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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Forms of Address of 2pl in Western Andalusia and Portugal: geo- and sociolinguistic study on a grammaticalisation process (Los tratamientos de 2pl en Andalucía occidental y Portugal: estudio geo- y sociolingüístico de un proceso de gramaticalización) Add Dissertation
Author: Victor Lara Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Programa de Lingüística, Lógica y Lenguas Modernas
Completed in: 2015
Linguistic Subfield(s): Sociolinguistics;
Director(s): Inés Fernández-Ordóñez

Abstract: The plural forms of address system in Peninsular Spanish prescribes the distinction between vosotros / ustedes for informality and formality, respectively, while West Andalusia levelled the plural system, by favouring the choice of ustedes. Despite this simplification, the syntactic elements anchoring ustedes do not follow a normative pattern in their agreement, as, depending on the geographical area within which the ustedes phenomenon is attested as well as on the syntactic function of the given element, ustedes can induce both second person plural (2pl) and third person plural (3pl) agreements. This vernacular usage, completely stigmatised and considered as rural and from illiterate classes, contradicts the prestigious model ruling throughout Spain, in which vosotros must agree in 2pl and ustedes, in 3pl.

Although the literature is not coherent, the emergence of this phenomenon has always been associated with the districts of Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba and Málaga. Additionally, some authors affirm that only the reflexive agrees in 3pl, whereas others hold that all the syntactic elements adopt the 2pl. The single point they all agree on is the fact that the past simple always adopts the 3pl.

The European Portuguese variety has not drawn the attention to its plural allocutive system either. Although we rely on different works dealing with the development of a vossa mercê – você during the centuries and how, from a polite pronoun, it became an egalitarian and even offensive form, there does not exist a detailed study on the levelling of the plural in favour of vocês and in detriment of the traditional vós. In the 17th century, the PT society used to distinguish the informality and the formality through vós and vocês, respectively, but the stigmatisation of the former led to the universalisation of the latter. Nevertheless, not all its syntactic elements agree in 3pl, as its syntax demands. The object clitics, the possessive and some adjuncts keep on adopting 2pl morphemes, that is, vós inflections. This contradiction does not put into doubt the use of the prestige form because the standard variety prompts these disagreements. Furthermore, unlike in Andalusia, the levelling into vocês presupposes the norm, and the distinction between vós and vocês does not imply a prestigious usage. In geographical terms, the levelling norm reaches half of the country (the most southern part), whilst half of it (the most northern one) still maintains the previous distinguishing stage.

An analogous phenomenon to the universalisation of vocês is the one in progress in the EP: the replacement of nós by the noun phrase a gente. This non-standard usage is witnessed in the same area in which vocês has become general and, likewise, a gente presents disagreements in the verb and clitics. Its syntax obliges to agree in third person singular (3sg), but its semantics responds to a first person plural (1pl). Even less attention has been paid to this innovation than the case of vocês, that is why we lack detailed studies on its emergence and later diffusion throughout Portugal.

This thesis will try to carry out a double study. On the one hand, synchronic, in which I will introduce the current situation of the levelling in ustedes in detriment of vosotros in West Andalusia, as well as the generalisation of vocês and a gente as new 2pl and 1pl pronouns in Portugal. On the other hand, diachronic, in which I will compare the current results to the ones I found in works containing data from linguistic atlases elaborated in the middle of the 20th century.