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11.3.4. Wh-exclamatives
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Exclamations can be made in many ways. In this section we are particularly interested in exclamative clauses with a designated exclamative element in first position. These are called wh-exclamatives because the designated element is a wh-word such as wat'what' in (382); see Section A3.1.2, sub V, for a more extensive discussion of the distribution of this element. We will ignore the use of welk(e)'which' and hoe'how' found in formal language and writing: cf. $Welk een dwaasheid (is dat)!'what folly that is!' and $Hoe spannend (is dat)!'How exciting that is!'.

Example 382
a. Wat ben jij sterk!
  what  are  you  strong
  'How strong you are!'
a'. Wat ben jij een sterke vrouw!
  what  are  you  a strong woman
  'What a strong woman you are!'
b. Wat sterk ben jij!
  what strong  are  you
  'How strong you are!'
b'. Wat een sterke vrouw ben jij!
  what a strong woman  are  you
  'What a strong woman you are!'

Subsection I starts with a discussion of the semantics of wh-exclamatives on the basis of examples like (382a&a'); we will show that although it is generally assumed that wh-exclamatives give rise to an extremely-high-degree or an extremely-high-quantity reading, their meaning can be more adequately expressed in terms of "higher than expected", subsection II discusses two syntactic subtypes of wh-exclamative clauses, which are illustrated by, respectively, the (a)- and (b)-examples in (382). The first type is characterized by the fact that the first position of the clause is occupied by the exclamative wh-element only, while in the second type the exclamative wh-element is part of a larger phrase in initial position. This may give rise to the hypothesis that the exclamative wh-element is base-generated as part of a larger phrase, and that the (a)-examples are derived by stranding part of this larger phrase, while the (b)-examples are derived by pied piping it. We will show that this hypothesis is not viable and, more specifically, that the (a)-examples are in fact not derived by wh-movement at all, subsection III continues by showing that wh-exclamatives can also be embedded but that this requires the exclamative element to be embedded in a larger phrase in the initial position of the embedded clause; this is illustrated in the examples in (383). Furthermore the exclamative element may be different: while in main clauses the wh-element is always wat in colloquial speech, example (383a) shows that it sometimes must be realized as hoe'how' in embedded contexts.

Example 383
a. Ik was vergeten [hoe/*wat sterk jij bent].
  was  forgotten  how/what strong  you  are
  'I had forgotten how strong you are.'
a'. * Ik was vergeten [hoe/wat jij sterk bent].
  was  forgotten  how/what  you  strong  are
b. Ik was vergeten [wat een sterke vrouw jij bent].
  was forgotten  what a strong woman  you  are
  'I had forgotten what a strong woman you are.'
b'. * Ik was vergeten [wat jij een sterke vrouw bent].
  was forgotten  what  you  a strong woman  are

The wh-exclamatives discussed in this section are merely instances of a wider range of constructions that can be used as exclamations. It is not the case, however, that all exclamations are relevant for syntactic descriptions; an exclamation such as Bah!'Yuk!', for example, should rather be described in lexicographic terms, subsection IV will provide a review of such constructions and discuss the question as to whether the various types should be given a syntactic or some other account. For want of in-depth syntactic investigations, this review will be necessarily of a preliminary nature.

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[+]  I.  Meaning

This subsection discusses the meaning of wh-exclamative constructions. It is often claimed that such exclamatives have an "extremely high degree" or an "extremely large quantity" reading, and Subsections A to C therefore start with a discussion of these prototypical readings. It has been suggested, however, that these readings do not constitute the core meaning of wh-exclamatives but are derived from two more basic properties: (i) wh-exclamatives are like wh-questions in that they behave semantically as operator-variable constructions (see Subsections A to C), and (ii) they are factive in the sense that the speaker presupposes the proposition expressed by the non- wh-part of the exclamative to be true (subsection D), subsection E will show that this enables us to derive a range of context-sensitive interpretations that can be characterized as "higher-than-expected-degree" or "larger-than-expected-quantity" readings.

[+]  A.  The extremely-high-degree reading

W h-exclamatives often express an extremely high degree. This can be illustrated by means of example (384a), in which the exclamative wh-element wat'what' expresses that the addressee has worked to a degree that exceeds a certain contextually given norm. This extremely-high-degree reading arises only if the wh-element does not function as an independent clausal constituent; cf. Bennis (1995/1998). In (384b), for instance, the wh-element hoe'how' functions as a manner adverb and this leads to an interrogative interpretation. Similarly, the wh-element wat functions as a direct object in (384c) and the construction must again be interpreted as a question. Ignore the elements Δi and ti in (384), which will be discussed shortly.

Example 384
a. Wati heb jij vandaag Δi gewerkt!
wh-exclamative
  what  have  you  today  worked
  'Boy, how you have worked today!'
b. Hoei heb jij vandaag ti gewerkt?
wh-interrogative
  how  have  you  today  worked
  'How did you work today?'
c. Wat heb je gedaan?
wh-interrogative
  what  have  you  done
  'What have you done?'

Nevertheless, Corver (1990) and Zanutinni & Portner (2003) hypothesize that wh-phrases in questions and exclamatives perform a comparable function; they are operators that bind some variable in the clause. This means that questions and exclamations are similar in that they both denote open propositions or, in other words, sets of alternative propositions. The manner adverb hoe'how' in question (384b), for instance, gives rise to an open proposition that denotes a set of alternative propositions that differ in manner: the addressee may have worked well, badly, hard, with pleasure, with reluctance, etc. The exclamative construction in (384a) can likewise be seen as an open proposition, but in this case the alternative propositions differ in degree (here: intensity) only, for which reason we have represented the variable by means of the Greek capital Δ. The representation in (384a) of course does not yet answer the question as to why this example is normally used to express an extremely high degree, that is, that the addressee has worked exceptionally hard. We will return to this question in Subsection D.
      We have claimed above that exclamative wat in (384a) does not function as a clausal constituent. In order to substantiate this, we should show that wat differs from hoe in (384b) in that it cannot be used as a manner adverb. A first reason for assuming this is that (384a) does not allow an interrogative interpretation: if the wh-phrase wat were a manner adverbial, this would of course be quite surprising. Another reason is that exclamative wat is also possible if a manner adverb is overtly expressed; this is shown in (385a), in which wat can be assumed to bind a degree variable Δ of the manner adverb hard. Note in passing that it is not likely that Δ stands for a wh-trace of exclamative wat in this example given that degree adverbs normally cannot be extracted from pre-adjectival position by wh-movement. The (b)-examples illustrate this for the degree adverb hoe by showing that this wh-element obligatorily pied-pipes the full AP.

Example 385
a. Wati heb jij vandaag [AP Δi hard] gewerkt!
wh-exclamative
  what  have  you  today  hard  worked
  'Boy, have you worked hard today!'
b. * Hoei heb jij vandaag [APti hard] gewerkt?
wh-interrogative
  how  have  you  today  hard  worked
b'. [AP Hoe hard]i heb jij vandaag ti gewerkt?
  how hard  have  you  today  worked
  'How hard did you work today?'

That wh-movement is not involved in the derivation of the type of wh-exclamatives under discussion is also clear from the fact illustrated in (386a) that wat can bind a degree variable embedded in an attributive modifier of a noun phrase. The (b)-examples show that wh-movement of the degree modifier hoe again gives rise to an unacceptable result in questions, as does, in fact, wh-movement of the full attributively used AP; the only option is movement of the full noun phrase, in (386a'').

Example 386
a. Wati is dat [NP een [AP Δi mooi] boek]!
  what  is  that  beautiful  book
  'What a beautiful book that is!'
b. * Hoei is dat [NP een [APti mooi] boek]?
  how  is  that  beautiful  book
b'. * [AP Hoe mooi]i is dat [NP een ti boek]?
  how beautiful  is that  book
b''. [NP een [AP hoemooi] boek]i is dat ti?
  how beautiful  book  is that
  'How beautiful a book is that?'

Subsection II will provide more evidence for assuming that the derivation of examples like (384a), (385a) and (386a) does not involve wh-movement, but for the moment we will simply assume that exclamative wat is base-generated in clause-initial position in suchlike examples. Furthermore, we assume that exclamative wat requires a degree variable to be present in order to be licit. This requirement can be made to follow from a generally accepted economy constraint on natural language that states that an operator is only licit if it actually binds a variable: if an operator does not bind a variable, it is superfluous and should be omitted. This ban on vacuous quantification is also empirically motivated, as it provides a simple account for the acceptability contrast between the two examples in (387), taken from Krijgsman (1983). Under the plausible assumption that the phonetically empty degree variable Δ can only occur with gradable adjectives, exclamative wat can be licensed by a gradable adjective such as groot'big' but not by a non-gradable adjective such as houten'wooden'. Note that the number sign indicates that (387b) is marginally acceptable if wat is associated with some contextually determined gradable property that is left implicit with, e.g., the meaning "impressive", an option also found in the fully acceptable sentence Wat is dat een huis!'What an impressive house that is!'.

