The many ways to say ‘you’ in Spanish

The article «Not just you: The construction of radio audiences through second-person choice in Peninsular Spanish», by Miguel A. Aijón Oliva, has just been published in issue 60 of Language and Communication. The full text of the article can be freely accessed for a limited period here.

The study is concerned with the choice among second-person grammatical paradigms when addressing nonspecific audiences in radio discourse. Standard Peninsular Spanish has four different sets of morphematical elements allowing for a second-person characterization, which are respectively represented by the pronouns , usted, vosotros, and ustedes. These can be classified into two different persons—here labelled prototypical and …

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Displaced persons

A paper on the pronouns usted and ustedes by Miguel A. Aijón Oliva will be published in 2018 by the Hispanic Studies Review. It presents an investigation of the functional variation of these pronouns according to several features, and how the patterns obtained can be interpreted in cognitive terms. Usted and ustedes—to be respectively translated as you+ and you all+—entail a discordance between grammatical form and reference, insofar as they come from third-person NPs—vuestra merced and its plural—and correlate with third-person morphemes, but are used to index addressees. They can thus be understood as a special choice for the construction of others, based on a …

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