Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This study investigates how Chinese learners of Spanish, who have a T/V distinction in their first language (L1), use the T/V address forms in Spanish as a second language (L2). Findings show that the learners rely mainly on their L1 pragmatic knowledge to employ the T/V in the L2. Despite having relatively good grammatical control of T/V, the learners produced frequent T/V alternation due to negative pragmatic transfer. In Chinese using V normally conveys speaker’s perception of a high-power differential and in relationships that are borderline T or V usage, shifting from T to V can convey deference and tends to co-occur with face-threatening or face-enhancing acts. The learners transferred from Chinese their tendency to use V to express deference and overutilized this politeness strategy in Spanish regardless of their relationship with the addressee. This problematic usage may generate negative social consequences and calls for pedagogical intervention.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Agha, Asif
    2006Language and Social Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511618284
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511618284 [Google Scholar]
  2. Agresti, Alan
    2002Categorical Data Analysis. 2. ed.Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Interscience. 10.1002/0471249688
    https://doi.org/10.1002/0471249688 [Google Scholar]
  3. Belz, Julie A., and Celeste Kinginger
    2003 “Discourse Options and the Development of Pragmatic Competence by Classroom Learners of German: The Case of Address Forms.” Language Learning53 (4): 591–647.   10.1046/j.1467‑9922.2003.00238.x
    https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1467-9922.2003.00238.x [Google Scholar]
  4. Blas Arroyo, José Luis
    1995 “Tú y Usted: Dos Pronombres de Cortesía En El Español Actual. Datos de Una Comunidad Peninsular.” ELUA. Estudios de Lingüística Universidad de Alicante, no.10: 21–44.   10.14198/ELUA1994‑1995.10.02
    https://doi.org/10.14198/ELUA1994-1995.10.02 [Google Scholar]
  5. Brown, Penelope, and Stephen C. Levinson
    1987Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511813085
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511813085 [Google Scholar]
  6. Brown, Roger, and Albert Gilman
    1960 “The Pronouns of Power and Solidarity.” InStyle in Language, ed. byT. A. Sebeok, 253–276. Cambridge: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Chao, Yuen Ren
    1956 “Chinese Terms of Address.” Language32 (1): 217.   10.2307/410666
    https://doi.org/10.2307/410666 [Google Scholar]
  8. Chen, Rong, Lin He, and Chunmei Hu
    2013 “Chinese Requests: In Comparison to American and Japanese Requests and with Reference to the ‘East-West Divide.’” Journal of Pragmatics55: 140–161.   10.1016/j.pragma.2013.05.012
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2013.05.012 [Google Scholar]
  9. Clyne, Michael, Catrin Norrby, and Jane Warren
    2009Language and Human Relations: Styles of Address in Contemporary Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511576690
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511576690 [Google Scholar]
  10. Compernolle, Rémi A. van, Maria Pia Gomez-Laich, and Ashley Weber
    2016 “Teaching L2 Spanish Sociopragmatics through Concepts: A Classroom-Based Study.” Modern Language Journal100 (1): 341–361.   10.1111/modl.12318
    https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12318 [Google Scholar]
  11. Compernolle, Rémi A. van, Lawrence Williams, and Claire McCourt
    2011 “A Corpus-Driven Study of Second-Person Pronoun Variation in L2 French Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication.” Intercultural Pragmatics8 (1): 67.   10.1515/IPRG.2011.003
    https://doi.org/10.1515/IPRG.2011.003 [Google Scholar]
  12. Dewaele, Jean-Marc
    2004 “Vous or Tu? Native and Non-Native Speakers of French on a Sociolinguistic Tightrope.” International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching42 (4): 383–402.   10.1515/iral.2004.42.4.383
    https://doi.org/10.1515/iral.2004.42.4.383 [Google Scholar]
  13. Dong, Yansheng, and Jian Liu
    2014Español Moderno. Vol.I. Beijing: Foreign language teaching & research press.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Fasold, Ralph W.
