A contrastive study of conventional indirectness in Spanish: Evidence from Peninsular and Uruguayan Spanish

Rosina Márquez Reiter

Abstract

This article examines the results of a contrastive empirical study of conventional indirect requests in Peninsular and Uruguayan Spanish. The results reveal pragmatic similarities at the level of the linguistic encoding of utterances with both, Peninsular and Uruguayan Spanish speakers showing a negative correlation between (in)directness and social distance. The less familiar the interlocutors are with each other, the more likely it is for their requests to be realised indirectly. On the other hand, pragmatic differences were found in the tentativeness conveyed by the requests in these two language varieties. Uruguayan Spanish requests were more tentative than those in Peninsular Spanish. This tentativeness was achieved through a more frequent and more varied use of external modifications and a much higher incidence of internal modificating devices of the downgrading type.

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