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The changing system of Costa Rican pronouns of address

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Abstract

This study examines the reported use of three forms of address (tú, vos, usted) in Costa Rican Spanish. Previous studies indicate three phenomena of interest: (1) Usted is used with [+solidarity] interlocutors; (2) While tuteo has been historically absent, some studies suggest an increase in tuteo use among young speakers; (3) Older studies indicated that younger speakers were increasing their use of vos. Based on 209 surveys, results indicate an increase in ustedeo among younger speakers, which contradicts earlier studies. Possible explanations include the socio-political history of Costa Rica, as well as a linguistic reaction against the influx of voseo-using Nicaraguan immigrants. Finally, no clear evidence of expanding tuteo is found, at least for the survey data analyzed here.

References

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