Expressive adjectives like “damn” and its kind show some puzzling behavior that set them appart from ordinary descriptive adjectives like “tall” or even positive evaluative ones like “amazing”. In this talk, we will investigate those particular properties from both a syntactic and semantic point of view and see how insights from theoretical linguistics can help to provide a solution to some challenges they give rise to. For instance, we wil addrees the puzzle of why an utterance of “I lost my damn watch!” can mean the same as “Damn, I lost my watch!”, while an utterance of “I lost my amazing watch!” cannot mean “Amazing, I lost my watch!”.
Daniel Gutzmann is Senior Lecturer in German Linguistics at the University of Cologne. His research interests are in formal semantics, pragmatics, and syntax with a particular special focus on the interaction between them. He has worked on a range of topics including particles, verum focus, and quotation, and is a leading expert on expressive language. He is the author of Use-Conditional Meaning: Studies in Multidimensional Semantics (OUP, 2015), co-editor of several volumes in the series Current Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface (CRiSPI, Brill), and has an upcoming book on the Grammar of Expressivity (OUP, 2019), from which this talk will draw.