Interjections, language and the 'showing'-'saying' continuum

Wharton, Tim (2003) Interjections, language and the 'showing'-'saying' continuum. Pragmatics and Cognition, 11(1), pp. 39-91. ISSN (print) 0929-0907


Historically, interjections have been treated in two different ways: as part of language, or as non-words signifying feelings or states of mind. In this paper, I assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of two contemporary approaches which reflect the historical dichotomy, and suggest a new analysis which preserves the insights of both. Interjections have a natural and a coded element, and are better analysed as falling at various points along a continuum between ‘showing’ and ‘saying’. These two notions are characterised in theoretical terms, and some implications of the proposed approach are considered.

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