Caribbean

  • Cuba
    in progress
  • Dominican Republic

    The Dominican Republic (Spanish: República Dominicana) is a country located on the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, bordering Haiti. Hispaniola is the second-largest of the Greater Antilles islands, and lies west of Puerto Rico and east of Cuba and Jamaica. A legacy of unsettled, mostly non-representative rule lasted for much of the 20th century; the move towards representative democracy and has improved vastly since the death of military dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo in 1961. Dominicans sometimes refer to their country as Quisqueya, a name for Hispaniola used by indigenous Taíno people meaning "high land", referring to the highest portion of the island of Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic is not to be confused with Dominica, another Caribbean country. Two main cities are: Santo Domingo, the capital, and Santiago.

    The pragmatics of Dominican Spanish includes an analysis of some speech acts (production and perception) and different interactional aspects of conversation. The regions examined include Santiago and the Haitian-Dominican border. Below you can listen and view examples of different speech acts and features of conversation (discourse markers, pragmatic routines, conversational interaction) in different regions of Mexico.

    If you have researched pragmatics or discourse in this country and would like to contribute to this page, please email Prof. César Félix-Brasdefer (cfelixbr@indiana.edu).

     

    Pragmatic Variation by Region in the Dominican Republic

    Study

    Pragmatic Target

    Region

    Method of Data Collection

    Main Results

    Félix-Brasdefer 2012

    Requests

    Santiago

    Role plays

    Three prosodic cues were used to mitigate symmetrical interactions: ascending and descending final boundary tone, internal pause, and syllabic lengthening. With the Mexican speakers, an ascending final boundary tone is preferred in both direct and indirect requests (e.g., No sé si me podrías echar la mano?). In contrast, the Dominican utilized descending boundary tones to convey politeness (e.g., Tú me lo puedes prestar). For the Mexican speakers, internal pauses and syllabic lengthening conveyed deference in asymmetrical situations and to express comradery in symmetrical interactions.

    Aponte Alequín & Ortiz López 2010

    Present progressive future construction

    Dominican varieties

    Sociolinguistic interviews

    Aponte Alequín & Ortiz López (2010) explore the semantic factors that condition the use of the present progressive construction to express future events. Typically these progressive constructions have accompanying temporal adverbs to highlight its distinct meaning from prototypical progressive constructions. Additionally, certainty conditions these progressive constructions, which marks the relationship between the action and the speaker’s commitment to said action. Overall, it finds that young Cubans, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans use this type of future construction where there is certainty that the event will happen in the immediate or near future.

    Félix-Brasdefer 2009

    Requests

    Santiago

    Role plays

    There was a general preference toward conventional indirectness in the first request and subsequent requests were typically direct. Additionally, speakers preferred direct head acts in role play interactions that low social distance. The Dominicans used positive politeness strategies by using more imperatives that include both the speaker and the hearer (e.g., preguntémole a ese señor). Elliptical requests such as un vaso de agua por favor were the most common strategy for the Mexican speakers. They were also modified by expressions such as ándale or órale. Lastly, the Costa Rican speakers preferred to use downgraders such as conditional and imperfect forms (e.g., Ud. Cree que me podría prestart el cuaderno?)

    Félix-Brasdefer 2008

    Refusals

    Santiago

    Role play

    Each speaker role played refusals from different degrees of social distance in contexts of invitations, requests, and suggestions. Utilizing Scollon & Scollon’s (2001) framework of politeness systems, this article finds that the Mexicans used a higher number of indirect refusal strategies with a preference of independence face such as mitigation and indirect refusals (e.g., ¿Sabes qué? No los (apuntes) traigo ahorita). Nevertheless, the Mexicans used more direct refusal strategies in situations with low social distance. In contrast, the Dominicans used fewer and shorter direct and unmitigated turns that were oriented to involvement face independent of social distance (e.g., No no no no no, yo no puedo no, no)

    Ortiz López (2007)

    Negation

    Dominican-Haitian border

    Sociolinguistic interviews

    This study analyzes the use of preverbal negation, double negation with a negative polarity item, and the uniquely Dominican no + verb + no construction among Dominican native speakers and Haitian learners of Spanish in the Dominican-Haitian border. He found that Dominican speakers use double negation at a higher rate than Haitian Creole speakers of Spanish independent of the learners’ proficiency in Spanish. Haitian learners of Spanish prefer single, preverbal negation that also exists in their first language. In general, preverbal negation is preferred in Spanish in contexts with new information whereas old information conditions the use of the no + verb + no construction.

