On Wh-Exclamatives and Noteworthiness
We explore a new approach to the semantics of wh-exclamatives, like (1).
(1) What a beautiful song John wrote!
We will aim for two things: (i) extend the empirical focus beyond English what-and how-exclamatives, to include exclamatives common in other languages that are based on other wh-words; (ii) counter the common assumption that exclamative semantics needs to involve some kind of scalar mechanism.
Before we motivate and present our analysis, a word of caution is in order. To simplify matters for this short paper, we will be discussing the semantics of exclamatives like (1) in terms of truth-conditions. Such a move blatantly ignores the fact that an utterance of (1) counts as a speech act that comes with its own intricate and interesting properties, properties which will be quite different from those of an assertion. For the purpose of this short paper, however, we will remain agnostic as to what role the truth-conditions play in the pragma-semantics of exclamatives. [See Rett, 2012; Zanuttini and Portner, 2003, for extensive discussion.]
KeywordsComparison Class Degree Function Vague Predicate Gradable Adjective Universal Scale
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