Exclamatives, degrees and speech acts

Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (5):411-442 (2011)
The goal of this paper is an account of the semantics and pragmatics of exclamation. I focus on two key observations: first, that sentence exclamations like Wow, John bakes delicious desserts! and exclamatives like What delicious desserts John bakes! express that a particular proposition has violated the speaker’s expectations; and second, that exclamatives are semantically restricted in a way that sentence exclamations are not. In my account of these facts, I propose a characterization of illocutionary force of exclamation, a function from propositions to speech acts of exclamation. The difference in meaning between sentence exclamations and exclamatives has consequences for the type of violated expectation. I end with a comparison to some previous approaches and a tentative extension of parts of the analysis to other constructions
Keywords Exclamatives  Exclamation  Illocutionary force  Speech acts  Degree semantics  Mirativity
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-011-9103-8
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Eric McCready (2012). Emotive Equilibria. Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (3):243-283.

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