Example 387
a. Wati is dat [een [AP Δi groot] huis]!
  what  is  that    a  big  house
  'What a big house that is!'
b. # Wati is dat [een [AP houten] huis]!
  what  is  that   a  wooden  house

The ban on vacuous quantification may also account for the acceptability contrast between (388a) and (388b); the fact that (388a) is fully acceptable is due to the fact that the degree modifier erg is gradable itself, as shown by [[heel erg] mooi], while the degraded status of (388b) is due to the fact that zeer is not gradable, as shown by *[[heel zeer] mooi]; cf. Krijgsman (1983). The same can perhaps be said for comparative forms such as mooier'more beautiful' in (388c), as these cannot be modified by degree adverbs like heel either (cf. *heel mooier), although this raises the potential problem that comparatives do allow modification by quantifiers like veel'much' (cf. veel mooier'much more beautiful'); we leave this problem to future research.

Example 388
a. Wati is dat [NP een [APi erg] mooi] boek]!
  what  is  that  very  beautiful  book
  'What a very beautiful book that is!'
b. * Wat is dat [NP een [AP zeer mooi] boek]!
  what  is that  very beautiful  book
c. * Wat is dat een [NP een mooier boek]!
  what  is that  more.beautiful  book

The acceptability contrast between (389a) and (389b) also follows from the ban on vacuous quantification: example (389a) is acceptable because exclamative wat is properly binding a degree variable associated with the gradable quantifier veel in (389a), while (389b) is unacceptable because cardinal numbers are not gradable and thus cannot introduce a degree variable. Example (389c) is unacceptable for the same reason: a definite noun phrase like het antwoord'the answer' does not contain a degree variable.

Example 389
a. Wati weet jij [NPi veel] dingen]]!
  what  know  you  many  things
  'How much you know!'
b. * Wat weet jij [NP [een miljoen] dingen]!
  what  know  you   a million  things
c. * Wat weet jij het antwoord!
  what  know  you  the answer

The fact that we can easily account for the acceptability judgments in (387) to (389) by means of the ban on vacuous quantification provides strong support for the hypothesis that wh-elements in wh-exclamatives function as operators that must bind a phonetically empty degree variable.

[+]  B.  The extremely-large-quantity reading

The extremely-high-degree reading discussed in Subsection A is not the only reading found with wh-exclamatives: if the wh-element in clause-initial position is associated with a certain type of noun phrase, an extremely-large-quantity reading may also arise; a prototypical example is (390a). The examples in (390b&c) show that the noun phrase must satisfy certain criteria in order for the extremely-large-quantity reading to be possible: a count noun such as boek'book' must be plural and the noun phrase must contain the spurious indefinite article een; the notion "spurious" is used here because the indefinite article een normally cannot be used in plural noun phrases; see N5.1.

Example 390
a. Wat heb jij een boeken!
  what  have  you  a books
  'What a lot of books you have!'
b. # Wat heb jij een boek!
  what  have  you  a book
c. * Wat heb jij boeken!
  what  have  you  books

The number sign in (390b) indicates that this example is at least marginally acceptable with an extremely-high-degree reading, in which case wat is associated with some contextually determined gradable property that is left implicit, such as "impressive"; the same in fact holds for (390a), which is therefore ambiguous; see Subsection C for more examples of such ambiguities.
      A non-count noun like water'water' is also compatible with an extremely-large-quantity reading: it appears in the singular (as it does not have a plural form), but must again be preceded by the spurious indefinite article een, as is clear from the fact that example (391b) is unacceptable.

Example 391
a. Wat ligt daar een water!
  what  lies  there  a water
  'So much water over there!'
b. * Wat ligt daar water!
  what  lies  there  water

If Zanutinni & Portner (2003) are correct in assuming that exclamative wh-phrases are operators that must bind some variable, the acceptability contrasts in (390) and (391) strongly suggests that the spurious article een is able to introduce a variable ranging over quantities; see Bennis (1998) for a similar conclusion.

[+]  C.  Ambiguity

Plural noun phrases such as (392a), which contain both a gradable attributively used adjective and the spurious article een, are ambiguous between an extremely-high-degree and an extremely-large-quantity reading. If we omit the spurious article, as in (392b), the extremely-large-quantity reading becomes unavailable. If we omit the gradable adjective, as in (392c), the extremely-large-quantity reading becomes the most prominent one (although an extremely-high-degree reading remains at least marginally possible with respect with some contextually determined gradable property that is left implicit). If we omit both the spurious article and the gradable adjective, the result is unacceptable.

Example 392
a. Wat heeft Jan [NP een mooie boeken]!
ambiguous
  what  has  Jan  a beautiful books
  'What (a lot of) beautiful books Jan has!'
b. Wat heeft Jan [NP mooie boeken]!
extremely high degree
  what  has  Jan  beautiful books
  'What beautiful books Jan has!'
c. Wat heeft Jan [NP een boeken]!
extremely large quantity
  what  has  Jan  a books
  'What a lot of books Jan has!'
d. * Wat heeft Jan [NP boeken]!
uninterpretable
  what  has  Jan  books

The interpretations and judgments above are all expected if the spurious indefinitie article een and gradable adjectives are able to introduce a degree variable that can be bound by the exclamative operator wat. However, if the spurious article een and the gradable adjective mooi in (392) are indeed both able to introduce a degree variable, we expect example (392a) to simultaneously express the extremely-high-degree and the extremely-large-quantity reading, given that Subsection IIB will show that exclamative wat is able to bind more than one variable. It does seem that example (392a) is capable of expressing these two readings simultaneously, but it is not clear that this is obligatory given that the extremely-high-degree reading is the most prominent and for some speakers even the only possible one. If the extremely-large-quantity reading is optional, we may have to conclude that spurious een has some other function in addition to the introduction of a quantity variable; we leave this issue for future research.

[+]  D.  Factivity

Since Elliott (1974) and Grimshaw (1979) it has generally been accepted that exclamatives are factive in the sense of Kiparsky & Kiparsky (1970) that the speaker presupposes the truth of the proposition expressed by the utterance. So, a speaker uttering the exclamative in (384a), repeated here as the first part of (393), presupposes that the addressee did work today. This is clear from the fact that this utterance cannot felicitously be followed by the question given as the second part of (393), as it questions the truth of the presupposed proposition. We indicated this by means of the dollar sign.

Example 393
Wati heb jij vandaag gewerkt! $Of heb je vandaag niet gewerkt?
  what  have  you  today  worked    or  have  you  today  not  worked
'How you have worked today! Or didnʼt you work today?'

Exclamations crucially differ in this respect from questions. This is clear from the examples in (394). While the exclamation in (394a) cannot be followed felicitously by the question Of heb je geen boeken gekocht? because it questions the truth of the presupposed proposition, the question in (394b) can readily be followed by it; this shows that the speaker does not presuppose that the addressee has bought books by uttering the question Welke boeken heb je gekocht?

Example 394
a. Wat heb jij een boeken gekocht! $Of heb je geen boeken gekocht?
  what  have  you  a books  bought   or  have  you  no books  bought
  'How many books you have bought! Or havenʼt you bought any books?'
b. Welke boeken heb je gekocht? Of heb je geen boeken gekocht?
  which books  have  you  bought  or  have  you  no books  bought
  'Which books did you buy? Or havenʼt you bought any books?'

Elliott and Grimshaw further support the claim that exclamatives are factive by showing that they cannot be selected by non-factive verbs; while we do find exclamative clauses as complements of the factive verb weten'to know', such clauses do not occur as complements of the non-factive verb beweren'to contend'.

Example 395
a. Marie weet [wat een mooie boeken Peter heeft].
  Marie knows  what a beautiful books  Peter has
  'Marie knows what beautiful books Peter has.'
b. * Marie beweert [wat een mooie boeken Peter heeft].
  Marie contends  what a beautiful books  Peter has

That the speaker presupposes the truth of the proposition expressed by the embedded exclamative is also clear from the acceptability contrast indicated in (396): cf. Grimshaw (1979:283). Because the speaker presupposes the truth of the proposition expressed by the exclamative, the use of the first person pronoun leads to an incoherent result in (396b) as the speaker cannot deny to have knowledge about the truth of a proposition that he is presupposing to be true. Example (396a), on the other hand, is coherent; the speaker can easily deny that Marie has knowledge about the truth of a proposition that he is presupposing to be true.

