South America

  • Argentina

    Argentina is located in the Southern Cone of South America along with Chile. Bolivia and Paraguay also share borders with Argentina. It is the eight-largest country in the world with an area of 1,073,500 square miles, and it is the second largest country in South America. Its capital, Buenos Aires, is an autonomous city with a population of 2,890,151 people out of Argentina’s total population of 43,417,000.

    The study of pragmatics on Argentine Spanish includes speech acts (e.g., invitations, compliments) and revisions to a culture-specific politeness theory. Many of these studies have focused on the country’s capital, Buenos Aires, but other regions have been studied such as Rosario and La Plata.

     The pragmatics of Argentina Spanish includes an analysis of speech acts, deixis (forms of address), politeness, and different aspects of discourse:

     Speech acts

    • Compliments

    Hernández Toribio, M. I. (2011). Los ‘cumplidos’ como estrategias de persuasión emocional en la publicidad española y argentina. In García, C. & Placencia, M. E. (Eds.), 113-140. Buenos Aires: Editorial Dunken.

    In this contrastive study between Spanish and Argentinean compliments in marketing, compliments typically were directed impersonally and indirectly toward the consumer’s physical appearance and personality. Differences among varieties were minimal in form; however, there was lexical variance (e.g., linda instead of guapa). The lack of formal variation is likely to due to the homogenization of marketing in general.

    • Invitations

    García, C. (2008). Different realizations of solidarity politeness: Comparing Venezuelan and Argentinean invitations. In Schneider, K. & Barron, A. (Eds.) Variational Pragmatics: A focus on regional varieties in pluricentric languages, 269-306. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

    Both Venezuelan and Argentinean speakers expressed solidarity more than deference when inviting their interlocutor. Argentineans, however, used more solidarity politeness strategies than Venezuelans who preferred to negotiate an invitation. Insisting and direct strategies that boosted face were common in Argentinean role plays. These strategies were supplemented with supporting acts with information to entice their interlocutor to accept.

    • Reprimands and reponses

    García, C. (2004). “Ché, mirá, vos sabés que no voy a poder”: How Argentineans Refuse an Invitation. Hispania, 90 (3), 551-564.

    In role plays in which participants rotated roles of employee and reprimanding boss, this study found that speakers from Buenos Aires utilize bald on record strategies when in the boss role. Women were less aggressive than males in this power role. When responding to a reprimand, speakers chose to use solidarity-building strategies with no aggravators and many mitigators. No gender differences were found in responses. In sum, these speakers gave more priority to assuming power than the need to be liked.

    • Requests for service

    Yates, A. (2015). Pragmatic variation in service encounters in Buenos Aires, Argentina. IU   Working Papers in Linguistics. 

    Examines pragmatic variation in the use of requests for service and forms of address in Buenos Aires Spanish. Data collected from two small shops. It looks at pragmatic variation in the use of pronominal forms.


    • Deixis / discourse

    Carranza, I. E. (1997). Conversación y deixis de discurso. Córdoba: Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina.

    Focusing on discourse markers, this study finds that some discourse markers mark new information (e.g., che, ahora, entonces, sabés, lo que pasa) and others old information (e.g., ¿viste? ¿no?). Additionally, these discourse markers have discursive functions such as marking turn-taking.Politenes


    • Cortesía en contextos institucionales

    In interactions between clients and civil servants, this study finds that directives are not only mitigated linguistically, but also paralinguistically with gestures, smiles, and gaze. In terms of politeness, clients were more oriented to affiliation whereas civil servants tended to autonomy

    Ferrer, M. C. (2003). El discurso de la cortesía en puestos de atención al público en Argentina. In D. Bravo (Ed.), Actos del Primer Coloquia del Programa EDICE (pp. 315-331). Stockholm: Stockholm University.


    • Small talk

    Rigatuso, E. M. (2011). Conversación de contacto y variación situacional: la construcción de identidad en dos dominios interaccionales del español bonaerense actual. In García, C. & Placencia, M. E. (Eds.), 243-276. Buenos Aires: Editorial Dunken.

    The focus of analysis I this study is the construction of identity through small talk in university and commercial settings. In each setting, interlocutors made small talk in order to negotiate their roles and identities in each context such as student, professor, client, and merchant. In the first setting, dyads produced less small talk if interlocutors were intimates. In commercial settings, interlocutors marked identities with forms of address such as nicknames and don/doña.


    • Discourse markers

    Boretti, S. (1999). El propósito de ¿me entendés? en el español de la Argentina. Oralia, 2, 139-154.

