Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Cross-Dialectal Usage of Augmentative and Diminutive Suffixes in Spanish Online: an Exercise in Corpus Linguistics Public Deposited

Alternative Title
  • Using SketchEngine, 10 million tokens were compiled from Reddit in 2021 and annotated from seven nations representing seven major dialectal regions of the Spanish language (Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Spain) and sorted into regional sub-corpora. A categorization scheme was devised for the semantic functions of augmentatives and diminutives in Spanish, which, once verified, was then applied to a corpus sample, yielding results that confirmed that different dialectal regions of Spanish speakers do exhibit statistically significant regional variations in the augmentative and diminutive suffixes they prefer, the rate at which they augment or diminish, and the meanings they most and least often convey with such suffixes.

    Notable among the findings is the distinct Colombian trend of using augmentative and diminutive suffixes sparingly but with focused purpose, the near-universal propensity of Spanish speakers to express positive attitudes through Affectionate diminutive use while expressing negative ones through Contemptuous augmentation, the monopoly of Magnitude and Accentuation in both diminutive and especially augmentative usage, and the cross-dialectal conflation of Magnitudinal and Accentual augmentation, perhaps due to metaphorical mapping. An important corollary finding is that Peninsular Spanish maintains distinct currents from Magnitude and Accentuation to traditionally dedicated augmentatives (-ón/ote/azo and -ísimo, respectively) whereas in all studied American dialects, to varying degrees, the distinction has eroded and the semantic flows comingle among the augmentative suffixes.

Date Awarded
  • 2023-03-23
Academic Affiliation
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Granting Institution
Last Modified
  • 2023-04-21
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