Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (2):365-391 (2022)

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Kate Hazel Jain
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
‘You bastard’ is insulting because ‘bastard’ is an expletive, but what’s wrong with ‘You Hoboken’ or ‘You big wet noodle’? This paper explores the semantics of a vocative construction that is particularly efficient at coining what I call ‘expressive labels’; these are affect-transmitting expressions that present themselves as apt for identifying their discourse target via speaker affect. Building on work by Portner On information structure, meaning and form. Benjamins, Amsterdam, 2007) and Gutzmann, I show how discourse properties direct and constrain the conversion to expressive label, and offer a semantics for this construction that unifies these cases with more conventional evaluative vocatives, like ‘you bastard’.
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-021-09333-y
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Literal Meaning.François Recanati - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Languages and Language.David K. Lewis - 1975 - In Keith Gunderson (ed.), Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 3-35.

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