    Following the Chodorowska´s (1997) analysis of Peninsular Spanish ¿me entiendes?, this study supports the positive politeness associated with ¿me entendés?. Additionally, Boretti finds that there are both negative and positive politeness uses of this discourse marker. Specifically, it can be employed to either mitigate or intensify a speech act.

  • Bolivia

    Bolivia hosts many native languages that are recognized officially by the government such as Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, Guarani, and 33 others. The primarily indigenous population of Bolivia and its landlocked position among Paraguay and the Andes lends itself to rich linguistic diversity. Indeed, approximately 62 percent of the total population identifies as indigenous and another 23 percent identify as mestizo.

    Pragmatics of Bolivian Spanish has had a contribution from Critical Discourse Analysis which analyzed the variation in government officials’ use of forms of address among indigenous and white mestizo people.


     Speech acts

    • Directives

    Placencia, M. E. (2002). Desigualdad en el trato de directivas en la atención al público en La Paz. In In Placencia, M. E. & Bravo, D. Actos de habla y la cortesía en español, (pp. 193-208). Muenchen: Lincom Europa.

    In Bolivian institutional speech, government officials use different discourse strategies to address indigenous and mestizo-white audiences. Within three institutions, indigenous people were addressed with familiar forms (tú) without any formulaic expressions of politeness. Additionally, officials generally used more direct expressions of directives when addressing indigenous people. On the other hand, officials used indirect directives and formal pronouns when addressing white mestizos. This tendency appears to be a politeness strategy that marks the “other”.

  • Chile

    Chile is located in the Southern Cone of South America between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 18 million people occupy this country, many of which live in its capital, Santiago. In addition to the main landmass within South America, Chile also includes its territories, Easter Island and a portion of Antarctica.

    In recent years the study of Chilean pragmatics has developed, primarily focusing on the Santiago region. Authors have treated politeness, discourse markers (cachái), and vocatives.

    The table below provides an overview of studies that have examined one aspect of pragmatics across regions of Chile. 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).

    Pragmatic Variation by Region in Chile


    Pragmatic Target


    Method of Data Collection

    Main Results

    Myre Jorgenson & Aarli (2011)



    Corpus study, pragmatic variation of discourse

    In this contrastive study between vocative use among adolescents from Madrid and Santiago, girls used vocatives with less frequency than males from Santiago. Huevón/a, Loco/a, and Culiado/a were the most frequently used, primarily occurring at the end of an utterance. In contrast, the speakers from Madrid used vocatives in utterance initial, mid-utterance, and utterance final position. Overall, Madrid speakers utilize vocatives to gain the floor and negotiate information with their interlocutors more than the Chilean speakers.

    Mondaca Becerra, Méndez Carrasco & de Lourdes Rivadeneira Valenzuela (2015)

    Discourse marker cachái

    Varieties of Chilean Spanish

    Sociolinguistic interviews

    Cachái, the vos form of the verb, cachar, has been utilized as a discourse marker by Chilean speakers. This study outlines the use of this marker as an attention grabber, an approval request, a proposition reinforcer, reformulator, and to organize discourse. Additionally, it can be used to introduce new information (e.g., Porque CAcachái queàto una vez eso, CAcacháià, con un gallo como me gustaba). While women and men used this marker with similar frequency, speakers from Valparaíso used it with the most frequency. Nevertheless, cachái was present in the data from all regions of Chile.

    Aguilar Peña (2015)



    Sociolinguistic variation by age

    This study contrasted the politeness strategies among senior citizens (60-67 years old) and young people (18-19 years old) in the context of a debate. Speakers from the older generation employed more positive politeness strategies, whereas the younger generation utilized more grammatical mitigations. Nevertheless, the younger participants used some positive politeness strategies such as searching for common ground, laughing, highlighting another’s idea, and direct approval of someone’s idea.



    Aguilar Peña, P. (2015). Estrategias de cortesía verbal utilizadas en debates semiautados de jóvenes y adultos mayores de Santiago de Chile. Lenguaje, 43(1), 111-136.

    Mondaca Becerra, L. A., Méndez Carrasco, A. P., & de Lourdes Rivadeneira Valenzuela, M. J. (2015). “No es muletilla, es marcador, ¿cachái?. Análisis de la función pragmática del marcador discursivo conversacional cachái en el español de Chile. Literatura y Lingüística, 32, 233-258.

