Medellín Cuenta con vos: El papel cambiante de voseo en la comunicación escrita

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Joseph R. Weyers
  • Biografía

    Professor of Spanish

    Co-Director, Global Scholars Department of Hispanic Studies

    College of Charleston Charleston, SC 29424 USA.


Voseo—the linguistic phenomenon of using subject vos and/or its corresponding verb forms and complements—is common in speech in Antioquia, Colombia, but it is non-normative for writing. Nonetheless, written voseo has a burgeoning presence in public in Medellín and has become the preferred form of address of the new mayoral administration (2016). Given the intimate link between language and culture, and Medellín’s 21st century transformation, it is logical that an increase in the prestige of Medellín on the national and international stage could result in increased prestige for its local dialect, emphasizing here the regional voseo. This study analyzes the Facebook posts of the Alcaldía de Medellín for its first seven months (January-July, 2016). The author read and documented the 667 messages posted during that time. Each use of an address form was documented   for the data presentation. The monthly totals of address forms show a growing trend of voseo usage and a decline in tuteo and hybrid forms. This increased use of voseo is examined through the lens of language change. For a language change to occur, some agent of change must introduce it. We propose that the Alcaldía de Medellín could possibly be the required agent that would marshal in a linguistic change, resulting in increased prestige for colloquial voseo in writing.


Palabras clave:
Voseo, forms of address, language change, Medellín, culture Voseo, formas de tratamiento, cambio lingüístico, Medellín, cultura

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