Saturday, November 27, 2010

"What a good blog post this is."

You don't happen to know what this phenomenon is called, do you? I've been looking around, and haven't managed to Google it yet.

(1) What a tall guy he is.
(2) I just realized what a tall guy he is.

That's definitely not the same thing as the question word being in front and, say, being the object of the verb...
(3) What did the dog knock over?

You can't rearrange (1) such that the "what" goes away.
(4) * He is what a tall guy.

If you were going to draw a parse tree, what would it look like? Surely a lot of ink has been spilled about it? I don't even know what it's called for sure. Something like a "wh-exclamatory statement"?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Wh-exclamatory" I googled! Exclamatory fronting I just demonstrated! What a demonstrative comment this is!

Anonymous said...

In other words, if you couldn't find it by googling, it's because the term "wh-exclamatory" doesn't usually precede "statement".

Alex Rudnick said...

@Anonymous: If you google-search for "wh-exclamatory", this very blog post comes up on the first page!

This is to say, the hits for "wh-exclamatory" didn't seem all that authoritative or plentiful. I did try that search, rest assured. Maybe there's another name, with more hits!

I could perhaps ask a syntactician if there's a more broadly-used term. Although maybe you are one?