A wh-exclamative like "How many people took part in the rally!" conveys two distinct implications: the descriptive content (many people took part in the rally) and the expressive content (the speaker of the exclamative is struck by the number of people who took part in the rally). In this paper we investigate how these two contents are conveyed, in particular in comparison to the content of assertions. Continuing and refining the work in Castroviejo Miró (2008), we undertake a systematic investigation of the discourse behavior of wh-exclamatives, using data from the Corpus of Contemporary American English. The set of observations about the patterns of behavior of the two contents with respect to surrounding discourse moves needs to be explained by any successful account of the mode of communication of wh-exclamatives.
Proceedings of the 30th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Nathan Arnett and Ryan Bennett
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