I like that damn paper – Three comments on Christopher Potts' The expressive dimension

Malte Zimmermann 1 , 1
  • 1 Institut für Linguistik, University of Potsdam.


1. Introduction

Christopher Potts has put forward a precise formal analysis of the semantics of expressives, which accounts for their characteristic properties quite well, and which will certainly further our understanding of these expressions. In this short reaction, I concentrate on three aspects where – I think – the proposed analysis of expressives is in need of refinement, or where it is in need of complementation. The three aspects concern (i) the suggested non-accessibility of expressive content to the descriptive meaning dimension; (ii) the internal structure of expressive indices and the nature of index-changing operations; (iii) and the semantic behavior of discourse particles in relation to expressives proper.

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Theoretical Linguistics is an open peer review journal. Each issue contains one long target article about a topic of general linguistic interest, together with several shorter reactions, comments and reflections on it. With this format, the journal aims to stimulate discussion in linguistics and adjacent fields of study, in particular across schools of different theoretical orientations.