In both French and Spanish, there exist two pronouns of the second person singular form of address: tu/vous and /usted, respectively. While the first of each pair is typically considered the ‘informal’ pronoun of address, the second is more ‘formal’, creating a complicated distinction that every person must resolve when speaking. This project analyzes the difficulty of choosing between the two forms of address through the lens of politeness theory, emphasizing the concepts of solidarity and power as well as other important factors that contribute to this complex decision. To show how the pronouns are continuing to evolve, I study the use of the forms of address in storefront advertisements in Nantes, France and Salamanca, Spain. I explore why, in the peninsular Spanish of this region, is found in the majority of the storefronts studied, whereas vous dominates the advertisements of stores in metropolitan French. I ultimately conclude that while vous remains the unmarked form of address used in advertising language to maintain respectful distance between the customer and the business in France, the use of is clearly on the rise in Spain, indicating what we shall call a “created solidarity” between the client and the store.


Uber, Diane

Second Advisor

Duval, Marion


French and Francophone Studies; Spanish


French Linguistics | Spanish Linguistics


Forms of address, pronouns, politeness theory, language of advertising, tu, vous, tú, usted, storefront advertisements

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



© Copyright 2015 Charlotte M. Klein