<i>Vosotros</i>, <i>ustedes</i>, and the myth of the symmetrical Castilian pronoun system

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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 (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 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 in the singular.


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