Den approximerande semantiken hos citatmarkören de e som i svenskan i Österbotten


  • Marion Kwiatkowski


This article discusses the quotative construction de e som (‘it is SOM (= as/like)’) in dialects of Swedish in Ostrobothnia in Finland. The quotative construction has a com-parative subordinating conjunction at its core (som, in its meaning and functional potential similar to English like) which determines its approximating quality as a quo-tative marker. I argue that the quotative construction de e som emerged from a clause marking general approximation that was reanalysed to introduce an approximation of someone's speech as a quotative. Throughout this process, de e som retained its approx-imating quality, which means that the quotative construction marks reduced speaker responsibility for the ensuing quoted content. This suggests that the need for reduced responsibility on the side of the speaker when presenting thoughts and speech is a driv-ing force in this development. In order to validate this assumption, I refer to quotatives with a comparative subordinating conjunction in different Germanic languages. I argue that the formation of quotatives with a similar structure constitutes a cross-linguistic strategy. I further investigate the quotative construction’s speaker profile and argue that the fact that de e som is used by speakers with an immigrant background should be interpreted as a sign that the quotative is productive and established in Ostrobothnian dialects.