Part IV, Number Seven
IV.G MINOR WORD-CLASSES
IV.294 Some MINOR WORD-CLASSES have already been covered in integral combinations with the MAJOR WORD-CLASSES: the DETERMINERS, such as ARTICLES, DEMONSTRATIVES, QUANTIFIERS, ENUMERATORS, INTERROGATIVES and EXCLAMATORIES; and the respective PRO-FORMS. Also, many of the MODIFIERS of both NOUNS and VERBS we saw assumed the PATTERN of PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES for various motives, such as WEIGHT and BALANCE, or just in lack of simpler formats.
IV.295 The remaining MINOR WORD-CLASSES make up a motley crew, and some have been given short shrift by “grammars” for being “informal” or even “non-standard”. But “informality”, however interpreted, is no sound reason for ignoring any domain of attested usage. Our first criterion should be authenticity, with a steady eyes to learners of English will later encounter in real conversations.
IV.296 INTERJECTIONS are one WORD CLASS that has had jolly little respect from most “grammars”, even large ones, so I’ll do my bit to make amends by headlining them now.[Note 18] Whether they are a small WORD CLASS or a large one, an open or a closed one, which other WORD-CLASSES they can colonise, what meanings these might take on, or indeed whether they need to be WORDS at all -- not the sort of tidy questions that entice the average grammarian. On top of all it, many INTERJECTIONS may offend those who still cling to “British reserve” (I know, I know):
 ‘Language!” her mother would cry when Rita or her brother Bob said “crikey” or “blimey”. Her mother's voice would fill with outrage. Their grandmother, she said, would have washed out their mouths that instant with carbolic soap. (Nudists)
IV.297 The name may help us toward an answer. If, by their Latin roots, “adjectives” are “thrown at” (IV.170), “interjections” are “thrown in between”. They typically constitute brief episodes in discourse during which the current progress of grammatical work is retarded or suspended, whilst the discursive work becomes specially focused.
 I replied that, yes indeed it was still a bit to go before the top, and wow, certainly it was proving mighty tough. (First Fifty)
 Sorry you got a ticket, but damn that photo is funny (Geeks Make Me Hot)WWW
 I love snow and it snowed a couple of inches, but grr I can’t go out and play because of school work (Caleida)WWW
 The Cat and company travel by hot air balloon up and into various weather phenomena including rain, snow, thunder, tornadoes, and (yikes!) even hurricanes! (Teachers@Random)WWW
IV.298 INTERJECTIONS illustrate intriguing and complex interactions between forms and functions. The usually cited examples are single-piece units like those shown in [1388-91], including ones that have been historically compressed, such as: “God blind me” => “blimey”, or “God’s wounds” => “zounds”.
 “I owe five pounds an’ some interest if yer must know”, Mum shouted. “Oh blimey, whatever'll the ole man say when ‘e finds out? (Where There's Life)
 Zounds! First Gov. Huntsman gets praise for vetoing four absurd and unfair bills passed by the Republican Legislature, then he makes a silly claim that under his regressive flat tax plan, state revenues will be more stable. (Desert News)
Here too, very simple forms can carry a deal of discursive work. INTERJECTIONS can signal the reactions or attitudes of the speaker to some event or statement; but also signal what the hearer(s) ought to feel or do. They seem to offer a welcome means to release or display emotions, even (or especially) when they accomplish very little to amend the situation.
IV.299 In regard to forms, INTERJECTIONS can be identified in three sub-classes. The most basic and widely acknowledged are the SOUND INTERJECTIONS, which would not usually be classified as WORDS or PHRASES and which achieve their functions from the way they “sound”. VOWEL INTERJECTIONS contain at least one VOWEL SOUND and can signal either AMELIORATIVE [1394-95] or PEJORATIVE [1396-97]. “Ah” and “oh” are “classics” of this type.
 Ah, but your land is beautiful. (Alan Paton)
 Oh! how lovely the caravans were those evenings in Touggourt, when the sun was sinking into the salt. (André Gide)
 “Hurry up -- I gather people are standing in line for the loo.” “Ah -- now that is serious” (Classic English Crime)
 “We have our own musicians”, Frau Nordern said. “Oh!” The manager's face fell as he saw that part of his commission disappear. (Bury the Dead)
Variants with prolonged vowels can be represented with repeated letters. Here too, the same form can signal what’s either good [1398-99] or bad [1400-01]. Linguistically,  might warn that the “oolong tea” tastes totally yucky, but socially, rather praises it.
