Lars Larm: Non-displaceable language

Culture and languages

Lecture by Lars Larm, lecturer in Japanese at the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Gothenburg.

2 May 2024
13:15 - 14:30
C250, Faculty of Humanities, Renströmsgatan 6

Lars Larm, Institutionen för språk och litteraturer
Department of Languages and Literatures

One of Hockett’s (1960) design features is displacement. However, not all expressions exhibit this feature. This talk addresses forms and constructions that are ‘expressive’ in the sense of Potts (2007) and Gutzmann (2019). Expressives are non-displaceable, and hence pertain to the here-and-now of the speaker. I suggest such forms and constructions can be categorized based on the criteria of morphological variability, syntactic integration, and embeddability. I will illustrate my points with examples of English interjections and expressive attributive adjectives, Japanese subjective epistemic modals, and Swedish constructions from SAG (Svenska Akademiens Grammatik [The Swedish Academy Grammar]).



Gutzmann, D. (2019). The Grammar of Expressivity. Oxford University Press.

Hockett, C.F. (1960). ‘The Origin of Speech’. Scientific American 203: 88 –111. Reprinted in: Wang, W. S-Y. (1982) Human Communication: Language and Its Psychobiological Bases. Scientific American. 4 –12.

Potts, C. (2007). ‘The expressive dimension’. Theoretical Linguistics 33.2. 165–198.

Teleman, U., Hellberg, S., and Andersson, E. et al. (1999). Svenska akademiens grammatik (The Swedish Academy Grammar). Norstedts.