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At (infinitive particle)

2020.04.30 | samtalegrammatik.dk

In Danish written language, the infinite particle at is obligatory in a noun phrase with a verb in the infinitive form. In talk-in-interaction, the infinitive particle occurs in the same position as in the written language and is pronounced å [ʌ]. This means that the pronunciation of the infinitive particle is the same as the most frequent pronunciation of the conjunction og ('and').

Below is an example of how å [ʌ] occurs before the verb stå ('stand') which is in the infinitive form. Before the example, Thomas (THO) is relaying how his dad is about to finish his formal training and does not know if he will get a job. In the glossing line, 'IFP' stands for infinitive particle, and 'INF' for the infinitive morpheme (on the verb). 

SAMTALEBANKEN | SAM2 | PREBEN_OG_THOMAS | 1081 ((ansigt-til-ansigt))

01   THO:   så   ka      han risikere å   stå      uden    noget
            then can.PRS he  risk-INF IFP stand.INF without anything-N
            'then he can risk standing without anything'

In order to show that the infinitive particle is pronounced [ʌ] in talk-in-interaction, we have simply transcribed it with the vowel å. The å-form is by far the most common way of pronouncing the infinitive particle in Danish talk-in-interaction. Occasionally, it can occur with a more [æ, a]-like pronunciation. 


Sources and further reading

Bruun (2018) is a comprehensive description of og/at.

Christensen og Christensen (2009), a grammar of Danish, adresses the fact that at can be pronounced with a [ʌ]-like vowel.

Hansen og Heltoft (2011) is a in-depth grammar of Danish which acknowledges that at is pronounced [ʌ].

Relevant entries 

Forms > Word Classes > Verbs

Forms > Word Classes > Interjections and particles

Functions > Cohesion

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