Example 396
a. Marie weet niet [wat een mooie boeken Peter heeft].
  Marie  knows  not   what a beautiful books  Peter has
  'Marie doesnʼt know what beautiful books Peter has.'
b. $ Ik weet niet [wat een mooie boeken Peter heeft].
  know  not   what a beautiful books  Peter has
  'I do not know what a beautiful books Peter has.'
[+]  E.  Widening

Subsections A through C have shown that wh-exclamatives prototypically express an extremely-high-degree or an extremely-large-quantity reading. Other notions often used in describing the interpretation of exclamatives include "surprise", "unexpectedness", "emotional reaction" and "noteworthiness". Now consider the wh-exclamatives in (397), which are used to express that the book under discussion is very expensive and thus seem to imply the truth of the propositions expressed by the declarative clauses in the primed examples.

Example 397
a. Wat is dat boek duur!
  what  is  that book  expensive
  'How expensive that book is!'
a'. Dat boek is zeer duur.
  that book  is very expensive
  'That book is very expensive.'
b. Wat is dat een duur boek!
  what  is that  an expensive book
  'How expensive a book that is!'
b'. Dat is een zeer duur boek.
  that  is a very expensive book
  'That is a very expensive book.'

It would be wrong, however, to conclude that the primeless and primed sentences are equivalent, as there are many cases in which speakers could easily use the primed examples without necessarily being able to use the primeless examples. To present-day standards, for instance, a hardcover 300 page book that costs 100 euro's would normally be called very expensive, so that any speaker could easily use the primed examples in (397) to discuss such a book. A speaker who opens the book and finds out that the book is written by a popular, best-selling novelist would probably also be able to use exclamatives like (397a&b). On the other hand, a linguist who knows that the book is on linguistics would probably not use these exclamatives since he knows that many scientific publishers ask twice as much for similar publications. This shows that the expectation of the speaker is a decisive factor in determining the appropriateness of the use of wh-exclamatives.
      Zanutinni & Portner (2003) claim that the notions mentioned above are not basic and are actually pragmatic implicatures derived from the two core properties of wh-exclamatives we have already discussed in the previous subsections. First, such exclamatives are constructions in which an operator binds a degree/quantity variable and thus denote a set of alternative propositions that differ in degree or quantity. Second, wh-exclamatives are factive; the speaker presupposes the truth of the proposition expressed by the non- wh-part of the exclamation.
      Zanutinni & Portner's claim that the notions normally used to characterize the interpretation of wh-exclamatives are pragmatic implicatures is based on a particular view on discourse semantics. In any conversation, there is a set of propositions that the speaker and addressee equally hold true, the so-called common ground. For a sentence to be successfully asserted, the proposition it contains must be added to the common ground. Because the truth of the proposition expressed by the non- wh-part of a wh-exclamative is already presupposed, such exclamatives are less useful for assertion. Because every utterance must have some function, wh-exclamatives must have a function –other than assertion– that is compatible with their factivity; Zanutinni & Portner propose that this function is affecting, or more specifically, widening the common ground.
      We will explain the notion of widening on the basis of the examples in (398). Assume that the common ground includes a height scale applicable to adult humans, which ranges from 1.70 to 1.90 meter. The assertion expressed by (398a) would establish that Jan occupies a high position on this scale. Zanutinni & Portner claim that the wh-exclamative in (398b) widens this scale and locates Jan on the extended part of it; this derives the extremely-high-degree reading discussed in Subsection A. Note in passing that we might also expect an extremely-low-degree reading of (398b) to arise, but this can be excluded by Grice's (1975) Maxim of Quantity because the use of groot'tall' will be blocked for expressing this reading by its more informative antonym, klein'short'.

Example 398
a. Jan is groot.
  Jan is tall
a'. Peter is klein.
  Peter is short
b. Wat is Jan groot!
  what  is  Jan tall
  'How tall Jan is!'
b'. Wat is Peter klein!
  what  is Peter short
  'How short Peter is!'

Although Zanutinni & Portner do not discuss this, it seems that their reasoning does not necessarily lead to an extremely-high-degree reading of exclamatives; what is predicted is simply a higher-than-expected-degree reading, and it seems that this is correct. Suppose Jan has a garden that needs intensive watering. In order to save drinking water, he has installed a 2000 liter water tank fed by rainwater. After a modest shower he inspects the contents of the tank and finds that it is already half full. Since this is much more than he had expected, he can easily express his surprise by using the exclamative in (399a); the crucial point is that we are not dealing with an extremely high degree, but simply with a higher-than-expected degree. After the water tank has been completely filled, there is a drought. Jan starts watering the garden and after two weeks he peeks into the water tank, and to his surprise the tank is still half full. Since this is much more than he had expected, he can readily express his surprise by using the exclamative in (399b); the crucial point is again that we are not dealing with an extremely high degree, but with a higher-than-expected degree. For the use of al'already' and nog'still' in these examples, we refer the reader to Sections A3.2, sub II, A3.2, sub III, and A3.3, sub I.

Example 399
a. Wat is de waterbak al vol!
  what  is the water.tank  already  full
  'How full the water tank already is!'
b. Wat is de waterbak nog vol!
  what  is the water.tank  still  full
  'How full the water tank still is!'

The examples in (399), which where inspired by a similar example provided by Castroviejo (2006), which was also cited in Villalba (2008), clearly show that the extremely-high-degree reading prototypically found in wh-exclamatives is not a inherent part of the meaning of wh-exclamatives. This reading is pragmatically derived from the more semantic basic properties of exclamatives, as is clear from the fact that it arises under the proper contextual circumstances only.

[+]  II.  Two syntactic types of wh-exclamative

Wh-exclamatives come in two different forms; the exclamative wh-phrase can be part of a larger phrase that occupies the clause-initial position or it can occupy this position on its own. This was already illustrated in example (382); more examples are given in (400). For reasons that will become clear shortly, we will refer to the (a)-examples as the non-split pattern and to the (b)-examples as the pseudo-split pattern.

Example 400
a. Wat snel is die auto!
  what fast  is that car
  'How fast that car is!'
a'. Wat een snelle auto heb jij!
  what a fast car  have  you
  'What a fast car you have!'
b. Wat is die auto snel!
  what  is that car  fast
  'How fast that car is!'
b'. Wat heb jij een snelle auto!
  what  have  you  a fast car
  'What a fast car you have!'

The main question in this subsection will be whether or not wh-movement is involved in the derivation of the wh-exclamatives in (400). In order to establish this, we should show that the two constructions exhibit at least the three characteristic properties of wh-movement listed in (401).

Example 401
a. There is an obligatory interpretative gap, viz., the trace left by wh-movement.
b. The antecedent-trace relation can be non-local in bridge-verb contexts.
c. The antecedent-trace relation is island-sensitive.

Our survey will lead to the conclusion that the non-split pattern in the (a)-examples does involve wh-movement of the phrase containing the wh-element wat into clause-initial position, whereas the wh-element wat in the pseudo-split pattern in the (b)-examples is base-generated in clause-initial position. The latter claim motivates the use of the notion pseudo-split pattern for the (b)-examples in (400), as these do not involve actual splitting of a larger phrase by wh-movement, subsection A and B successively discuss the non-split and the pseudo-split pattern.

[+]  A.  Non-split pattern

Non-split exclamative wh-phrases may perform several syntactic functions. The examples in (402) show that they can easily be used as arguments and predicates; the wh-phrases are related to an interpretive gap within the clause with the function of, respectively, subject, direct object and complementive. Because this shows that non-split wh-exclamative constructions exhibit the characteristic property of wh-movement in (401a), we indicate the interpretive gap by means of a trace. The remainder of this subsection will show that this is fully justified as the non-split pattern also exhibits the other characteristic properties of wh-movement in (401b&c).

Example 402
a. [Wat een mooie boeken]i staan er ti in die kast!
subject
  what a beautiful books  stand  there  in that bookcase
  'What beautiful books there are in that bookcase!'
b. [Wat een mooie boeken]i heb je ti gekocht!
direct object
  what a beautiful books  have  you  bought
  'What beautiful books you have bought!'
c. [Wat mooi]i zijn die boeken ti!
complementive
  what beautiful  are  those books
  'How beautiful those books are!'