    Myre Jorgenson, A. & Aarli, G. (2011). Los vocativos en el lenguaje juvenil de Santiago de Chile y Madrid. In C. García & M. E. Placencia (Eds.), Estudios de variación pragmática en español. Buenos Aires: Editorial Dunken.

  • Colombia

    Colombia is a country located in the far northwest of South America. Colombia is bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the North by the Atlantic Ocean, through the Caribbean Sea; and to the west by Panama and the Pacific Ocean. Colombia is also the only country in South America that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It is the fourth-largest country in South America (after Brazil, Argentina, and Peru), with an area seven times greater than that of New England; more than twice that of France; or just slightly smaller than Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington States combined. Not only is Colombia large in area, but it also has a large population, containing more people than any other South American country except Brazil. The three largest cities in Colombia are Bogotá, the capital, Medellín, and Barranquilla.

    The pragmatics of Colombia Spanish includes an analysis of requests and different aspects of conversation and includes an analysis of verbal and non-verbal strategies to communicate.

    Speech Acts

    • Requests: In Barranquilla (Escamilla et al., 2004), Pasto (Delgado, 1995) and Bucaramanga (Méndez-Vallego, 2007).

    Conversational Organization

    • Evidentiality in conversation (dizque): Travis (2006)
    • Discourse markers (o sea, bueno, pues, entonces): Travis (2005)
    • Language of football: (Briceño Jáuregi, 1985)
    • Leave-taking: Fitch (1990, 1991)
    • Openings in colloquial conversation: Escamilla et al. (2004)
    • Spoken styles: Lozano (1965)


    • Syntax/pragmatics: Diminutives (Travis, 2004), Subject expression (Travis, 2005)
  • Ecuador

    Ecuador is located within the Andes along with Colombia and Peru. Like other Andean countries, indigenous languages such as Quichua and Shuar are recognized as official languages along with Spanish. Though Quito is the capital, Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador.

    Pragmatics of Ecuadorian Spanish includes the analysis of implicatures in doctor-patient interactions, interpersonal value of insistence, and discourse markers from Quechuan influence.

     The table below provides an overview of studies that have examined one aspect of pragmatics across regions of Ecuador. 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).

    Pragmatic Variation by Region in Ecuador


    Pragmatic Target


    Method of Data Collection

    Main Results

    Placencia (2011)

    Insistence, invitations, offers


    Participant observation, natural discourse, interview, ethnography of communication, sociopragmatics

    Insistence represents a pragmatic strategy that builds interpersonal connection and demonstrates how much the insister cares about the interlocutor. In social events, invitations, and suggestions, insistence was a common practice for interlocutors with high confianza with one another. In contrast, insisting to give a food or drink was restricted only to older interlocutors.

    Lipski (2014)

    Discourse markers, -ca, -tan

    Otavalo, Imbabura

    Translation task

    Two discourse markers have emerged from Quechua contact in the Andean highlands, -ca and ­–tan. The first marker originates from the Quechua topicalizer –ka, which also indicates topic or assumed information. The second marker derived from the functions of Quechua –pash, meaning ‘also, even’, and –mi, an evidentiality and focus marker.

    Hardin (2013)

    Patient complaints, Advice


    Longitudinal observation of doctor-patient interactions and participant observation

    This study focuses on contextualized patient complaints that depend heavily on generalized implicatures. In particular, health complaints appealed to the Maxim of Quantity by indicating an issue and a probable cause. Health advice, on the other hand, appealed to the Maxim of Relation and was initiated by the patient. Each of these discourse sequences ended with the physician and patient checking and verifying the interpretation of their issue and advice after passing over biomedical advice.



    Placencia, M. E. (2011). La insistencia entre familiares y amigos en el español quiteño: ¿de la interconexión hacia la autonomía? In C. García & M. E. Placencia (Eds.), Estudios de variación pragmática en español. Buenos Aires: Editorial Dunken.

    Lipski, J. M. (2014). Syncretic discourse markers in Kichwa-influenced Spanish: Transfer vs. emergence. Lingua, 151, 216-239.

    Hardin, K. J. (2013). What goes unsaid: Expression of complaints and advice about health in Eastern Ecuador. Intercultural Pragmatics, 10(4). 569-591.


  • Paraguay

    Surrounded by Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil, Paraguay is landlocked in the heart of South America. Many of Paraguay’s total population of approximately 7 million are bilingual in both Spanish and Guaraní, which are both officially recognized. A third of this population resides in the capital, Asunción.

