Expressive insubordination: A cross-linguistic study on that-exclamatives

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In this chapter, the expressive speech act of so-called ‘that-exclamatives’ is compared in both Germanic and Romance languages. The chapter first points out important semantic differences between that-exclamatives in the two language groups by mainly focusing on the languages Catalan and German. In order to explain those differences, a detailed syntactic account is provided of the different systems of syntactic complementation in the expression of that-exclamatives in Germanic and Romance languages. The conclusion of the chapter is that only German that-exclamatives can be referred to as cases of so-called ‘insubordination’ (i.e., syntactic configurations that feature subordinated syntax, but are used as root clauses), whereas Catalan that-exclamatives instantiate a syntactic form that is distinct from both wh-exclamatives and subordinated syntactic configurations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExpressive Meaning Across Linguistic Levels and Frameworks
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2021


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