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EXPLORING THE DIFFERENT WAYS SPANISH INSTRUCTORS USE THE PRONOUN WE IN THE CLASSROOM

Abstract

Spanish language teachers use a variety of personal pronouns in their classes to address students including second person plural and singular in both Spanish and English; however, it has also been shown that Spanish teachers, as well as many other teachers, use the first person plural pronoun, we or nosotros, as a means to soften the imperatives and/or protect a student’s image. This study looks at the various ways native and non-native Spanish speaking instructors use the pronoun “we” in the classroom, when addressing students (you), referring to themselves and their students (inclusive we), or referring to themselves and an outside group of people (exclusive we). In analyzing the latter two uses of the pronoun “we”, the author compares them to the choice between using second person pronouns “tú” and “Usted” based on whether the speaker feels a connection or solidarity with the hearers. The data from the present study determines that the greater connection or familiarity the instructor feels with the students, the more likely the inclusive “we” is to be implemented. However, when the instructor identifies more with native speakers of the target language, the greater the chance an exclusive “we” will be used, creating distance between the instructor and students.

How to Cite

Reynolds-Case, A., (2012) “EXPLORING THE DIFFERENT WAYS SPANISH INSTRUCTORS USE THE PRONOUN WE IN THE CLASSROOM”, Journal of Second Language Acquisition and Teaching 19, p.24-35.

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Anne Reynolds-Case (Louisiana Tech University)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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