    Currently there is no research on Pragmatics in Paraguay. If you have researched pragmatics or discourse in this country and would like to contribute to this page, please email Prof. César Félix-Brasdefer (

  • Peru

    Peru is located in the Andean region of South America along with Colombia and Ecuador. In addition to Spanish, Quechua and Aymara are officially recognized. Its multiethnic population is estimated to be 31.2 million, composed of people of Amerindian, European, African and Asian descent. Its capital, Lima, was the center of the Spanish colonization; it represented the capital during the early periods of colonization.

    Pragmatics of Peruvian Spanish has treated discursive practices in multiethnic communities. For example, participant observation studies observe the neutral use of Spanish in public discourse in multiethnic communities, and additionally the use of riddles to develop the sociocultural awareness of children. Lastly, a critical discourse analysis observes the use of polarizing stereotypes of the other in news media outlets.

    The table below provides an overview of studies that have examined one aspect of pragmatics across regions of Peru. 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).

    Pragmatic Variation by Region in Peru


    Pragmatic Target


    Method of Data Collection

    Main Results

    La Riva González (2013)


    Cuzco (Surimana, Ccachin)

    Participant observation

    Riddles, or watuchi, is a speech event realized by children under 5 years old that serves to socialize and to construct a semiotic directory that can later be enriched. This practice develops their cognitive and social beings through collective knowledge in their community. Additionally, children root themselves as cultural beings through these performances.

    Browne Sartori, Inunza Moraga, & Hernández Monsalve (2013)

    Social construction of reality in news media


    Critical Discourse Analysis of institutionalized discourse

    In this comparative analysis of news discourse among Chilean and Peruvian media outlets, this study outlines the creation of national identity and reality. It finds that both countries construct a national identity through separation rather than inclusion. Specifically, the reports on the trapped Chilean miners reflected the journalist’s Peruvian world view via their own stereotypes and prejudices regarding the situation. Both countries tend to focus on the positive aspects of their country (e.g., vencedores, buenos, solidarios y luchadores), whereas they limit other countries to their negative stereotype (e.g., poco honestos, faltos de sinceridad, pobres e inferiores).

    Emlen (2015)

    Asamblea ‘community meeting’, private and public discourse

    Southern Peru

    Participant observation

    Asamblea is a monthly cultural practice in Southern Peruvian communities that creates a semiotic distinction between public and private domains. Particularly, it maintains and cultivates a sense of community where private members are able to discuss issues of public importance. The separation of these domains is reflected in language use; Spanish is used in pubic domains, whereas Quechua and Matsigenka is used privately. Community members view Spanish as impartial given that it is not the native tongue of anyone. On the other hand, the selection of Quechua or Matsigenka separates individuals in this intercultural community.

    de los Heros Canseco (2001)


    Cuzco, Lima


    To analyze gender differences in the execution and reception of compliments, this study utilized a questionnaire of compliments of varying degrees of imposition. Compliments were used as a formulaic politeness strategy to build solidarity in both Lima and Peru. Men gave more compliments to women, whereas women gave compliments to both men and women equally. The overall total of compliments among genders was similar. Women used emphatic compliments more frequently than men. Compliments were primarily about the interlocutor’s abilities.

    García (1991)

    Requests, politeness


    Role plays

    When making a request, Peruvian speakers preferred to use deference strategies over solidarity strategies. On the other hand, solidarity strategies were preferred when responding to a request, either refusing it or accepting it.

    García (1996)

    Reprimands, reprimand responses, politeness


    Role plays

    Participants preferred solidarity strategies over deference when reprimanding while simultaneously threatening their interlocutor’s negative face. The reprimanding pragmalinguistic strategies of these speakers were “authoritative while maintaining friendliness”. Men were generally more authoritative than women, which showed a “business” versus “friend” distinction.
    When responding to a reprimand, participants were deferential and threatened their own negative face. Again, there was a striking gender difference in responses in which men challenged the reprimand where women accepted it.

    García (2009a)

    Blaming, politeness


    Role play

    In the onset of blaming, participants violated their interlocutor’s identity and respectability face via claiming authority. However, participants violated the equity principle less at the end of blaming interactions, preferring more rapport-maintenance strategies. Gender differences were observed in rebuttals of blaming, where women used strong face-threatening strategies whereas men did not as frequently.

    García (2009b)




    Role play

    Through congratulating, speakers enhanced their own identity and respectability face while simultaneously enhancing their interlocutor’s respectability face as well. These strategies enhance in-group relationships, which is highly valued by these Peruvian speakers.

