Leísmo ("using le") is a dialectal variation in the Spanish language that occurs largely in Spain. It involves using the indirect object pronoun le in place of the (standard) masculine direct object pronoun lo, especially when the direct object refers to a male person.
Leísmo with animate objects is both common and prescriptively accepted in many dialects spoken in Spain, but uncommon in most others. Leísmo is always rejected in linguistic prescription when the direct object to which it refers is not an animate object.
- Veo al chico ("I see the boy") → Lo veo (standard Spanish, with lo)
- Veo al chico ("I see the boy") → Le veo (leísmo, common in Spain; other regions prefer lo veo)
- Veo el árbol ("I see the tree") → Le veo (not accepted in linguistic prescription—the tree is not a person)
The use of le in dialects where leísmo is common typically correlates with the use of the preposition a for animate direct objects. That is, if a dialect features leísmo, le replaces masculine direct objects that would have been preceded by a if expressed in full. (For this "personal a", see Spanish prepositions.)
Le is properly speaking the epicene indirect object pronoun, used for both masculine and feminine referents, whether animate or inanimate. In certain dialects it can be replaced by lo or la, i.e.—dila que la quiero—but this usage is restricted to informal speech.
- Le voy a dar un regalo ("I am giving him/her a present")
- La voy a dar un regalo ("I am giving her a present", in some dialects; see laísmo)
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