    1990The Sociolinguistics of Language. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Félix-Brasdefer, J. César
    2015The Language of Service Encounters: A Pragmatic-Discursive Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139565431
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139565431 [Google Scholar]
  16. 2018 “Role Plays.” InMethods in Pragmatics, ed. byAndreas H. Jucker, Klaus P. Schneider, and Wolfram Bublitz, 305–32. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110424928‑012
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110424928-012 [Google Scholar]
  17. Gili Gaya, Samuel
    1980Curso Superior de Sintaxis Española. 10th ed.Barcelona: Biblograf.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Gu, Yueguo
    1990 “Politeness Phenomena in Modern Chinese.” Journal of Pragmatics14 (2): 237–257.   10.1016/0378‑2166(90)90082‑O
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-2166(90)90082-O [Google Scholar]
  19. Howard, Martin, Raymond Mougeon, and Jean-Marc Dewaele
    2013 “Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition.” InThe Oxford Handbook of Sociolinguistics. Vol.1. Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Instituto Cervantes
    Instituto Cervantes 2019 “El Español: Una Lengua Viva. Informe 2019.” https://cvc.cervantes.es/lengua/espanol_lengua_viva/pdf/espanol_lengua_viva_2019.pdf
  21. Kasper, Gabriele
    1992 “Pragmatic Transfer.” Second Language Research8 (3): 203–31.   10.1177/026765839200800303
    https://doi.org/10.1177/026765839200800303 [Google Scholar]
  22. Kroger, Rolf O., and Linda A. Wood
    1992 “Are the Rules of Address Universal?: IV: Comparison of Chinese, Korean, Greek, and German Usage.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology23 (2): 148–62.   10.1177/0022022192232002
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022192232002 [Google Scholar]
  23. Márquez Reiter, Rosina
    2000Linguistic Politeness in Britain and Uruguay: A Contrastive Study of Request and Apologies. Pragmatics & Beyond New Series. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 10.1075/pbns.83
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.83 [Google Scholar]
  24. Márquez Reiter, Rosina, and María Elena Placencia
    2005Spanish Pragmatics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9780230505018
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230505018 [Google Scholar]
  25. Moreno, María Cristobalina
    2003 “El Uso Del Pronombre Tú En La España Contemporánea: ¿extensión de Un Nuevo Uso o Continuación de Una Tendencia Iniciada En El Siglo de Oro?” InActes Du Colloque International de Pronoms de Deuxieme Personne et Formes d’addresse Dans Les Langues d’Europe. Paris, France. https://cvc.cervantes.es/lengua/coloquio_paris/ponencias/pdf/cvc_moreno.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Morford, Janet
    1997 “Social Indexicality in French Pronominal Address.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology7 (1): 3–37.   10.1525/jlin.1997.7.1.3
    https://doi.org/10.1525/jlin.1997.7.1.3 [Google Scholar]
  27. Shively, Rachel L.
    2011 “L2 Pragmatic Development in Study Abroad: A Longitudinal Study of Spanish Service Encounters.” Journal of Pragmatics43 (6): 1818–35.   10.1016/j.pragma.2010.10.030
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2010.10.030 [Google Scholar]
  28. Silverstein, Michael
    2003 “Indexical Order and the Dialectics of Sociolinguistic Life.” Language & Communication23 (3–4): 193–229.   10.1016/S0271‑5309(03)00013‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0271-5309(03)00013-2 [Google Scholar]
  29. Spencer-Oatey, Helen
    2008 “Face, (Im)Politeness and Rapport.” InCulturally Speaking Second Edition; Culture, Communication and Politeness Theory, ed. byHelen Spencer-Oatey, 11–47. London; New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Stewart, Miranda
    1999The Spanish Language Today. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203282434
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203282434 [Google Scholar]
  31. Villarreal, Dan
    2014 “Connecting Production to Judgments: T/V Address Forms and the L2 Identities of Intermediate Spanish Learners.” Journal of Pragmatics66: 1–14.   10.1016/j.pragma.2014.02.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2014.02.005 [Google Scholar]
  32. Wang, Jinwei, and Yang Song
    2018 “Formas Pronominales de Tratamiento En Español y Chino.” Círculo de Lingüística Aplicada a La Comunicación76.   10.5209/CLAC.62509
    https://doi.org/10.5209/CLAC.62509 [Google Scholar]
  33. Xiang, Xuehua
    2019 “Personal Pronouns in Chinese Discourse.” InThe Routledge Handbook of Chinese Discourse Analysis, ed. byChris Shei, 1st ed., 147–59. New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315213705‑10
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315213705-10 [Google Scholar]
  34. Zheng, Shujiu, and Yuanqi Liu
    2015Quanguo Gaodeng Yuanxiao Xibanyayu Jiaoyu Yanjiu [Research about Teaching of Spanish in Higher Education in China]. Beijing: Foreign language teaching & research press.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Chinese; L2 Spanish; T/V address forms
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error