Pragmatic Mood Variation in Bilingual and Monolingual Yucatec Spanish
Keywords:contact variety, pragmatics, mood selection
While linguists (e.g. Michnowicz 2009, 2012; Solomon 1996, 1999; Klee 2009) have described some of the unique features of Yucatec Spanish related to the lexicon , the phonetic system, and syntactic structure, but no work has focused on pragmatics in this variety. The current study utilizes semantic/pragmatic interviews to investigate four cases of pragmatic mood alternation: Suspended Assertion, Reportative Distance, Individualized Reference, and Reactional Assertions. The results examined suggest important differences between monolingual and bilingual speaker reaction to pragmatic triggers. The bilingual Yucatec Maya/Spanish speakers’ perception of pragmatic change in mood varies between the four groups of pragmatic effects; the bilingual speakers were sensitive to Reactional Assertions and Reportative Distance but not sensitive to changes in Suspended Assertion or Individualized Reference. This demonstrates a difference in pragmatic sensitivity to mood selection between bilingual and monolingual speakers of this contact variety. Specifically, bilingual speakers select mood that patterns with monolingual speakers when it is syntactically motivated, but their mood selection differs in areas where this selection pragmatically motivated.
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