new quotatives

Hengeveld, P.C. P.C.Hengeveld at UVA.NL
Tue Nov 18 15:33:52 UTC 2008

Dear colleagues,

I am passing on the request below on behalf of my colleague Ingrid van Alphen, who is studying (the rise of) quotative markers from a pragmatic and crosslinguistic perspective. She is looking forward to your reactions at i.c.vanalphen at

Best, Kees Hengeveld


Dear colleagues,

For my research project on 'new quotatives' I am looking for cross-linguistic/typological input for the Inventarisation of 'new'quotatives. These are 'new' items in languages that may be used as 'quotatives' = linguistic elements that introduce (constructed) Direct Reported Speech and Thought, as in English 'I'm like: "what the hell is this?!".  In Dutch ('van') and English ('like', 'goes'') this grammaticalization or pragmatization process of lexical elements started around 1975. But this process took place in many other languages as well (e.g. in Hebrew, Polish, Icelandic to name but a few) so we can speak of a real global innovation. I am particularly interested in the lexical elements and their semantic 'roots':

Some examples of lexical elements used as new quotatives and 4 (?) semantic bases:  
Comparative: 'like' Eng; 'comme', 'genre' Fr.; 'van', Dutchess, 'typ', 'liksom',  Swedish; 
Demonstrative/deictic: 'so' Ger; 'zo' Dutch;  'assim' Port; 'tipo+asssim'* Port Br.; 'takoj' Rus, 'kaze*' Hebr.; et (tä)        
Quantifying markers: 'all' Eng, 'täiega' Est (totally); 'bara' Icel (just,only), 'Bare' Nor, 'vaa(n)' Fin (just).
Other Sources: 'o sea' Sp, 'go' Engl.; venir (Sp)

I would very much appreciate to receive information on this type of element in other languages, embedded in an example-sentence (preferably glossed) as in the following example from Russian:

Прикинь! Я подьезжаю а он такой типа "Всё ок, поехали”.
Imagine! I drive closer and he so like “All OK drive-Imp”
‘Can you imagine that! I drive closer and he is like “Everything is OK, let’s go”’

Some information about an (estimated) year of origin would also be helpful. Of course I will send a summary of the responses to the list and will acknowledge your help in a planned publication. 

Dr. Ingrid C. van Alphen
Linguistics>Sociolinguistics>Language & Gender
Spuistraat 210; 1012 VT Amsterdam
The Netherlands
fax:  (+31)-20-5253021 
i.c.vanalphen at  

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