 “Aaah”, breathed Lucinda.” “Food.” The pies were round and flat, their concave lids filled with beans. “Aaah”, Lucinda said again. (All the Sweet Promises)
 A gurgling burn looms before you and in its cool streams you immerse your weary feet. Oooh, but it's lovely! (In Good Faith)
 “Aaah!” Robyn screamed as her grasp on the fountain faltered and then scrambled to regain her hold. (Garden of Desire)
 “I saw the most extraordinary creature in the churchyard. She didn't look quite human.” “Oooh, you are horrible, Lydia”, said Betty indignantly. (Unexplained Laughter)
 A rare oolong tea from the Darjeeling region of India is sure to produce both “ooohs” and “aaahs.” (Adagio Teas)WWW
Still higher quantities of printed VOWELS can convey degrees of emphasis:
 In the central square a game of boules was in progress. In between swings they expressed approval or disparagement of the play with drawn-out exclamations of “Ooooh!” and “Aaaah!” (Over the Edge)
 Wot, no match report!! Aaaaah, woe is me and all the rest of us stranded miles from Elland Road. (e-mail to Leeds United)BNC
 Radical Rebound is back in town (oooooh!) I changed the game and put in 5 different kinds of enemies to make the game more interesting. (Najdorf)WWW
IV.300 CONSONANT INTERJECTIONS contain at least one CONSONANT SOUND, which can also be repeated or prolonged. The most suitable are the so-called “nasal” ones “m” and “n”, and the “liquid” ones “l” and “r”. The most “classical” one is probably “hm” with its variants, conveying a moment of deliberation or indecision. In my older EPC data, it is not common, and attested at all only since the 19th century, always with a single “m”, e.g. . Recent usage, which is extremely common [1407-11], shows a prolongation similar to the VOWEL INTERJECTIONS.
 Their words too are still in the air, to endure there to all eternity. Hm! How the air must be crammed with nonsense! (Unsocial Socialist)
 “let's go and get Amy's collage set that she wants.” “What? Did you say collage set? Hm, hm, hm.” (conversation )BNC
 “she just hoped that news of her disappearance hadn't made it as far as the Glasgow papers.” “Hmmm.” Maidstone sounded as if he was not fully convinced. (Truth of Stone)
 “the best thing you can do today is lie low and keep your mouth shut.” “Hmmmm. We'll see”, is the best I'll give her. (The Dyke & the Dybbuk)
 Surely Andy is just too sensible and balanced to belong in rock ‘n’ roll? “Not really, I get too excited about it. You can't beat playing a gig, you get such a buzz off it. I don't feel balanced when we play live.” Hmmmmm. (NME)
 She lived in hope and dread. “We have to talk”? Hmmmmmmmmmm. Since Lucy had said it, then let her talk. (Jay Loves Lucy)
IV.301 I find no attestations at all of “mm” or “mmm” in the EPC. In recent data, it is mainly AMELIORATIVE, especially for what is smelt  or tasted , but at times overlaps in function with “hmm” .
 “Mmm, what's that delicious smell?” “Leek-and-potato stew.” (Crimson)
 Mmmmm! That succulent clementine orange tasted divine. (school essay)BNC
 “So much of my time is spent designing or in meetings it's all too easy to forget that this” -- he gazed around him, “is the purpose of it all.” “Mmm.” Polly refused to comment. (Bay of Rainbows)
IV.302 Whereas “hmm” and “mmm” and their variants are generally consciously controlled, some CONSONANT INTERJECTIONS such as “um” and “erm” need not be. As I can attest from gruelling experiences at conferences, some speakers manifest a prosody sounding like a car engine running with a missing cylinder.