The wh-movements indicated in (402) are obligatory; the unacceptability of the examples in (403) shows that leaving the wh-phrase in the position indicated by the trace results in ungrammaticality. The number sign in (403c) indicates that this example is acceptable without an exclamative intonation if wat is interpreted as an intensifier with the meaning "quite"; we will ignore this reading here. It should further be noted that, for unknown reasons, example (403c) improves considerably if the particle maar is added: Die boeken zijn maar wat mooi! We leave this issue for further research.

Example 403
a. * Er staan [wat een mooie boeken] in die kast!
  there  stand   what a beautiful books  in that bookcase
b. * Je hebt [wat een mooie boeken] gekocht!
  you  have   what a beautiful books  bought
c. # Die boeken zijn wat mooi!
  those books  are  what beautiful

The obligatoriness of wh-movement follows if we assume that exclamative wat must be moved into clause-initial position in order to create an exclamative operator-variable configuration; see the discussion in Subsection I. As the initial position of a clause can be occupied by a single constituent only, we should also conclude that exclamative wat can be part of a larger phrase and is able to pied-pipe this larger phrase under wh-movement. That pied piping is common in non-split wh-exclamatives can also be illustrated by means of the examples in (404) in which exclamative wat is more deeply embedded in a prepositional object/complementive: wh-movement of wat triggers movement of the full PP.

Example 404
a. [Over wat een rare onderwerpen]i schrijft hij toch ti!
PP-complement
  about what a strange topics  writes  he  prt
  'What strange topics he writes about!'
b. [Op wat een grote stoel]i zit jij ti!
PP-complementive
  on what a big chair  sit  you
  'What a big chair you are sitting in!'

Pied piping also occurs if exclamative wat is part of an adverbial phrase. This is illustrated in (405) by means of, respectively, an adjectival and prepositional adverbial phrase of manner.

Example 405
a. [Wat zorgvuldig]i heb jij ti gewerkt!
  what carefully  have  you  worked
  'How meticulously you have worked!'
b. [Met wat een grote zorgvuldigheid]i heb jij ti gewerkt!
  with what a great care  have  you  worked
  'With what a great care you have worked!'

The examples in (404) and (405) again illustrate that non-split wh-exclamatives exhibit the characteristic property of wh-movement in (401a): the wh-phrase in clause-initial position is the antecedent of an interpretative gap within the clause with various functions: argument, complementive and adverbial.
      Let us now continue with property (401b), according to which the antecedent-trace relation can be non-local in bridge-verb contexts. Extraction of an exclamative wh-phrase from an embedded clause always gives rise to a somewhat marked result, but there seems to be a consensus that it is possible if the matrix clause is headed by a bridge verb such as zeggen'to say'; cf. Krijgsman (1983:132), Corver (1990:ch.4) and Bennis (1998).

Example 406
a. (?) [Wat een mooie boeken]i zei hij [dat er ti in die kast staan]!
subject
  what a beautiful books  said he   that  there  in that bookcase  stand
  'What beautiful books he said are in that bookcase!'
b. (?) [Wat een mooie boeken]i zei hij [dat je ti gekocht hebt]!
direct object
  what a beautiful books  said  he   that  you  bought  have
  'What beautiful books he said you have bought!'
c. (?) [Wat mooi]i zei hij [dat die boeken ti zijn]!
complementive
  what beautiful  said  he   that  those books  are
  'How beautiful he said those books are!'

That the examples in (406) are indeed relatively good becomes especially clear when we compare them to the examples in (407) in which the matrix clause is headed by the factive, non-bridge verb betreuren'to regret'. In order to make the interpretation of these examples more plausible, we have replaced the adjective mooi'beautiful' by the adjective saai'boring', but the results are still infelicitous. We conclude from the contrast between the two sets of examples in (406) and (407) that non-split wh-exclamatives exhibit property (401b): the antecedent-trace relation can be non-local in bridge-verb contexts.

Example 407
a. * [Wat een saaie boeken]i betreurde hij [dat er ti in die kast staan]!
  what a boring books  regretted  he  that  there  in that bookcase  stand
b. * [Wat een saaie boeken]i betreurde hij [dat je ti gekocht hebt]!
  what a boring books  regretted  he   that  you  bought  have
c. * [Wat saai]i betreurde hij [dat die boeken ti zijn]!
  what boring  regretted  he   that  those books  are

      Finally, we show that non-split wh-exclamatives are sensitive to islands. First, the examples in (408) show that exclamative wh-phrases cannot be extracted from interrogative clauses.

Example 408
a. * [Wat een mooie boeken]i vroeg hij [of er ti in die kast staan]!
  what a beautiful books  asked he   if  there  in that bookcase  stand
b. * [Wat een mooie boeken]i vroeg hij [of je ti gekocht hebt]!
  what a beautiful books  asked  he   if  you  bought  have
c. * [Wat mooi]i vroeg hij [of die boeken ti zijn]!
  what beautiful  asked  he  whether  those books  are

Krijgsman (1983) shows that non-split wh-exclamatives are also sensitive to complex noun phrase configurations: example (409b) illustrates that it is impossible to extract an exclamative wh-phrase from a relative clause.

Example 409
a. Jan verdedigde [de stelling [dat kernenergie zeer gevaarlijk is]].
  Jan defended   the thesis   that  nuclear.energy  very dangerous  is
  'Jan defended the claim that nuclear energy is very dangerous.'
b. * [Wat gevaarlijk]i verdedigde Jan [de stelling [dat kernenergie ti is]]!
  what dangerous  defended  Jan    the thesis   that  nuclear.energy  is

The examples in (408) and (409) thus show that non-split wh-exclamatives also exhibit the third, and final, characteristic property of wh-movement in (401c): the island-sensitivity of the antecedent-trace relation. It is therefore safe to conclude that wh-movement is involved in the derivation of non-split wh-exclamatives.

[+]  B.  Pseudo-split pattern

Now that we have established that the non-split pattern is derived by wh-movement, our next task is to show that the pseudo-split pattern does not involve wh-movement. Consider example (410), which provides the pseudo-split counterparts of the non-split wh-exclamatives in (402).

Example 410
a. Wat staan er een mooie boeken in die kast!
subject
  what  stand  there  a beautiful books  in that bookcase
  'What beautiful books are in that bookcase!'
b. Wat heb je een mooie boeken gekocht!
direct object
  what  have  you  a beautiful books  bought
  'What beautiful books you have bought!'
c. Wat zijn die boeken mooi!
complementive
  what  are  those books  beautiful
  'How beautiful those books are!'

The previous subsection has argued that the wh-phrases in clause-initial position in the non-split exclamatives in (402) are constituents, and a conceivable analysis of the split exclamatives in (410) would therefore be that wh-movement of exclamative wat doesn't have to pied-pipe the remainder of the larger constituent but may also strand it. This would give rise to the representations in (411), with t representing the wh-trace of exclamative w at.

Example 411
Incorrect analysis of the pseudo-split wh-exclamatives in ( 410)
a. Wati staan er [ti een mooie boeken] in die kast!
b. Wati heb je [ti een mooie boeken] gekocht!
c. Wati zijn die boeken [ti mooi]!

The discussion below will show, however, that this analysis is not tenable: wh-movement cannot be involved in the derivation of the pseudo-split pattern. Instead, we will be led to assume that exclamative wat is base-generated in clause-initial position and that it enters into a syntactic dependency relation with a degree variable introduced by the gradable adjective mooi'beautiful' (in the present examples that receive a higher-than-expected-degree reading). The correct analysis of the examples in (410) is therefore the one sketched in (412), in which Δ stands for the degree variable and the indices indicate the syntactic dependency relation between exclamative wat and the variable.

Example 412
Correct analysis of the pseudo-split wh-exclamatives in ( 410)
a. Wati staan er [een [Δi mooie] boeken] in die kast!
b. Wati heb je [een [Δi mooie] boeken] gekocht!
c. Wati zijn die boeken [Δi mooi]!

The two analyses cannot easily be evaluated on the basis of the examples in (410), as they give rise to more or lesss similar, since wh-extraction is possible from interrogative wat voor-phrases functioning as subject or object. Evaluation is possible, however, on the basis of the pseudo-split counterparts of the non-split wh-exclamative in (404), in which exclamative wat is embedded in a PP. The primeless examples in (413) show that the pseudo-split counterparts of these examples are fully acceptable. The wh-movement analysis would assign to these examples the structures in the singly-primed examples, while the alternative hypothesis according to which exclamative wat is base-generated in clause-initial position is given in the doubly-primed examples.

