A diachronic corpus study of prenominal zo’n ‘so a’ in Dutch
Pathways and (inter)subjectification
Like its English counterpart such, Dutch zo’n has identifying and intensifying uses. The established pathway from the former to the latter is found to constitute a proportional rather than a discrete shift here. The strong presence of intensifying uses from the start, as compared to the older Dutch marker zulk, is argued to be due to preexisting constructions that are alike formally and convey intensification. Zo’n is also found to have a recognitional and an approximating use. The case is made that the former has evolved out of the identifying use and that the latter is a development which is independent from the other uses functionally but has modeled itself on them formally. Finally, it is argued that the semantic shift from identification to intensification is best captured by the well-known pathway from textual to expressive, although the unidirectionality of this cline is uncertain, and that the change from identification to recognition supports a recent proposal to distinguish immediate and extended intersubjectivity.