Exclamations and their discourse effects in Japanese

Hitomi Hirayama


This paper discusses two kinds of sentences with nante that can express exclamations in Japanese. I show that these two nante exclamations show the contrast observed between sentence exclamations and wh-exclamatives in English (Rett 2011). Based on the data, I propose that nante in the two types of sentences can be analyzed in a unified way: nante is like what in English in that it can range over a variety of categories. The semantic composition shows that the two nante sentences have different sentence types and hence different discourse effects (Farkas & Roelofsen 2017). One type is a marked assertion, and the other is a bonafide exclamative. I show the contrast using the discourse model in Farkas & Bruce (2010): the exclamative updates the speaker’s commitment, not the potential future common ground.


exclamatives; discourse effects; Japanese

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v6i1.4948

Copyright (c) 2021 Hitomi Hirayama

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