Example 413
a. Wat schrijft hij toch over een rare onderwerpen!
PP-complement
  what  writes  he  prt  about a strange topics
  'What strange topics he writes about!'
a'. Wati schrijft hij toch [PP over [NPti een rare onderwerpen]]!
a''. Wati schrijft hij toch [PP over [NP een [AP Δi rare] onderwerpen]]!
b. Wat zit jij op een grote stoel!
PP-complementive
  what  sit  you  on a big chair
  'What a big chair you are sitting in!'
b'. Wati zit jij [PP op [NPti een grote stoel]]!
b''. Wati zit jij [PP op [NP een [AP Δi grote] stoel]]!

What we will show now is that the syntactic representations in (413a'&b') are syntactically ill-formed, which leaves us with the structures in the doubly-primed examples. We will do so with the help of a brief discussion of so-called wat voor-phrases, which are used to form questions and arguably do involve wh-movement. The examples in (414) show that such wat voor-phrases at first sight behave exactly like wh-exclamatives in that they optionally split in certain cases; the reader can verify this by comparing the examples in (414) to the wh-exclamatives in (402a&b) and (410a&b).

Example 414
a. [Wat voor een boeken]i staan er ti in die kast?
subject
  what for a books  stand  there  in that bookcase
  'What kind of books are there in that bookcase?'
a'. Wati staan er [ti voor een boeken] in die kast?
  what  stand  there  for a books  in that bookcase
  'What kind of books are there in that bookcase!'
b. [Wat voor een boeken]i heb je ti gekocht?
direct object
  what for a books  have you bought
  'What kind of books have you bought?'
b'. Wati heb je [ti voor een boeken] gekocht?
  what  have  you  for a books  bought
  'What kind of books have you bought?'

However, wat voor-constructions exhibit a crucially different behavior from wh-exclamative phrases in that the split pattern is impossible if the wat voor-phrase is the complement of a preposition. It is important to note that the impossibility of the split pattern is in conformity with the fact that wh-movement from prepositional phrases is normally excluded, the only exception being wh-movement from pronominalized PPs of the form waar'P + what'.

Example 415
a. [Over wat voor een onderwerpen]i schrijft hij ti?
PP-complement
  about what for a topics writeS  he
  'About what kind of topics is he writing?'
a'. * Wati schrijft hij [PP over [NPti voor een onderwerpen]]?
  what  writes  he  about  for a topics
b. [PP Op wat voor een stoel] zit jij ti?
PP-complementive
  on what for a chair  sit  you
  'In what kind of chair are you sitting?'
b'. * Wati zit jij [PP op [NPti voor een stoel]]?
  what  sit  you  on  for a chair

In short, the fact that the primed examples are unacceptable shows that Dutch prepositional phrases do not only constitute islands for wh-extraction of their nominal complements but also for subparts of their nominal complement. Now that we have established this, we can return to the pseudo-split wh-exclamatives in (413). The fact that the two singly-primed structures derived by wh-movement are in all relevant respects identical to the unacceptable primed examples in (415) shows that they are syntactically ill-formed. We should therefore conclude that the postulation of a wh-trace was incorrect and that the alternative analysis in the doubly primed examples in (413), according to which exclamative wat binds the degree variable introduced by the gradable adjective, is to be preferred.
      A similar argument can be built on the basis of the pseudo-split counterparts of the adverbial wh-phrases in (405), which are given in (416); the wh-movement hypothesis assigns to these constructions the representations in the singly-primed examples while the alternative hypothesis provides the structures in the doubly-primed examples. Because the earlier discussion of the examples in (413) to (415) has already shown that representation (416b') is syntactically ill-formed, we will focus on the exclamative in (416a).

Example 416
a. Wat heb jij zorgvuldig gewerkt!
  what  have  you  carefully  worked
  'How meticulously you have worked!'
a'. Wati heb jij [APti zorgvuldig] gewerkt!
a''. Wati heb jij [AP Δi zorgvuldig] gewerkt!
b. Wat heb jij met een grote zorgvuldigheid gewerkt!
  what  have  you  with a great care  worked
  'With what a great care you have worked!'
b'. Wati heb jij [PP met [NPti een grote zorgvuldigheid]] gewerkt!
b''. Wati heb jij [PP met [NP een [AP Δi grote] zorgvuldigheid]]] gewerkt!

The reason to exclude analysis (416a') has to do with the fact that it violates another independently motivated restriction on wh-movement, viz., that wh-movement of degree modifiers such as hoe'how' triggers pied piping of the full adverbial phrase of manner; stranding of the non- wh-part of the phrase gives rise to a severely degraded result. The fact that the unacceptable structure in (417b) resembles (416a') again disfavors the wh-movement analysis.

Example 417
a. [AP Hoe zorgvuldig]i heb jij gewerkt?
  how carefully  have  you  worked
  'How carefully have you worked?'
b. * Hoei heb je [APti zorgvuldig] gewerkt?
  how  have  you  carefully  worked

      The discussion above has shown that pseudo-split exclamative constructions are not sensitive to certain well-established islands for wh-movement, and thus do not exhibit the characteristic property of wh-movement in (401c). Pseudo-split wh-exclamatives do not exhibit the property in (401b) either. The examples in (418) show that the relation between the exclamative element wat and its associate (the trace/degree variable cannot be established in a non-local fashion in bridge-verb contexts; cf. Krijgsman (1983:150), Corver (1990:ch.4) and Bennis (1998).

Example 418
a. * Wat zei hij [dat er een mooie boeken in die kast staan]!
subject
  what  said  he   that  there  a beautiful books  in that bookcase  stand
b. * Wat zei hij [dat Marie een mooie boeken gekocht had]!
direct object
  what  said  he   that  Marie  a beautiful books  bought  had
c. * Wat zei hij [dat die boeken mooi zijn]!
complementive
  what  said  he   that  those books  beautiful  are

The unacceptability of the pseudo-split wh-exclamatives in (418) is hard to explain under a wh-movement approach. One possibility would be to assume that the unacceptability is related to the fact that wat is subextracted from a noun/adjectival phrase. The acceptability of the examples in (419) shows, however, that such subextraction is possible in the case of uncontroversial wh-constructions involving wat voor-phrases; cf. Corver (1990) and Bennis (1998).

Example 419
a. Wati zei hij [dat er [ti voor een boeken] in die kast staan].
  what  said  he   that  there  for a books  in that bookcase  stand
  'What kind of books said he are in the bookcase?'
b. Wati zei hij [dat Marie [ti voor een boeken] gekocht had].
  what  said  he   that  Marie  for a books  bought  had
  'What kind of books said he Marie had bought?'

An alternative account for the unacceptability of the examples (418) can be built on the earlier suggestion that exclamative wat must enter in a syntactic dependency relation with the degree variable introduced by the gradable adjective mooi'beautiful'. Given that such syntactic dependencies are normally clause-bound, no relation can be established between the exclamative operator wat and the degree variable introduced by the gradable adjective mooi'beautiful'; the two elements are simply not sufficiently local, as the former is located in the main clause while the latter is located in the embedded clause. Note that the clause-bound nature of the syntactic dependency makes it impossible to test whether the pseudo-split pattern is sensitive to islands evoked by, e.g., embedded interrogative or relative clauses, as these imply that the syntactic dependency crosses a clause boundary: the pseudo-split counterparts of the non-split examples in (407) to (409) are therefore (correctly) predicted to be impossible anyway.

[+]  C.  More differences between non-split and pseudo-split wh-exclamatives

The conclusion that non-split and pseudo-split wh-exclamatives have different underlying structures is consistent with the fact that they exhibit different syntactic behavior in other respects as well. The examples in (420), for instance, show that they differ with respect to the presence of spurious een: while een is obligatorily present in non-split wh-exclamatives such as (420a) with a higher-than-expected-degree reading, it can easily be left out in the corresponding pseudo-split counterpart.

Example 420
a. [Wat *(een) mooie boeken]i heb jij ti gekocht!
  what     a  beautiful  books  have  you  bought
  'What beautiful books you have bought!'
b. Wati heb jij [(een) [Δi mooie] boeken] gekocht!
  what  have  you     a  beautiful  books  bought
  'What a beautiful books you have bought!'

