Composure and composition
Maria Esipova
July 2021

In this paper, I argue that non-truth-conditional affective meanings (i.e., expressive meanings) are fundamentally different from truth-conditional affective and affect-related meanings---in ways that warrant complete separation of the two types of meaning in our formal semantic theories. In particular, I propose that, while modeling expression of immediate affect as direct context altering in Potts 2007b is already a good way to capture its performative and non-truth-based nature (in contrast to Potts 2005 or Schlenker 2007), we should furthermore completely separate such performative context-altering effects of a given expression achieved by virtue of uttering it from its compositional meaning, i.e., the meaning contribution it makes in its syntactic context. In addition, I demonstrate that we observe some of the same typology of affective and affect-related meanings as conveyed through "secondary" channels, such as prosody, facial expressions, and non-face gesture, as we do for fully conventionalized segmental morphemes (i.e., "words"). I furthermore show that we routinely make use of a productive mechanism of going from performative, non-truth-conditional expression of affect to demonstrations of such expression within pieces of truth-conditional meaning of the general form '(such that) it would make me/one go "DEMONSTRATION"', which we can then combine as supplements or modifiers with other truth-conditional content. We observe this process at work both for "words" (e.g., in at least some instances of spoken word expressives used for degree intensification) and for other types of meaning--form mappings (e.g., facial expressions and/or prosody conveying some form of surprise-related or negative affect)---and we can, thus, apply the same formal analysis to all these cases. [Note: While the July 2021 version of the paper relies on some of the same data as the January 2020 manuscript, it has been written entirely from scratch, with a new framing, proposal, and structure.]
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005003
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted for review
keywords: composition, expressives, attitudinal expressions, non-restricting modifiers, supplements, degree modifiers, facial expressions, gestures, prosody, semantics
previous versions: v1 [January 2020]
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