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Thesis Format



Master of Arts


Hispanic Studies


Tennant, Jeff


The paradigm of forms of address has been a recurrent topic of study from a sociolinguistic perspective. Voseo, tuteo and ustedeo are the forms of address used in the Hispanic world. Voseo expreses confidence and familiarity, while tuteo same as voseo, denotes confidence and familiarity. Finally, ustedeo has a connotation of formality, respect and distance. This thesis aims to examine how forms of address are used in Ocaña, Colombia, and the relationship between their use and the social factors that affect the choice of pronoun. To achieve this aim, a sociolinguistic survey was applied to 88 participants. The sociolinguistic variables used in this research were gender, age, place of birth, level of education and socioeconomic status. The analysis revealed that the only variable that did not show statistical significance in any of the scenarios proposed in the survey was socioeconomic status. Additionally, results revealed that the use of usted has a semantic duality since it is used in contexts where one would expect to use a pronoun such as and vos, which traditionally denote familiarity. Finally, the results revealed evidence of a possible linguistic change in progress in the direction of increased use of by younger people and call into question the idea that vos is the most widely used second-person pronoun in Ocaña.

Summary for Lay Audience

In English there is only one pronoun of address for singular and plural. English speakers use the pronoun you. However, in Spanish there is more than one pronoun. This thesis investigates how second singular pronouns are used in Ocaña, Colombia. In particular, the study looks at how social factors such as age, gender, birth of place, socio economic status and level of education affect the choice of pronouns- that is tú, usted and vos. Traditionally the pronouns and vos express confidence and familiarity and usted indicates respect and distance. The findings highlight that social factors affected the choice of pronouns in different contexts, taking into account the communicative situations and social proximity. These findings show of a possible linguistic change in progress towards a great use of by young speakers and call into question the idea that vos is the most widely used word for you in Ocaña.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License