We have already mentioned in Subsection IC that it is somewhat surprising that spurious een can be present in pseudo-split wh-exclamatives such as (420b) with a higher-than-expected-degree reading; we expect it to introduce a quantity variable which is not reflected in the meaning. It has been argued, however, that the obligatory presence of spurious een in non-split wh-exclamatives is not only related to meaning but may also have a syntactic motivation; see Bennis et al. (1998) for discussion. Such an approach to the obligatoriness of spurious een in non-split wh-exclamatives would be incompatible with the claim that the pseudo-split constructions are derived from the same base structures as their non-split counterparts, given that we would then predict spurious een to be obligatory in the pseudo-split pattern as well. The contrast between the two examples in (420) with respect to spurious een thus indirectly supports the conclusion that non-split and pseudo-split wh-exclamatives have different underlying structures.
      The conclusion that pseudo-split wh-exclamatives do not involve wh-movement may also account for the fact that a single exclamative wh-element is able to bind more than one variable; cf. Corver (1990:110). This is illustrated in (421): the presence of the spurious article een in the examples in (421a&b) first shows that exclamative wat can be associated with either the subject or the object; the relative acceptability of (421c) further shows that wat can also be associated with both the subject and the object.

Example 421
a. Wat hebben er [een mensen] goederen gedoneerd!
  what  have  there   a people  goods  donated
  'What a lot of people have donated things!'
b. Wat heeft Marie [een goederen] gedoneerd!
  what  has  Marie   a goods  donated
  'What a lot of things Marie has donated!'
c. (?) Wat hebben er [een mensen] [een goederen] gedoneerd!
  what  have  there   a people   a goods  donated
  'What a lot of people have donated what a lot of things!'

This would be very difficult to account for under a wh-movement analysis given that the one-to-many relation in (421c) is not found in the case of uncontroversial wh-extraction. We illustrate this by means of questions with the wat voor split: although the examples in (422a&b) show that subjects and objects both allow the wat voor split, example (422c) shows that wat cannot be associated with two wh-traces; see Section 11.3.7, sub I, for a more detailed discussion of this restriction.

Example 422
a. Wati hebben er [ti voor een mensen] goederen gedoneerd?
  what  have  there  for a people  goods  donated
  'What kind of of people have donated things?'
b. Wati heeft Marie [ti voor een goederen] gedoneerd?
  what  has  Marie  for a goods  donated
  'What kind of goods has Marie donated?'
c. * Wati hebben er [ti voor een mensen] [ti voor een goederen] gedoneerd?
  what  have  there  for a people  for a goods  donated
  'What kind of of people have donated what kind of things?'

      Note, finally, that while example (423b) is notably better than (422c), example (423b) is much worse than (421c). The contrast between the two examples in (423) would again be surprising if pseudo-split wh-exclamatives were derived by wh-movement of exclamative wat.

Example 423
a. * Wat hebben er [een mensen] [wateen goederen] gedoneerd!
  what  have  there   a people   what a goods  donated
  'What a lot of people have donated what a lot of things!'
b. Wati hebben er [ti voor een mensen] [wat voor een goederen] gedoneerd?
  what  have  there  for a people  what for a goods  donated
  'What kind of people have donated what kind of things?'
[+]  III.  Wh-exclamatives can be main or non-main clauses

The discussion of wh-exclamatives in the previous subsections has focused on exclamative main clauses, that is, we have looked at cases in which the wh-phrase occupies the initial position of the main clause, subsection ID has briefly mentioned, however, that there are also embedded exclamative clauses. This subsection will show that such embedded cases differ from their main clause counterparts in various respects. The first difference is illustrated in (424): while main clauses allow both the non-split and the pseudo-split pattern, embedded exclamatives allow the non-split pattern only.

Example 424
a. Ik was vergeten [[wat een aardige vrouw]i Marie ti is].
  was  forgotten    what a nice woman  Marie  is
  'Iʼd forgotten what a nice woman Marie is.'
b. * Ik was vergeten [wati Marie [een [Δi aardige] vrouw] is].
  was  forgotten   what  Marie   a  nice  woman  is

The examples in (425) illustrate a second difference: the exclamative wh-element hoe'how' can sometimes be used in embedded contexts.

Example 425
a. Ik was vergeten [[hoe aardig]i Marie ti is].
  was  forgotten    how nice  Marie  is
  'Iʼd forgotten how nice Marie is.'
b. * Ik was vergeten [hoei Marie [Δi aardig] is].
  was  forgotten   hoe  Marie  nice  is

The examples in (426) show that this option is only available if the preposed wh-phrase is adjectival in nature, that is, hoe'how' is excluded if the preposed wh-phrase is a noun phrase.

Example 426
a. Ik was vergeten [[wat/*hoe een aardige vrouw]i Marie ti is].
  was  forgotten    what/how a nice woman  Marie  is
  'Iʼd forgotten what a nice woman Marie is.'
b. Ik was vergeten [[hoe/*wat aardig]i Marie ti is].
  was  forgotten    how/what nice  Marie  is
  'Iʼd forgotten how nice Marie is.'

The examples in (427) show that embedded wh-exclamatives differ in this respect from main clause wh-exclamatives, as the use of hoe'how' is normally excluded in the latter case; cases like (427b) are normally found in formal language and (older) writing only and considered obsolete.

Example 427
a. [Wat/*Hoe een aardige vrouw]i is Marie ti!
  what/how a nice woman  is Marie
  'What a nice woman Marie is!'
b. [Wat/#Hoe aardig]i is Marie ti!
  what/how nice is Marie
  'How kind nice is!'

The fact that hoe is only acceptable in embedded clauses such as (426b) may give rise to the idea that there are in fact no embedded wh-exclamative constructions; we may be dealing with special uses of embedded wh-questions instead given that hoe is the designated interrogative element in questions such as (428).

Example 428
[Hoe aardig]i is Marie ti?
  how nice  is Marie
'How nice is Marie?'

The hypothesis that apparent embedded wh-exclamative constructions are actually interrogative deserves serious consideration, as certain questions can indeed be used as exclamatives, a typical example being Wat heb je nu weer gedaan?!'What stupid things have you done now?!'. We will show, however, that this hypothesis runs into several potential problems. First, it leaves unexplained why the main clause counterparts of the embedded clauses with a nominal wh-phrase in (429a&b) cannot be used as regular questions: the number signs in the primed examples indicate that such main clauses are acceptable but only as exclamations.

Example 429
a. Ik weet [[wat een boeken]i hij heeft ti].
  know    what a books  he has
  'I know what a large quantity of books he has.'
a'. # [Wat een boeken]i heeft hij ti?
  what a books  has  he
b. Ik weet [[wat een mooie boeken]i hij heeft ti].
  know    what a beautiful books he has
  'I know what fine books he has.'
b'. # [Wat een mooie boeken]i heeft hij ti?
  what a beautiful books  has  he

That we cannot interpret the primed examples in (429) as questions probably means that we should restrict the prohibition of embedded exclamatives to cases in which the fronted wh-phrase is adjectival in nature. While it is actually very difficult to implement this idea, there are also empirical reasons for assuming that it is not on the right track. Elliott (1974) and Grimshaw (1979) have shown, for example, that while interrogative wh-elements cannot readily co-occur with degree modifiers, this is easily possible with exclamative wh-elements. This is illustrated in (430) for the degree modifier vreselijk'terribly': while the question in (430b) is quite marked, example (430a) is completely natural with a higher-than-expected-degree reading. This contrast would be hard to explain if apparent embedded wh-exclamatives were in fact interrogatives.

Example 430
a. Ik weet [[hoe vreselijk groot]i hij ti is].
  know    how terribly tall  he  is
  'I know how terribly tall is.'
b. $ [Hoe vreselijk groot]i is hij ti?
  how terribly tall  is he

Furthermore, there is good reason for assuming that examples such as (431a) are structurally ambiguous. This can be brought out by the fact that Dutch allows overtly realization of the complementizer in constructions like these in speech. The (b)-examples show that the complementizer may be of'whether', which can be seen as a typical quality of embedded interrogative clauses, but can also be dat'that', which is a characteristic of non-interrogative clauses. Although judgments are not fully clear, it seems that the embedded clause in (431b) must indeed be interpreted as interrogative, while the embedded clause in (431b') is preferably interpreted as exclamative (although some speakers also allow an interrogative interpretation).

Example 431
a. Ik weet [[hoe groot]i hij ti is].
ambiguous
  know    how tall  he  is
  'I know how tall he is.'
b. Ik weet [[hoe groot]i of hij ti is].
question reading only
  know    how tall  comp  he   is
  'I know how tall he is.'
b'. Ik weet [[hoe groot]i dat hij ti is].
exclamative reading preferred
  know    how tall  comp  he  is
  'I know how tall he is.'

