Exclamatives are nonsententials: Evidence from Arabic and other languages
Hussein Al-Bataineh
February 2020

Previous studies overlook the fact that exclamatives (Excls) are temporally deictic to the here and now, and they are anchored by the context rather than Tense (i.e., they lack the TP layer), and that they are constructed crosslinguistically as nonclausal projections. This paper provides an overview of the literature and highlights that the clausal type of Excls is not agreed upon, the defining features (e.g., factivity, scalar implicature, and question/answer relations) are highly controversial and cross-linguistically invalid, and previous analyses seem inconsistent, complicated, and inadequate to account for the idiosyncrasies of Excls. Unlike previous studies, the paper claims that Excls as asymmetrical small clauses selected by Excl head. This analysis accounts for the peculiarities and intricacies of the three types of Arabic Excls (i.e., Wh-Excls, vocative Excls, and verbal Excls) such as (i) their inflexible word order, (ii) case alternation on the referent, (iii) the presence of spurious prepositions, and (vi) the obligatory presence of some particles and affixes although not semantically required. Since the given peculiarities are not specific to Arabic and are found in other languages and supported by cross-linguistic data, the paper claims that the nonsentential approach is empirically more defensible and conceptually simpler to account for Excls crosslinguistically.
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Reference: lingbuzz/005031
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: exclamation, syntactic haplology, morphological templates, case assignment, word order, factivity, scalar implicature, semantics, morphology, syntax
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