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Article

The hypothesis of insubordination and three types of wh-exclamatives

Studies in Language. 2016. No. 40 (4). P. 765-814.

This paper provides evidence for Evans’ (2007) insubordination hypothesis w.r.t. wh-exclamatives. It investigates word order in matrix wh-exclamatives and their subordinate correlates and tests matrix-subordinate asymmetry (the felicitousness of wh-words in matrix and subordinate contexts). It establishes distinctions among three groups of wh-exclamatives. Group 1 comprises qualitative and quantitative wh-exclamatives, which together seem to be a basic cross-linguistic wh-exclamative pattern. The qualitative variety demonstrates several strategies of using wh-words, some of which are exclamative-only and/or are sensitive to ellipsis of a gradable adjective/adverb. Group 2 implies the semantic hierarchy w.r.t. the felicitousness of wh-words in matrix exclamatives: ‘what’/‘who’/‘where’>‘when’>‘why’. Group 3 includes ‘which’, ‘what kind’, ‘how’ (manner) exclamatives. Unlike Groups 1 and 3, Group 2 is subject to cross-linguistic variation w.r.t. matrix-subordinate asymmetry. The paper suggests partial overlap between the established classification of wh-exclamatives and the classification developed by Nouwen and Chernilovskaya (2015) and have implications for an exclamative sentence type.