Varieties of wh-exclamatives: A view from the negative wh-expressives in Japanese


  • Osamu Sawada Kobe University



exclamatives, negative wh-expressive, speech act, scalar vs. non-scalar, conventional implicature, presupposition, Japanese


Wh-exclamatives are usually considered degree constructions (e.g., Zanuttini & Portner 2003, Castroviejo 2008, Rett 2008). However, Japanese possesses what I call negative wh-expressives, which are unrelated to degree. I argue that unlike typical wh-exclamatives, negative wh-expressive sentences express a speaker’s negative attitude, and their compositional system is similar to that of an interrogative sentence except for the speech act operator. That is, a negative wh-expressive occurs with a speech act operator, which takes a set of propositions Q and (i) presupposes that there is a unique proposition p in Q that is salient, and (ii) conventionally implies that p is unexpected and that the speaker has a negative attitude toward it. In this paper, we also look at cases in which the wh expression is embedded in the complement of omo-tteiru ‘think’ and cases in which nani ‘what’ acts as an adjunct, and show that these cases can also be explained by the core component of the proposed mechanism. This paper shows that wh-related exclamatives have both scalar and non-scalar types, and considers a new typology of exclamatives.




How to Cite

Sawada, Osamu. 2023. “Varieties of Wh-Exclamatives: A View from the Negative Wh-Expressives in Japanese”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 8 (1): 5524.