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Postpositive dig

In a regional variant of aarhusian Danish, as described by Ditte Zachariassen, the pronoun dig (‘you’) pronounced [ˈdɑ͜i] has a special function when it occurs as the last word in a turn-at-talk. This phenomenon has been observed in utterance types such as questions, responses to questions, and syntactically simple evaluations.  

Dig occurs systematically in those interactions where there is something at play for the speakers. The function may be to select the intended receiver of an utterance, in which case it could be classified as a turn allocating marker. This function is exemplified below: 


01   Naw:   [(>det l-<) det ser ri:gtig sjov ud når han laver]= 
            'it looks really funny when he does'

02   Asm:   [afrikanere er seje til at danse↘                ] 
            'africans are really good at dancing' 

03   Naw:   =det=det hans lærer↗ 
            'it’s it’s his teacher' 

04   Zah:   >er ha- er han< dansker↘ 
            'is he is he Danish' 

05   Naw:   se når han var lil[le ] 
            'see when he was little' 

06   Asm:   [han er]   ↑norsker   ogs dig↘ 
             He  be.PRS norwegian too you  

07          ((ASM drejer hovedet og kigger på ZAH's ansigt i stedet for på skærmen)) 
            ((ASM turns her head and looks at ZAH’s face instead of the screen)) 

08   Naw:   [(↑>what<)] 

09   Zah:   [(la:k)   ] 

10   Naw:   >han er norsker< ((sagt lidt hårdt)) 
            'He is Norwegian' (harshly) 

Nawal (Naw), Asma (Asm) and Zahra (Zah) are sitting by a computer and looking at pictures of a dancing boy. Earlier in the conversation Nawal told the other girls that the dancing boy is from Norway, but Zahra asks anyway in line 4 if he’s Danish. Asma responds by saying han er ↑no̲rsker ogs dig (’he’s Norwegian too you’) turning her head to look at Zahra (lines 6-8). Norsker (‘Norwegian’) is pronounced with a high pitch as well as stress, which in combination with Asma’s head turning suggests that the question is problematic, in other words, that the question is stupid. 

By using postpositive dig Asma selects and puts focus on Zahra, hereby expressing that Zahra should address Asma’s response, in order to explain why she is asking a question she should know the answer to already (Nawal already explained that the dancer is from Norway). 

The function of dig is thus to select the recipient as the next speaker, and that she should deal with what the current speaker just said. It is not used to specify who exactly the turn is directed at, but to clarify that the current turn is over, and that a response from the recipient is expected. Because postpositive dig is used in problematic interactional situations its function is predominantly of negative selection.

Sources and further readings 

Zachariassen (2016) writes about the Aarhusian Danish variant, where postpositive dig is used. 

Relevant entries

Forms > Clauses and sentences > Sentence diagrams

Forms > Word classes/Parts of speech > Pronouns

Forms > Word classes/Parts of speech > Interjections and particles

Functions > Actions > Evaluating actions > Criticism and accusation

Functions > Turn-taking > Speaker selection

Functions > Turn-taking > Turn-taking positions > Possible closing