Indirect speech with Konjunktiv I in CH and Vorarlberg

Alaedious

Senior Member
American English
Hello everyone!

In my readings, I've come across passages such as this:

"Bei der indirekten Redewiedergabe (Sie hat vorhin noch gesagt, sie ...) kann man die Konjunktivform verwenden, um klar zu machen, dass es sich um ein sinngemäßes Zitat handelt. Laut Duden-Grammatik (2005: 529) bevorzugen die meisten Sprecher aber in der mündlichen Alltagskommunikation die Indikativform."

It continues "hingegen findet sich der Konjunktiv 1 sie könn(e) – auffällig häufig jedoch in Vorarlberg und in der Schweiz, wo auch die Dialekte eine differenzierte Verwendung des Konjunktivs kennen, vereinzelt auch in Norddeutschland" (Atlas zur deutschen Alltagssprache)

I've read other such passages elsewhere. Does this suggest that the Swiss, when speaking Standard German, use the Konjunktiv I form for oral communication? Thanks for anything you might know!
 
Last edited:
  • sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    I've read other such passages elsewhere. Does this suggest that the Swiss, when speaking Standard German, use the Konjunktiv I form for oral communication?
    Well, as far as I know they will use simple present tense for reported speech in spoken language - but spoken language for them is almost a 100% dialect, and not standard language.

    So if they indeed use "könne" in standard language this should be restricted to written standard language (and I guess the link given by Frank78 is a statistic about written forms).

    I'm puzzled about your source (and Frank's site) suggesting that only the Swiss and Vorarlberg guys will use "könne" in indirect speech, hinting at Konjunktiv I being used in the dialects spoken there: that comes as some surprise, while it is true that both in Alemannic-Swabian and Bavarian-Austrian dialects Konjunktiv II is widely used (and different from its use in standard language) I am not aware of Konjunktiv I being used in indirect speech in any of those dialects.

    So I'm really curious now if any Swiss or Vorarlberg (or Swabian?) dialect speaker could confirm this.
     

    Tifoso Bonisolli

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Sorry, sokol, that's completely mistaken. It's precisely as Alaedious reported: in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Konjunktiv I is ALWAYS used in SPOKEN language, so yes, it's part of their dialect. (I can say that with utmost certainty since I've worked for a Liechtenstein government agency for some time, and I was always amazed how strictly they observed the proper use of Konjunktiv I in everyday communication.) I couldn't swear for Vorarlberg, but since Alaedious's source has been correct for Switzerland, I think it will probably be correct for Vorarlberg, as well.
     

    Frank78

    Senior Member
    German
    So if they indeed use "könne" in standard language this should be restricted to written standard language (and I guess the link given by Frank78 is a statistic about written forms).
    It´s an interactive site. There are polls asking which forms are common in your region and I think it´s always about dialectical/spoken forms. Have a look at the lastest poll, no. 7.
     

    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Well, this comes indeed as a surprise to me - never thought that Konjunktiv I is in active use in their dialects. In that case yes, of course, also the site Frank has linked to will show the situation in spoken language.
    (One will have to allow for the odd wrong entry - as far as spoken language is concerned in Austria except Vorarlberg there only should be green dots for present tense "kann".)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top