 So you'll be able to pick those up on erm um um um on Friday morning, okay? So if you kind of er hang ar hang about till ten o'clock (social science lecture)BNC
 Or to put it, erm erm erm more simplistically how, how many people would have the vote. Erm we see this where you've got reformers who want the household suffrage er household suffrage across to those who wanted erm erm a universal male suffrage. (history lecture)BNC
But these items can, like “hmm” and “mmm” signal deliberation, especially at the front of an utterance:
 Someone tops everything by asking Crispin of [Daisy] Chainsaw how he gets his guitar sound. “Umm, I just turn my guitar up as far as it will go”, explains the puzzled axe hero. (NME)
 Although he can envisage working with Cauty again, is Alex tired of The KLF's ultra-commercial instincts? “Ummmm…there was a split in the fact that one person had one record label and the other person had another.” (same)
Or, they can signal some hesitation or uneasiness regarding what is about to be said:
 “Here's a nice little dell. Let's have a sit down.” “There's something I want to see on television”, I lied. “What's that?” “Er, um --” “That’s just an excuse.” (Dandelion Days)
 “I'm an, erm, bisexual, can I come in?” I left that meeting with the phrase, “I am a lesbian” ready to be spoken at any moment (Radical Records)
 Craig has laid claim to having spent a night sleeping “on one of them tofu things”. Erm, I think you mean a futon, Craig. (NME)
“Erm” can serve to ironicise something that is normally expressed just after:
 Nick Hasted investigates the often perilous journey from printed page to silver screen, and dares film-makers to have a crack at some of literature's more, erm, cerebral delights (NME)
 Right from the start you're treated to huge dollops of Simon Avery's erm, “unique” humour. (Zzap 64!)
IV.303 The SOUND INTERJECTION “ugh” has a clear meaning of signalling distaste or disgust.
 “Look at that!” he went on, complainingly. “Ugh! The reeking, filthy, slobbering idiot! (Eben Holden)
 I won't kiss you. I won't. Stop doing that! Ugh! you're like a dog -- you ought to find lovers round lamp-posts -- you beast -- you fiend! (German Pension)
The SOUND is unstable. In Britain the CONSONANT is, or was, the guttural sound like the “‑ch” in Scottish English “och”. In the US, a “spelling pronunciation” is common, like the last part of “hug”; the prolonged variants, however, are probably aimed at the guttural [1427-29].
 “That Ian Paisley -- ugh!” she said with feeling. She had a very nice line in “ughs”. (Jaunting through Ireland)
 uggh…the week of hell is upon me. I have to write a 7 page paper by monday, I have a paper due tomorrow and a journal (Chilly)WWW
 ugggh!!! My mom likes Bowling for Soup and today she bought the CD!!! And is playing it and singing god I hate it (Greatest Journal)WWW
 guess I am not the only one who hasn't seen any wedding cakes that don't use fondant. uggggh! I hate fondant. (Wedding Solutions)WWW
IV.304 I suspect a similar instability in a more trendy SOUND INTERJECTION with the same functions, namely “echh”, apparently borrowed from Yiddish and popularised by magazine. The length varies to suggest the strength of repulsion.
 Back in Oz [Australia], Fosters has such a terrific distribution system amongst retail outlets, that the beer drinkers don't have much choice, same as Americans and Bud (echhh). (hellbent)WWW
 It's a photo of Eminem in an Alf t-shirt. Echhhh. And to top it all off, Alf is saying “Hey, nice underwear!” (srah blah blah)WWW
 “MacDonalds or Burger King?” “Echhhhh! -- Sushi.” (Tell me about Yourself)WWW
The variants “yechh” and “yuck” can probably sound different as well.
 Yechh, what scummy Representatives these Republicans have become. (Captain's Quarters)WWW
 “I drunk half a pint of rum, half a pint of vodka and three or four cans of--” “Oh yuck! That is sick.” (conversation)BNC
IV.305 The “och” of Scottish English differs in functions, of which it has many. It can be used to downplay , to devalue , to show alarm , and so on.
 What's that on your leg, son? It's not blood, is it? Och no, it's just jam you've dropped. You're a right clairty [grotty] wee boy, aren't you! (Freely Sing)
 The walls are straight enough. But och, who would want to live here, out of it all, and with a weary hill to climb? (Cameron)
 “Och, we are doomed now.” A thudding outside, which they felt with their feet before they heard it. A flurry of bangs hit the door. (same)
IV.306 For signalling pain, one sound appears in varying forms [1438-42]. Only “ouch” is likely to be used for a nasty surprise  or a feeling of offence .
