Gutzmann, Daniel & Robert Henderson. 2017. Expressive updates, much? Revised version (submitted).

Abstract

This paper investigates a novel use of much in a construction that has not yet been recognized in the literature – Angry, much? – which we dub “expressive much”. Our primary proposal is that expressive much is a shunting operator in the sense of McCready 2010, which targets a gradable predicate and adds a speaker's evaluative attitude about the degree to which an individual stands out on the relevant scale. In particular, we argue that it does so in a way that allows it to perform an “expressive question”, which can be understood as a counterpart to a polar question, but in the expressive meaning dimension. In doing so, we present the first example of a shunting expression in English and provide, based on Gunlogson 2008, a new model of the discourse context that allows us to account for the different ways that expressive and non-expressive content enters the common ground.

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