Article published in:Romance Linguistics 2009: Selected papers from the 39th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), Tucson, Arizona, March 2009
Edited by Sonia Colina, Antxon Olarrea and Ana Maria Carvalho
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 315] 2010
► pp. 369–386
Pitch accent, focus, and the interpretation of non-wh exclamatives in French
This paper examines the cross-linguistic realization of the class of exclamatives in the Romance languages. I argue that, while the syntactic and semantic properties of exclamative sentences are usually viewed as being licensed by wh-morphology, other grammatical features such as f(ocus) marking may serve a similar purpose in the construction of exclamative meaning. In particular, I argue that exclamations with focused gradation quantifiers, such as the Québec French sentence J’ai vu un film ASSEZ bon! “I saw SUCH a good movie!” display many of the same semantic properties that have been observed with wh-exclamatives. I propose that the semantic content of this new type of exclamative is a gradation construction with an implicit threshold clause and focus on the quantifier. I propose that the exclamative operator binds the threshold yielding an extreme degree reading, and that the presence of this operator is licensed by the focus structure of the sentence.
Published online: 25 November 2010
Cited by 2 other publications
Badan, Linda & Lisa Lai-Shen Cheng
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