By three means
The pragmatic functions of three Norwegian quotatives
Whereas research in the Anglophone world has concentrated on the global spread of like, this paper sets out to comparatively discuss three Norwegian quotative markers bare ‘just’, liksom ‘like’ and sånn ‘such/like (this/that)’. Similarly to like, the Norwegian quotatives derive from pragmatic particles which express a range of pragmatic functions, such as epistemic hedge, focus marker and filler. However, these functions are more specialized in the three Norwegian markers, so that each of them is less multifunctional than like.Working within an ‘Interactional Linguistics’ framework, we show that quotative bare is a speaker-oriented intensifying marker, expressing the speaker’s affective stance. As a quotative, it is primarily used with dramatic or emphatic quotations, but may also be used as a neutral quotative. Liksom is a marker of comparison and similarity. When it functions as a quotative, it may be used as a speaker-oriented hedge, expressing epistemic stance of approximation/uncertainty, or as a hearer-oriented marker, inviting the hearer to visualize the quoted material. Sånn is a speaker-oriented focus marker with a demonstrative or pointing function. In its quotative uses, it expresses epistemic stance of exactness/certainty. A quantitative comparison across three generations of speakers from Oslo shows that bare is the most frequently used quotative, and it also reveals clear generational differences, with adolescents being the primary users of all the quotatives.