Variation in interrogative adverbials: 'cuán', 'qué tan', 'cómo de','lo que' and 'lo'+adj./adv.+'que'
Cuán, qué tan, and cómo de are used to modify adverbs and adjectives in interrogatives. They are also used in embedded clauses along with lo que. Instances of these expressions were extracted from the Corpus del Español. In interrogatives, qué tan was the most frequent. The idea that cuán is archaic or limited to literary usage is not supported by these data. Cómo de is extremely infrequent except in Peninsular Spanish. In embedded clauses the frequency of these expressions appear in this order of frequency: lo que > qué tan > cuán > cómo de.
In an experiment speakers from Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela were shown 28 test sentences that contained different adverbial interrogatives. Their task was to choose the expression they preferred. These results correlate highly with the production data from the corpus. Choice of adverbial was moderated by gender and age as well.
Access to full experimental data related to this article can be found here:
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