It seems to me that most languages have some way of bounding quotations in written form. European languages have their apostrophe quotes and angle-brackets, while eastern Asian languages have those right-angle brackets. Do any languages have an analog in spoken form, though? Like how English speakers sometimes say "quote" and "unquote" before and after quotations, but more standard and common.

  • Arguably English is specially ambiguous because "that" is not required, so when we hear "He said I am a fool" it is not clear if the third person called himself a fool or the first person a fool. May 6 '18 at 10:21
  • As far as how to be explicit, there are endless possibilities. Some languages do something similar with "I quote". Many if not most languages have a complete separate verb form for clauses that are hearsay, so the indicative implies a direct quote. Some do it with adverbs in the main clause (eg German wortwörtlich). In some languages in some situations it is clear from noun class (grammatical gender) of the first person. Quoting in the language or dialect of the speaker is also an option. May 6 '18 at 10:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.