    García (2010)

    Sympathy, politeness


    Role play

    Through the relational act of sympathy expressions, speakers enhanced their interlocutor’s identity and respectability face by committing to the speech act. In turn, this enhancement also benefitted their own identity and respectability face. In terms of gender variation, men preferred strategies that demonstrated their respect whereas women utilized empathetic strategies.



    Browne Sartori, R., Inzunza Moraga, A., & Hernández Monsalve, H. (2013). Construcción de identidad y producción de discursos periodísticos en diarios de Chile y Perú. Alteridades, 23(46), 97-109.

    de los Heros Canseco, S. (2001). Discurso, identidad y género en el castellano peruano. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.

    Emlen, N. Q. (2015). Public discourse and community formation in a trilingual Matsigenka-Quechua-Spanish frontier community of Southern Peru. Language in Society, 44, 679-703.

    García, C. (1991). Making a request and responding to it: A case study of Peruvian Spanish speakers. Journal of Pragmatics, 19, 127-152.

    García, C. (1996). Reprimanding and responding to a reprimand: A case study of Peruvian Spanish speakers. Journal of Pragmatics, 26, 663-697.

    García C. (2009a). The performance of a rapport-challenging act (blaming) by Peruvian Spanish speakers. Journal of Politeness Research, 5. 217-241.

    García C. (2009b). ¿Qué::? ¿Cómo que te vas a casar? Congratulations and rapport management: A case study of Peruvian Spanish speakers. Pragmatics, 19(2), 197-222.

    García, C. (2010). ‘Cuente conmigo’: The expression of sympathy by Peruvian Spanish speakers. Journal of Pragmatics, 42, 408-425.

    La Riva González, P. (2013). Watuchi. Enigmas y saberes infantiles en los Andes del sur del Perú. Bulletin de l’Institutfrançaisd’études andines, 42(3), 369-388.

  • Uruguay

    Uruguay shares the southeastern region of South America with Argentina and Chile, surrounded by Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean. Of this country’s 3.3 million people, 1.8 million residents live in its capital, Montevideo. With an area of 68,000 square miles, it is the second smallest country in South America after Suriname.

    Pragmatics of Uruguayan Spanish studies requests, apologies, politeness, pickup lines, and doctor-patient interactions in the region of Montevideo and other varieties.

    The table below provides an overview of studies that have examined one aspect of pragmatics across regions of Uruguay. 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).

    Pragmatic Variation by Region in Uruguay


    Pragmatic Target


    Method of Data Collection

    Main Results

    Márquez Reiter (2000)

    Requests, apologies, politeness


    Open role plays

    In a comparison of apologies and requests in British English and Uruguayan Spanish, it was found that there are gender and regional differences. For requests, conventional directness was preferred for both varieties; however Uruguayan speakers utilized more direct strategies than British English speakers in interactions with familiars. For apologies, the severity of the offense dictated whether the act would occur and how it would be realized. British English speakers, overall, apologized more than Uruguayan speakers. Females in both varieties tended more to negative face than males by apologizing more frequently. In general, British English speakers tended to negative face more than Uruguayan speakers.

    Márquez Reiter (1997)



    Discourse completion test

    Compared to British English speakers, Uruguayans prefer positive politeness strategies. These strategies are motivated by their desire to be approved by others as well as their desire for their close friends and partners to be well liked.

    Márquez Reiter (2002a)

    Conventionally indirect requests


    Role plays

    In a contrastive study between Peninsular and Uruguayan Spanish conventionally indirect requests, it was found that there were minimal linguistic differences between the realization of head acts despite perceptions that Spaniards are more direct than Latin Americans. Uruguayans, however, preferred more tentative and lengthy requests than Peninsular speakers.

    Márquez Reiter (2002b)

    Politeness, requests


    Role plays

    In role play situations of varying degrees of imposition, this study finds that the speakers of Uruguayan Spanish from Montevideo use positive politeness strategies in requests to enhance and emphasize the solidarity and intimacy between speakers. Indeed, there is an inverse relationship between social distance and request directness in that dyads with less social distance use more direct deliveries of requests.

    Achugar (2002)

    Pickup lines, politness

    Varieties of Uruguayan Spanish

    Perception interviews

    In this study, compliments involving food metaphors were considered the least polite (e.g., Sos un bombón), whereas religiously-derived compliments were more polite. Additionally, she evaluates changing social power degrees among men and women over time through compliments, finding that old-fashioned food-derived compliments are no longer in practice or perceived as polite. This decline indicates a shift in power with more female autonomy.

