Towards a formal semantics for interjective ‘what’

Jesse A Harris

Abstract


Discourse particles and interjectives allow a speaker to signal how information presented in an utterance relates to her epistemic or emotive state. I present a semantics for one such interjective: the English particle what, providing evidence that it carries multiple discourse functions, and proposing that these distinct uses are best captured by their relation to the central discourse topic.

Keywords


Discourse particles; questions; approximation; prosody; corpus pragmatics.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/salt.v23i0.2682

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