    Schwegler 1996

    Double negation

    Santiago

    Sociolinguistic interviews

    Examines double negation in colloquial Dominican Spanish. The author looks at the sociolinguistic and pragmatic factors that condition single negation (e.g., No llegué tarde!) or double negation, expressed no + verb + no (e.g., No sé dónde queda la calle no). This type of negation is used in colloquial varieties to negate counter-expectationally.

    Bibliography

    Aponte Alequín, Héctor & Ortiz López, Luis A. (2010). Una perspectiva pragmática del presente progresivo con valor de futuro en el español del Caribe. Selected Proceedings of the 12th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, ed. Claudia Borgonovo et al., 109-121. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

    Felix-Brasdefer, J. Cesar (2008). Sociopragmatic variation: Dispreferred responses in Mexican and Dominican Spanish.  Journal of Politeness Research, 4 , pp. 81-110.

    Félix-Brasdefer, J. César (2009). Pragmatic variation across Spanish(es): Requesting in Mexican, Costa, Rican, and Dominican Spanish. Intercultural Pragmatics, 6(4), pp. 473-515.

    Felix-Brasdefer, J. Cesar (2012). Cortesia, prosodia y variacion pragmatic en las peticiones de estudiantes universitarios mexicanos y dominicanos. In C. García Fernández & Maria Elena Placencia (Eds.), Estudios de variación pragmática en español, (57-86). Buenos Aires: Dunken.

    Ortiz Lopez, Luis A. (2007). La negación en la frontera domínico-haitiana: variantes y usos (socio)lingüísticos.  In Potowski, Kim & Cameron, Richard (Eds.), Spanish in Contact: Policy, Social and Linguistic Inquiries, (211-233).  Amsterdam, Netherlands: Benjamins.

    Schwegler, Armin (1996). La doble negación dominicana y la génesis del español caribeño. Hispanic Linguistics 8(2), pp. 247-315.

  • Puerto Rico

    Puerto Rico is an island commonwealth of the United States located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea next to the Dominican Republic. It largest city and capital is San Juan, which hosts many historical landmarks such as Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Juan de la Cruz. Both Spanish and English are spoken by most of Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million residents; however, Spanish is the dominant language in public and private domains.

    Pragmatics in Puerto Rican Spanish has treated the variety spoken in San Juan. Particularly, the pragmatic conditioning factors of future construction variability has been analyzed.

    The table below provides an overview of studies that have examined one aspect of pragmatics across regions of Puerto Rico. This review is by no means comprehensive. Information on service encounters and forms of address will be provided under ‘Service Encounters’ and ‘Forms of Address’ (see Topics in Pragmatics in this website).

    If you have researched pragmatics or discourse in this country and would like to contribute to this page, please email Prof. César Félix-Brasdefer (cfelixbr@indiana.edu).

    Pragmatic Variation by Region in Puerto Rico

    Study

    Pragmatic Target

    Region

    Method of Data Collection

    Main Results

    Escalona-Torres 2016

    Political discourse

     

     

     

    Aponte-Alequín & Ortiz

    2015

     

     

     

     

    Claes & Ortíz López

    2011

    Futurity

    San Juan

    Corpus PRESEEA

    This study examines the three types of future constructions in Puerto Rican Spanish in terms of the social and pragmatic conditioning factors. The certainty of the occurrence of an action determines which future construction is selected. For example, the morphological future is associated with high certainty, followed by the analytic future and the present tense.

     

    References  

    Claes, J. & Ortíz López, L. (2011). Restricciones pragmáticas y sociales en la expresión de futuridad en el español de Puerto Rico. Spanish in Context, 8(1), 50-72.