ǰaqaʔ: A generalized exclamation operator in ʔayʔaǰuθəm

  • Daniel K. E. Reisinger
  • Marianne Huijsmans


In this paper, we present a formal analysis of the common and yet not well- understood auxiliary ǰaqaʔ in ʔayʔaǰuθəm (a.k.a. Comox-Sliammon; Central Salish). Based on original fieldwork, we argue that speakers can use ǰaqaʔ not only to express wishes or worries, but also to signal the unexpectedness or predictableness of the denoted proposition. To account for this initially perplexing banquet of meanings, we propose — in the spirit of Grosz (2011, 2014) — that ǰaqaʔ functions as an exclamation operator (EX) that serves to express the speaker’s emotion towards the status of a proposition on a contextually salient scale. As predicted by this approach, the use of ǰaqaʔ can give rise to optatives, adversatives, polar exclamatives, and congruent exclamatives — a novel type of exclamative we discover in the process. A claim that emerges from the analysis is that Grosz’s EX operator, which is covert in German and English, may be realized overtly in other languages.
How to Cite
Reisinger, D. K. E., & Huijsmans, M. (2020). ǰaqaʔ: A generalized exclamation operator in ʔayʔaǰuθəm. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 24(2), 183-200. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2020.v24i2.892