A variationist corpus analysis of the definite article with personal names across three varieties of Spanish

(Chilean, Mexican, Andalusian)



It has been shown that the presence of a definite article (DA) prior to a personal name (PN) varies not only across languages, but also across varieties of the same language. Spanish is an example of a language that demonstrates DA+PN variation across varieties. However, few studies have quantitatively analyzed this DA+PN variation. The current study examined which linguistic and social factors govern the variation of DA+PN in the speech (sociolinguistic interviews) of 54 speakers from Santiago (Chile), Mexico City, and Granada (Spain) from the online PRESEEA Corpus. Statistical analyses found that the DA+PN realizations are most favored by speakers from Santiago across all educational levels. Speakers from Santiago also favor DA+PN realizations more with female names than male names, demonstrating a gendering of language. Speakers from Mexico City and Granada demonstrated few overall DA+PN realizations, with the least realizations among those with more educational attainment, possibly indicating the effect of a standard language ideology for these communities with regard to DA+PN. Thus, not only do these varieties differ in overall frequency in which DA+PN appears to be the norm in Santiago and much less common in Granada and Mexico City, they also differ in terms of which social factors govern DA+PN realizations in each variety.


variationist sociolinguistics, variational pragmatics, definite article, personal name, corpus linguistics, PRESEEA


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