Judgments may become clearer for some speakers if we add the degree adverb vreselijk'terribly' to the adjectival phrases in (431). In accordance with the fact illustrated in (430b) that this disfavors the interrogative interpretation, example (432a) receives a higher-than-expected-degree reading and the example with the complementizer of in (432b) seems degraded.

Example 432
a. Ik weet [[hoe vreselijk groot]i hij ti is].
exclamative reading preferred
  know    how terribly tall  he  is
  'I know how terribly tall he is.'
b. ?? Ik weet [[hoe vreselijk groot]i of hij ti is].
  know    how terribly tall  comp  he   is
  'I know how terribly tall he is.'
b'. Ik weet [[hoe vreselijk groot]i dat hij ti is].
  know    how terribly tall  comp  he  is
  'I know how terribly tall he is.'

      The discussion above has shown that the hypothesis that the presumed embedded exclamative clauses are actually interrogative clauses runs into various problems; we refer the reader to Elliott (1974) and Grimshaw (1979) for more problems based on English. If we conclude from this that we are dealing with true embedded exclamatives, there are still at least two difficult questions to answer: Why is the pseudo-split pattern excluded in embedded clauses and how is it that the wh-element hoe'how' can be used in embedded clauses only? We have to leave these issues to future research.

[+]  IV.  Exclamations versus exclamatives

The wh-constructions discussed in the previous subsections are by no means the only way to form exclamations. In fact, there are many types of exclamations, but it is not the case that all types are of interest for syntactic research. It seems that syntax has very little to say about exclamations that consist of a single word (often interjections) like goddank!'thank goodness!', bah !'yuck!', asjemenou!'good heavens', or lexicalized phrases like Lieve hemel'good heavens' or Mijn god'My God!', as their use as exclamations is mainly a matter of lexical meaning. According to Castroviejo Miró (2008) exclamations such as those in (433) are not a subject matter of syntax either but of pragmatics; we are dealing with regular declarative expressions that are used as exclamations.

Example 433
a. Wat vind je van dit schilderij? Dat is fantastisch!
  what  find  you  of this painting that  is great
  'What do you think of this painting? Itʼs great!'
b. Kom je morgen? Ja, ik kijk ernaar uit!
  come you tomorrow  yes  look to.it  out
  'Are you coming tomorrow? Yes, I am looking forward to it!'

Another typical example already mentioned in subsection III is the question in (434a), in which the exclamative intonation contour indicates that a special non-interrogative interpretation is intended; this example is used to express a reproach. We are thus dealing with a similar phenomenon as in (434b), in which a question is used as an order. Examples like these belong to the domain of pragmatics that investigates indirect speech acts; we refer the reader to the seminal paper by Searle (1975) and the brief review of speech act theory in Huang (2009).

Example 434
a. Wat heb je nu (weer) gedaan?!
  what  have  you  now   prt  done
  'For Godʼs sake, what have you done now?!'
b. Wil je daar alsjebieft mee ophouden?!
  want  you  there  please  with  prt.-stop
  'Will you, please, stop doing that?!'

What the cases mentioned so far have in common is their special exclamative intonation contour, which is a clue for the hearer that a certain construction is intended as an exclamation. Syntactic research is more interested in exclamations that have certain special syntactic features; such exclamations are normally referred to as exclamative constructions orexclamatives. Next to the wh-exclamatives which have been the main interest of our discussion in the previous subsections, there are several other types of exclamative construction, which we will briefly discuss in Subsection A, subsection B discusses a number of other cases that can be used as exclamations but which we believe would be more profitably analyzed in terms of the lexicon or language use. For want of in-depth syntactic investigations, the discussion will necessarily be of a preliminary nature.

[+]  A.  Other types of exclamative constructions

Consider again the wh-exclamatives in (435). We have seen that these constructions have various characteristic properties. First, they involve the exclamative wh-element wat, which acts as an exclamative operator. Second, the exclamative operator is licensed by binding a variable introduced by a gradable adjective and/or the spurious article een. Third, the operator and the variable enter into a syntactic dependency relation, which means that they must be part of the same clause. The examples in (435) also illustrate that wh-exclamatives come in two types: non-split wh-exclamatives like the primeless examples, which are derived by wh-movement, and pseudo-split wh-exclamatives like the primed examples, which involve base-generation of the exclamative operator wat in sentence-initial position.

Example 435
a. [Wat een mooie boeken]i staan er ti in die kast!
  what a beautiful books  stand  there  in that bookcase
  'What beautiful books there are in that bookcase!'
a'. Wat staan er een mooie boeken in die kast!
  what  stand  there  a beautiful books  in that bookcase
  'What beautiful books are in that bookcase!'
b. [Wat mooi]i zijn die boeken ti!
  what beautiful  are  those books
  'How beautiful those books are!'
b'. Wat zijn die boeken mooi!
  what  are  those books  beautiful
  'How beautiful those books are!'

The introduction to this subsection has shown that the use of an exclamative intonation pattern is not sufficient for concluding that we are dealing with exclamatives, that is, exclamations that are syntactically marked as such. We must therefore appeal to other properties in order to establish this, subsection I has shown that wh-exclamatives are characterized by the fact that they have a higher-than-expected-degree or a larger-than-expected-quantity reading; we will use this as first distinguishing feature of exclamative constructions, subsection IA has further shown that the exclamative wh-element is not licensed as a clausal constituent but as an exclamative operator; we will consider the presence of this element a second characteristic of exclamative constructions. Similarly, we will consider the presence of spurious article een as an important clue, although we must be more careful in this case because it can also occur in other construction types such as the interrogative wat voor-construction: cf. Wat voor een boeken heb je gekocht'What kind of books have you bought?'. From these three criteria we can safely conclude that we are dealing with genuine exclamative constructions in the examples in (436); it seems in fact reasonable to assume that they are derived from the primeless examples in (435) by some form of ellipsis.

Example 436
a. Wat een mooie boeken!
  what  beautiful  books
  'What beautiful books!'
b. Wat mooi!
  what  beautiful
  'How beautiful!'

Other potential cases of exclamative constructions are given in (437a). These examples have a higher-than-expected-degree or a larger-than-expected-quantity reading; both examples in fact allow the two readings, although we have only indicated the most prominent one within square brackets. The fact that the noun phrases in these examples contain the spurious article een can be seen as an additional clue that we are dealing with exclamative constructions. If so, we should raise the question how the degree/quantity variable introduced by the adjective/spurious article is bound. Bennis (1998) has suggested that the ethical dative me is like exclamative wat in that it can function as an exclamative operator (which would of course be compatible with the fact that the ethical dative always expresses emotional involvement of the speaker). The fact illustrated in the primed examples that the ethical dative blocks the use of exclamative wat can be used to support this claim: if the ethical dative is indeed an exclamative operator, the addition of exclamative wat is blocked because it leads to vacuous quantification as it is not needed to bind the variable.

Example 437
a. Er staan me een mooie boeken in die kast!
quality
  there  stand  me  a beautiful books  in that bookcase
  'What beautiful books are in that bookcase!'
a'. * Wat staan er me een mooie boeken in die kast!
  what  stand  there  me  a beautiful books  in that bookcase
b. Er staan me een boeken in die kast!
quantity
  there  stand  me  a books  in that bookcase
  'What a lot of books are in that bookcase!'
b'. * Wat staan er me een boeken in die kast!
  what  stand  there  me  a books  in that bookcase

Bennis also suggests that particles such as toch may function as exclamative operators. This would be consistent with the fact that the primeless examples in (438) do have a higher-than-expected-degree/larger-than-expected-quantity reading, but the fact that toch does not block the use of exclamative wat may be a problem for this claim: if toch is indeed an exclamative operator, the addition of exclamative wat should be blocked because it would lead to vacuous quantification as it is not needed to bind the variable. In fact, the same problem occurs with Er staan metoch een (mooie) boeken in die kast! in which toch co-occurs with the ethical dative me.

