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Share Paper 1008

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica, la tierra de la pura vida: A Study of the Expression "pura vida" in the Spanish of Costa Rica
Anna Marie Trester
61-69 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The primary goal of this paper is to isolate and identify the various uses of the phrase "pura vida" in the Spanish of Costa Rica, to determine its status as a discourse marker, and to explore its role within the language. Drawing from the work on discourse markers by Schiffrin (1987), Fraser (1990), and the work of Varela (1999) and Rojas (1989) in Costa Rica, this paper draws parallels between the expression and other markers that have been studied. Using discourse analysis, sociolinguistic theory, and language and identity analysis, the author isolates the specific functions served by this phrase in the Spanish of Costa Rica to understand how the phrase functions both socially and culturally. Although "pura vida" is employed widely in the Spanish-speaking world, it seems that this phrase has come to serve as a unique tool for expressing and marking identity within Costa Rica. Drawing from Eckert and McConnell-Ginet (1995), the paper's analysis illustrates the ways in which this phrase serves to create solidarity among speakers and manage discourse, as well as the important ways in which it may be employed to construct identity. Lastly, the paper explores the cultural circumstances that render such a tool useful and necessary.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the First Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Lotfi Sayahi
Table of contents
Printed edition: $180.00