements and issues of politeness.



Phd Student(s)