Example 438
a. Er staan toch een mooie boeken in die kast!
quality
  there  stand  prt  a beautiful books  in that bookcase
a'. Wat staan er toch een mooie boeken in die kast!
  what  stand  there  prt  a beautiful books  in that bookcase
b. Er staan toch een boeken in die kast!
quantity
  there  stand  prt  a books  in that bookcase
b'. Wat staan er toch een boeken in die kast!
  what  stand  there  prt  a books  in that bookcase

Bennis solves the problem that the particle toch can co-occur with exclamative wat and the ethical dative by assuming that toch can have other (adverbial) functions next to its use as exclamative operator. It is not a priori clear whether appealing to the presence of toch is needed to account for the exclamative higher-than-expected-degree/larger-than-expected-quantity meaning of the primeless examples in (438), given that the examples in (439) also allow an exclamative reading. If we take the presence of the spurious article een as sufficient evidence for assuming that we are dealing with exclamatives, we should conclude that the exclamative operator does not have to be phonetically realized.

Example 439
a. Er staan een mooie boeken in die kast!
quality
  there  stand  a beautiful books  in that bookcase
  'What beautiful books are in that bookcase!'
b. Er staan een boeken in die kast!
quantity
  there  stand  a books  in that bookcase
  'What a lot of books are in that bookcase!'

Postulating a phonetically empty exclamative operator makes it unnecessary to appeal to the particle toch to account for the exclamative reading of the primeless examples in (438), but it also raises the question as to why we need exclamative wat or the ethical dative at all. For completeness' sake, note that the spurious article can also be dropped in the examples in (439). The resulting structure in (440a) has the same higher-than-expected-degree reading as (439a). The resulting structure in (440b), on the other hand, does not allow the larger-than-expected-quantity reading, which is in fact expected on the hypothesis that the quantity variable is introduced by een; the higher-than-expected-degree reading that arises instead must be the attributed to some contextually determined gradable property that is left implicit.

Example 440
a. Er staan mooie boeken in die kast!
quality
  there  stand  beautiful books  in that bookcase
b. Er staan boeken in die kast!
quantity
  there  stand  books  in that bookcase

      Another potential exclamative construction without an overt exclamative operator is given in (441). The fact that (441a) involves the spurious article een may again be seen as an argument for assuming that we are dealing with a syntactically marked exclamation. A plausible account of this example would be to assume that the noun phrase een boeken undergoes reconstruction into the object position of the verb hebben in the scope of some empty exclamative operator, as a result of which the degree/quantity variable can be properly bound; the details of an analysis of this kind still need to be properly worked out. Although example (441b) does not provide a visible clue in favor of assuming exclamative status, we may assume this by analogy with example (441a).

Example 441
a. Een (mooie) boeken dat hij heeft!
  a beautiful books  that  he  has
b. Mooi dat het boek geworden is!
  beautiful  that  the book  become  is

Postulating a covert exclamative operator in the examples in (441) can be supported by the fact that it correctly predicts that use of the exclamative operator what is excluded in this construction, as this would lead to vacuous quantification.

Example 442
a. * Wat een (mooie) boeken dat hij heeft!
  what  a beautiful books  that  he  has
b. * Wat mooi dat het boek geworden is!
  what beautiful  that  the book  become  is

Note in passing that the clauses following the noun and adjective are introduced by the complementizer dat'that'; dat cannot be analyzed as a relative pronoun given that it would then fail to agree in number with its antecedent; relative pronouns with a plural nominal antecedent surface as die, while relative elements with an adjectival antecedent surface as wat. This observation will become relevant in the next subsection.

[+]  B.  Exclamations

Not all exclamations are instantiations of exclamative constructions, that is, constructions having certain syntactic properties that can be held responsible for an exclamative interpretation. Such interpretations may also be the result of, e.g., lexical or pragmatic considerations. Consider example (443a), which superficially resembles example (441a) from the previous subsection but is in fact of an entirely different nature. First, we are not dealing with a higher-than-expected-degree or larger-than-expected-quantity reading; the speaker instead expresses surprise about the type of books that Peter reads. Second, (443a) does not provide any visible clue that we are dealing with an exclamative construction, due to the fact that een is not present. Third, we are dealing with a kind of relative construction; die in (443a) is a pronoun that agrees in gender and number with its antecedent boeken, while we have seen that dat in (441a) is a complementizer. Finally, example (443b) shows that (443a) can be used in regular NP-position, while (441a) cannot; an example such as *Ik ben verbaasd over een (mooie) boeken dat hij heeft! is unacceptable.

Example 443
a. De boeken die Peter leest!
  the books  rel  Peter reads
  'The books Peter is reading!'
b. Ik ben verbaasd over de boeken die Peter leest.
  am  surprised  about  the books that Peter read
  'I am surprised about the books that Peter is reading.'

The discussion above suggests that (443a) is simply an elided form of a declarative clause such as (443b), and it is therefore not immediately obvious that an exclamative interpretation can be attributed to identifiable syntactic properties of the construction; we might as well be dealing with a pragmatically determined interpretation. This is consistent with the observation that "incomplete" sentences more generally have special features; Evans (2007) and Boogaart & Verhey (2013), for instance, claim that independently used non-main clauses such as the declarative in (444) are normally used in order to express a special emotional (exclamative) value.

Example 444
Dat je dat durft!
  that  you  that  dare
Approximately: 'Boy, that you dare to do that! You have a nerve!'

The interpretation of examples such (444) is evidently a performance phenomenon related to language use, and not related to syntactic competence. Furthermore, it seems that many cases are more or lesss idiomatic in nature, that is, not productively derived by means of deletion of a matrix clause; an exclamation like (445), for example, does not allow the addition of a matrix clause. That the exclamation in (445b) is idiomatic in nature is also clear from the fact that En of! can be used as an independent utterance to express emphatic confirmation or even an expression of high degree. Ben je blij? En of!'Are you glad? Yes, very much so!'.

Example 445
A: Dat durf je niet. B: En of ik dat durf!
  that  dare  you  not and  if  that  dare
'A: You wouldnʼt dare! B: O, yes, I would!'

      Other cases of independently used non-main clauses, which were recently discussed by Nouwen & Chernilovskaya (2013/2014) as an additional type of wh-exclamative, are given in the primeless examples in (446). That the primed examples can be easily used as regular complement clauses suggests again that the exclamative import of the primeless examples can be attributed to the fact that we are dealing with "incomplete" sentences. For this reason, we do not accept Nouwen & Chernilovskaya's claim that the examples in (446a&b) instantiate a new type of wh-exclamative.

Example 446
a. Wie ik nou weer gezien heb!
  who I  prt  prt  seen  have
a'. Je raadt nooit [wie ik nou weer gezien heb].
  you  guess  never   who  I prt  prt  seen  have
  'Youʼll never guess who I have seen just now.'
b. Wat voor boek hij nou weer aan het lezen is!
  which book  he  prt  prt  aan het  read  is
b'. Je raadt nooit [wat voor boek hij nou weer aan het lezen is].
  you  guess  never   what for book   he  prt  prt  aan het  read  is
  'Youʼll never guess what kind of book he is reading now.'

Another reason to not adopt this claim is that the primeless examples in (446) exhibit none of the properties of the wh-exclamatives discussed in the previous subsections. First, they do not have a higher-than-expected-degree or a larger-than-expected-quantity reading, which is consistent with the fact that they do not contain an independent, designated element that can be held responsible for introducing a degree variable. Second, the wh-element in clause-initial position is independently licensed as an argument of the embedded clause and, consequently, there is no clear reason for assuming that it functions as an exclamative operator; we are simply dealing with the operator-variable relation normally found in interrogative clauses.

[+]  C.  Conclusion

This subsection has argued that we must make a terminological distinction between exclamation and exclamative; the latter denotes a subset of exclamations that are syntactically marked as such. The fact that the use of an exclamative intonation pattern is not sufficient for assuming exclamative status forces us to pinpoint specific properties as defining characteristics of exclamatives. Taking the discussion of wh-exclamatives as our point of departure we have assumed the following: (i) exclamatives involve an exclamative wh-element, which acts as an exclamative operator; (ii) the exclamative operator is licensed by binding a variable introduced by some designated element in the clause; (iii) the operator and the variable enter into a local syntactic dependency relation, which means that they must be part of the same clause. Because the operator and the variable are sometimes phonetically empty, it is not always easy to determine whether the defining properties are indeed present, and we therefore occasionally have to appeal to meaning, that is, to the question as to whether the construction has a higher-than-expected-degree or a larger-than-expected-quantity reading. We applied these criteria to a small sample of exclamation types in order to determine which types are eligible for a syntactic account and which types should be accounted for by other means (lexicon, pragmatics, etc.). Given the lack of sufficiently sophisticated syntactic investigations on exclamatives, our conclusion should be considered to be of a preliminary nature.

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