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Pragmatic Aspects of Scalar ModifiersThe Semantics-Pragmatics Interface$
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Osamu Sawada

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198714224.001.0001

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Counter-expectational scalar adverbs

Counter-expectational scalar adverbs

(p.131) 7 Counter-expectational scalar adverbs
Pragmatic Aspects of Scalar Modifiers

Osamu Sawada

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 investigates the meaning and use of Japanese counter-expectational scalar adverbs—that is, the counter-expectational intensifier yoppodo and the Japanese scale-reversal adverb kaette. It shows that although yoppodo and kaette convey some kind of counter-expectational meaning as lower-level pragmatic scalar modifiers, the way they trigger counter-expectational meaning is quite different. In an adjectival environment, yoppodo semantically intensifies degrees based on extraordinary evidence and conventionally implies that the degree is above the speaker’s expectation. By contrast, kaette reverses the scale of the gradable predicate and conventionally implies that the opposite situation is generally true. It is also proposed that there are two types of counter-expectational expressions that use scalarity: a relative type, which represents “above expectation” (e.g. yoppodo), and a reversal type, which expresses counter-expectation via polarity reversal (e.g. kaette). Comparison with wh-exclamatives, sentence exclamation, and the counter-expectational but is also discussed.

Keywords:   counter-expectational meaning, scalar adverb, counter-expectational intensifier, yoppodo, scale-reversal adverb, kaette, exclamativity, mirativity

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