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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton December 14, 2009

Pragmatic variation across Spanish(es): Requesting in Mexican, Costa Rican and Dominican Spanish

  • J. César Félix-Brasdefer
From the journal


The current study focuses on pragmatic variation at the regional level and examines the similarities and differences in the realization of requests in three varieties of Latin American Spanish: Mexico (Oaxaca), Costa Rica (San José) and the Dominican Republic (Santiago) in three symmetric situations (–Power) with different degrees of distance (+/–Distance). Experimental data of 54 male participants (18 participants per group) were collected in comparable situations in situ. The 162 interactions were classified according to the request head act: direct, conventionally indirect (CI), and non-conventionally indirect (NCI) strategies. Request head acts were analyzed across the interaction. Specifically, the data were analyzed for initial (first) and post-initial requests, as well as for three types of downgraders, namely lexical, syntactic and prosodic downgraders. The results showed a preference for conventional indirectness in the first request and a preference for impositives in post-initial requests. Lexical and syntactic modification of the request varied in type and frequency across the three groups. Prosodic downgraders (intonation, tempo, loudness, and rate of delivery) were factors that influenced the polite interpretation of the request and varied across the groups. The results are discussed in light of research on variational pragmatics and across varieties of Spanish at both the national and subnational levels.

Published Online: 2009-12-14
Published in Print: 2009-December

© 2009 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin

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