The exclamative sentence type in English

In book: Conceptual structure, discourse and language, Publisher: CSLI, Editors: Adele E. Goldberg, pp.375-389
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    ABSTRACT: This paper explores the syntax and semantics of the exclamative clause type in the Austronesian language Malagasy. Cross-linguistic considerations, distributional facts, and language-internal morphosyntax provide evidence that Malagasy exclamatives are syntactically nominal. All exclamatives are noun phrases, as in the English The things that he says! Unlike English, Malagasy has no clausal exclamatives. Based on the Malagasy data, the paper proposes that the exclamative force of nominals, in Malagasy and other languages, is located in the determiner layer of the structure.
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    ABSTRACT: (2) a. (My,) How orange Sue's shoes were! b. (Oh,) The shoes Sue wore! c. (Boy,) Did Sue wear orange shoes! This distinction is based on the empirical observation that the latter are subject to two semantic restrictions not applicable to the former. The proposal is this: for the utterance of an exclamation to be expressively correct, its content must be salient, and the speaker must find this content surprising. For the utterance of an exclamative to be expressively correct, its content must additionally be about a degree, and that degree must exceed a contextually relevant standard. I account for this difference by proposing that proposition exclamations and exclamatives are expressed with two different illocutionary force operators. These operators have different domains (one is a function from propositions, the other from degree properties) but the same value (an expression of surprise). This view of exclamatives helps characterize the syntactic constructions used to express exclamatives (which on first glance do not appear to form a nat- ural class). Exclamatives are additionally interesting because, as Milner (1978) and Gerard (1980) observe, they are different from any other expression because they can receive an extreme degree interpretation in the absence of overt degree mor- phology. The situation is even more compelling than this: as I argue, exclamatives must receive an 'extreme degree' interpretation. Although the discussion here bears quite a bit on what it means for an exclamative to force an 'extreme degree' reading, in the end I will have little to say about how this is so.
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    ABSTRACT: This article argues that subject auxiliary inversion in English (SAI) provides an example of a syntactic generalization that is strongly motivated by a family of closely related functions. Recognition of the functional properties of each subconstruction associated with SAI allows us to predict many seemingly arbi- trary properties of SAI: e.g., its (partial) restriction to appear in main clauses, the fact that the inversion only involves the first auxiliary, and the fact that its use in comparatives is more limited. The dominant feature of SAI, being non- positive,is also arguedto motivate the syntacticform of SAI. It is suggestedthat attention to the rich data inherent in language and to findings in categorization research simultaneously serves to reinforce and benefit our understanding of both language and categorization more generally.
    Linguistic Review - LINGUIST REV. 01/2005; 22:411-428.