Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

An Aspect of Palace Protocol: Forms of Address at the Courts of Philip IV and Charles II

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2005), 82, (4), 429–446.

Abstract

This study argues that the system of second person reference operating at court is complex, rigidly codified and embedded within the general framework of palace protocol. In other words, second person reference cannot properly be isolated from the many other ways in which individuals at court are treated and deference is expressed. It also discusses how address forms are deployed within specified domains such as the households of the King and Queen, and concludes that custom and practice within these domains is not transferable to other domains within the palace, to the palace generally, or, most certainly, to the wider Spanish society. The Habsburg obsession with etiquette further suggests that courtiers are generally unlikely to employ forms known not to reflect the status of their interlocutor, thereby allowing psycho-pragmatic factors such as state of mind a rather meagre role in the way second person reference is exploited.

En este trabajo se propone que el complejo sistema de tratamiento operante en la corte no solo está rigurosamente codificado, sino que se encuentra inserto en el amplio marco de la cortesía y del protocolo palaciego. Es decir, la manera en que los cortesanos se dirigen unos a otros difícilmente puede estudiarse sin tener en cuenta las otras muchas formas en que han de tratarse y expresar el respeto. De la investigación del tratamiento, en ámbitos muy concretos como la casa de la Reina, se deduce que es protocolo no transferible a otros ámbitos palaciegos, como tampoco lo es a la corte en su totalidad ni, obviamente, a la sociedad de la época. La obsesión de los habsburgos por la etiqueta sugiere además que el cortesano rara vez se dirige a otro sin el debido respeto, lo cual, desde el punto de vista del tratamiento, naturalmente resta importancia a la influencia de los factores sico-pragmáticos.

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Williams, Lynn