Great pizzas, ghost negations: The emergence and persistence of mixed expressives

  • Andrea Beltrama
  • Jackson L. Lee

Abstract

This paper presents two novel cases of mixed expressives: Italian gran ‘big’ and Cantonese gwai2 ‘ghost’. Both mixed expressives have recently undergone a shift in truth-conditional meaning, while maintaining expressivity. We argue that (i) in contrast to theories that predict its diachronic volatility, mixed expressivity need not represent a transitional stage of semantic change, but can be a diachronically stable category, and that (ii) expressive meaning and at-issue meaning diachronically proceed in a parallel fashion, interacting very little in the process. The case studies provide empirical support to current synchronic models of mixed expressivity, which assign separate semantic representations to expressive and descriptive meaning. The data also provide important insights to the poorly understood questions with regard to the diachrony and interaction of truth-conditional and expressive meaning.
How to Cite
Beltrama, A., & Lee, J. L. (1). Great pizzas, ghost negations: The emergence and persistence of mixed expressives. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 19, 143-160. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/226