    Madfes (2002, 2003)

    Doctor-Patient Interviews


    Video-taped natural conversations, critical discourse analysis

    This study found a difference of symmetry in doctor-patient interactions that was motivated by the doctor’s practice. Interactions with homeopathic doctors represented symmetrical behavior, whereas patients interacting with prototypical Western doctors experienced assymetrical exchanges. In sum, homeopathic doctors are more oriented to affiliation than Western doctors.



    Achugar, M. (2002). Piropos as metaphors for gender roles in Spanish-speaking cultures. Pragmatics, 11, 127-137.

    Madfes, I. (2002). La regulación del poder en la entrevista médica. Paper presented at the IX Conference of the Argentinean Association of Linguistics. Córdoba.

    Madfes, I. (2003). La confrontación de imágenes en una interacción asimétrica: ¿Médico y paciente: Afiliación o conflicto? In D. Bravo (Ed.), Actas del Primer Coloquio del Programa EDICE (pp. 172-185). Stockholm: Stockholm University.

    Márquez Reiter, R. (1997). Politeness phenomena in British English and Uruguayan Spanish: The case of requests. Miscelanea: A Journal of English and American Studies, 18, 159-167.

    Márquez Reiter, R. (2000). Linguistic politeness in Britain and Uruguay: a contrastive study of requests and apologies. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Márquez Reiter, R. (2002a). A contrastive study of indirectness in Spanish: Evidence from Uruguayan and Peninsular Spanish. Pragmatics, 12(2), 135-151.

    Márquez Reiter, R. (2002b). Estrategias de cortesía en el español hablado en Montevideo. In Placencia, M. E. & Bravo, D. Actos de habla y la cortesía en español, (pp. 89-106). Muenchen: Lincom Europa.

  • Venezuela

    Venezuela, hosting approximately 33 million people, is located in South America, surrounded by Colombia, Brazil, and Guyana. Its geographical location places Venezuela in a zone of high biodiversity with the Andes Mountains, Amazon Basin, plains and the Caribbean coast. Its capital, Caracas, is its largest city.

    Pragmatics of Venezuelan Spanish has treated politeness in few speech acts (e.g., invitations, complaints, and requests) in the variety present in Caracas.

    The table below provides an overview of studies that have examined one aspect of pragmatics across regions of Venezuela. 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).

    Pragmatic Variation by Region in Venezuela


    Pragmatic Target


    Method of Data Collection

    Main Results

    García (2008)

    Invitations, politeness


    Role play

    Venezuelan and Argentinean Spanish speakers both typically use positive politeness strategies during an invitation. In this contrastive study, Venezuelan speakers used less solidarity politeness strategies and impositives. This lack of solidarity strategies may be perceived as coercion in intercultural settings. Further, negotiation of an invitation was preferred in this group, whereas Argentineans invited and negotiated. Additionally, Argentineans provided more supporting moves to encourage their interlocutor to accept.

    Bolívar (2001)




    This study analyzed the appropriate complaints in a variety of situations. These situations were coded by public/private space, low/high social distance, high/low affect, and motive of the offense (i.e., an action was promised or it was expected from custom). At the minimum, participants complained by using an exhortative such as a warning or asking for a repair for their mistake. In each context, the use of alerters and requests for repair varied accordingly. However, it appeared that the participants had varying behavior according to what they felt was public or a private space.

    García (2001)

    Service requests and responses


    Open role play

    In service encounter contexts, participants balanced both solidarity and deference politeness strategies by threatening both their own positive and negative face. Nevertheless, the imposition of the request was frequently mitigated externally to show support.
    In responding to a request, participants used primarily solidarity politeness strategies in the head act with mitigation moves.



    Bolívar, A. (2001). Los reclamos como actos de habla en el español de Venezuela. In Placencia, M. E. & Bravo, D. (Eds.), Actos de habla y cortesía en español. (pp. 37-53). Muenchen: Lingcom Europa.

    García, C. (2001). La expression de camaradería y solidaridad: cómo los venezolanos solicitan un servicio y responden a la solicitud de servicio. In Placencia, M. E. & Bravo, D. (Eds.), Actos de habla y cortesía en español. (pp. 55-88). Muenchen: Lingcom Europa.

    García, C. (2008). Different realizations of solidarity politeness: Comparing Venezuelan and Argentinean invitations. In Schnedier, K. & Barron, A. (Eds.), Variational Pragmatics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.