Chapter published in:Emotion in Discourse
Edited by J. Lachlan Mackenzie and Laura Alba-Juez
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 302] 2019
► pp. 87–112
Interjections and emotions
The case of gosh
Interjections in general can be considered linguistic expressions of emotions and attitudes, constituting complete and self-contained utterances. Though all languages are believed to have ‘emotive interjections’, the literature on interjections and emotions has proved to be sparse, while studies on specific interjections are particularly uncommon. This study investigates the interjection gosh, which we propose to analyze as an expletive secondary interjection, originally used in the area of religion as a euphemistic replacement of ‘God’. With the religious connection practically severed, gosh can be revealed as non-stigmatized and, in general, positively-valued. It is clearly a mild expletive, with a wide range of emotive, cognitive and discourse-structure uses. By exploring components of the BNC and COCA corpora, this chapter contributes to the study of gosh in terms of further formal and functional features (position and syntactic peripheral behavior, discourse role in conversation, dialogic character) together with possible differences between British and American English. Looking at the behavior of gosh in our data, we claim that it is an interjection that functions as a pragmatic marker in present-day English.
Keywords: interjection, euphemistic, pragmatic marker, emotion
Published online: 27 March 2019
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