Addressing others in Gauchês: forms of address in traditional Gaucho songs from Southern Brazil

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Acauan Dreyer, Cristina
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The second person singular (2sg) address system of the Gauchês dialect, spoken in the southernmost region of Brazil, presents a hybrid form consisting of tu followed by third person singular verb morphology (T-V), in addition to tu (T-T), você (V-V), and o senhor/a senhora (S/M-V). Previous work suggests that the formality of the situation and the social distance between interlocutors (Menon, 2000), as well as their gender (Menon & Loregian-Penkal, 2002) and socio-economic background (Amaral, 2003) determine the use of these variants. Expanding on these studies and on the analyses of lyrics to explore language variation (Moyna, 2015; Pontes & Brito, 2000), the present variationist study investigates the linguistic and extralinguistic factors that may explain variation in the use of 2sg forms of address in 115 traditional Gaucho songs spanning five decades. Results from a logistic regression analysis in R, using random forests and conditional inference trees, suggest that subject, music subgenre, song theme, rhyme, and decade of the recording predict variation in our corpus. The present study contributes to the existing body of work on 2sg forms of address in Brazil (e.g. da Costa, 2013; da Silva, 2019), and illustrates how linguistic variation and local identity are intertwined in music.
Second person address, Social variation, Brazilian Portuguese, Regional dialect, Regional music