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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Available from: Laura Adrienne Michaelis, Apr 07, 2015
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    • "It has long been the goal of syntactic studies of exclamatives to account for which constructions can form an exclamative and why (for a clear exposition of this problem, see Michaelis and Lambrecht 1996). Characterizing the domain of Degree E-FORCE as a degree property predicts that exclamatives can be formed with both headed relatives and free relatives, given our assumption that the former denote properties in the absence of a type-shifter. "
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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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    • "you can say I recall what fun the conference was! but not I believe what fun the conference was!). The affective stance associated with exclamatives arguably derives from what Michaelis and Lambert (1996) refer to as their 'scalar implicature': the value of the variable expressed by the exclamative phrase is not specified, simply interpretable as extraordinary. Thus How enjoyable the conference was! implicates that the property of enjoyability denoted by the exclamative phrase lies at the extreme end of some contextually given scale, that it is greater than any alternatives that one might consider. "

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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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