T/V Pronouns in L2 Acquisition of Spanish

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Many languages display a pronominal system in which there are both formal and informal forms to address others. In the L2 Spanish classroom, many English-speaking students unfamiliar with the T/V pronoun system (which is no longer present in English) often are only exposed to a generic set of rules (in the text and by the instructor) governing their usage. The system is a highly complex pragmatic phenomenon and can vary significantly based on factors such as dialect, familiarity, solidarity, emotion, and dispensation right. Lambert (1976) surveyed the phenomenon in Spanish and French and took into account familiarity, solidarity, and dispensation right. This study reports on a survey which tested the validity and reliability found in Lambert (1976) and furthered the study by examining the knowledge L2 Spanish students have about the use of the system of informal and formal pronouns and in addition to the parameters examined by Lambert, took dialect and emotion into account. The purpose of this study was to show that while a general rule governing T/V usage in L2 Spanish is sufficient to begin with, exposure to the natural language, explicit awareness of the phenomenon on the part of the instructor, and study abroad can all improve students’ mastery of this pragmatic phenomenon. This information can be useful to language educators of all levels.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalFaculty Publications
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

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