Jag skulle säga i svenskt samtalsspråk


  • Eveliina Tolvanen


This study focuses on the previously uninvestigated Swedish construction jag skulle säga ‘I would say’ in talk-in-interaction. In a similar way to phrases such as the English I think, jag skulle säga can be deployed both as a main clause with a clausal or a phrasal object, and in contexts where it has similarities with discourse markers. In addition to its literal meaning, jag skulle säga can have a pragmatic function that allows the speaker to say something while at the same time presenting it as hypothetical or tentative. The aim of the study is to investigate the function(s) of jag skulle säga in Swedish talk-in-interaction. The theoretical framework of the study consists mainly of Interactional Linguistics (e.g., Couper-Kuhlen & Selting 2018). The data includes both everyday and institutional interactions in Swedish from Finland and Sweden. The research methods include a grammatical and sequential analysis of the TCUs where jag skulle säga occurs, and a further analysis of the larger interactional contexts of said TCUs.

The results show that jag skulle säga is, in general, quite rare, and is slightly more common in Finland-Swedish interactions than in the Sweden-Swedish data. In addition, jag skulle säga occurs in three main types of interactional contexts: in second-position answers after a question and a first answer, in certain first-position turns after a question and in epistemically asymmetrical contexts, where the speaker gives an approximation of something. Finally, jag skulle säga has a relatively stable epistemic function, namely to mark that an utterance is based on the individual speaker’s epistemic access (and in some cases primacy), while the speaker also implies that other people with epistemic access to the topic might phrase it differently. Therefore, the use of jag skulle säga also reduces the obligation of the co-participants to agree with said utterances.

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