The meaning of phatic and conative interjections
Ameka, F. K.
The meaning of phatic and conative interjections. Journal of Pragmatics, 18
(2/3), 245-271. doi:10.1016/0378-2166(92)90054-F.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the meanings of the members of two subclasses of interjections in Ewe: the conative/volitive which are directed at an auditor, and the phatic which are used in the maintenance of social and communicative contact. It is demonstrated that interjections like other linguistic signs have meanings which can be rigorously stated. In addition, the paper explores the differences and similarities between the semantic structures of interjections on one hand and formulaic words on the other. This is done through a comparison of the semantics and pragmatics of an interjection and a formulaic word which are used for welcoming people in Ewe. It is contended that formulaic words are speech acts qua speech acts while interjections are not fully fledged speech acts because they lack illocutionary dictum in their semantic structure.