 “Ow!” Pete saw stars. Something enormous hit him on the nose. (National Trust)
 Owww! The cut between two of the fingers on my left hand hurts soooooo much. (Health Diaries)
 Ouch! ouch! You little monster! You're not supposed to bite Mummy! (Cathedral)
 ouchhh! I picked up my sweet little gerbil and he bit my lower lip. I'm allergic, so now I look like Ally McBeal or Uma Thurman (Cavy Compendium)
 Youch. Today I burnt my hand on a waffle. Of all the things to injure yourself on. (Tin Ear)WWW
 At a few shows, mainly the universities, alcohol is going to be a problem. Ouch! It's a dry gig! Diet Kool-Aid Lite all round! (Curve)
 In Ireland last week, we were accused of writing a “dirty” book for vulgar gain and worse, of racism. Ouch, that really hurt (Daily Telegraph)
IV.307 A whole gallery of one-syllable INTERJECTIONS formed with “h” + VOWEL SOUND discharges an impressive array of functions. At the centre is “ha”, which, spoken alone and with emphasis, can be quite PEJORATIVE, e.g. for the EMOTIONS of contempt , anger , or fear .
 “I am to drive the missionary to-day. He goes to the Delaware line.” “Ha! The Delawares!” sneered old Fire-Flower. “I like not those Delawares”. (Shagganappi)
 “Ramirez told you he loved you?” asked Nostromo, restraining himself. “Ah! once -- one evening…” “The miserable…Ha!” He had jumped up as if stung by a gad-fly, and stood before her mute with anger. (Nostromo)
 “Mistress Nutter is a witch, and in league with witches,” continued Nicholas. “Ha!” exclaimed Richard, turning deathly pale. (Lancashire Witches)
The companion form “ho” can serve to summon people  or to signal an emphatic reaction .
 “Ho! Paulina!” he shouted, “two plates for men who have not eaten.” (Tale of Saskatchewan)
 “Thou art one of those wise men”, cries she, “whose nonsensical principles have undone the nation.” “Ho! are you come back to your politics?” cries the squire (Tom Jones)
Neither “ha” nor “ho” seems commonly prolonged. They have expanded forms chiefly used to indicate making a discovery:
 Then he looked into my face. I imagined that a visible shadow flitted across his countenance as he let my hand fall. “Ah ha! so you are the Indian girl who created the excitement among the college orators!” (Zitkala-Sa)
[1450a] “Pull off your coat, and take my place in the field till I come back.” “Oh ho! and I'm to labour away till then, am I?” (Wildfell)
IV.308 More importantly, repetitions are the principal representations for the purported sounds of laughter, with subtle social implications. It is most transparent as a spontaneous event responding to something genuinely amusing [1450b]. But such is not predominant in my data. The event may be “hollow” , “hysterical” , or flatly insincere if spoken without laughing .
[1450b] sir benjamin backbite: she looks like a mended Statue, in which the Connoisseur sees at once that the Head's modern tho’ the Trunk's antique -- crabtree: Ha! ha! ha! well said, Nephew! mrs. candour: Ha! ha! ha! Well, you make me laugh (School for Scandal)
 “Me give myself away! Ha! Ha!” he laughed hollowly, cynically, at such an idea. (Chatterly)
 Rolling back quickly with fright and relief the White Linen Nurse burst forth into one maddening cackle of hysterical laughter. “Ha! Ha! Ha!” she giggled. (White Linen Nurse)
 Malik practically ran at him and grabbed him by the lapels. “Ha ha ha!” he said. “Frightfully funny! What a laugh! Ho ho ho ho! How amusing!” The headmaster went back to his chair and sank into it, with a groan. (East of Wimbledon)
IV.309 An uneasy aftertaste is likely to accompany the variants with other VOWEL SOUNDS, such as:
 Propped in his high-backed chair, he cackled with a malicious glee. “Virtue Mine Honour, eh? It suits you, Lachlan! Heh, heh!” (Quest for a Babe)
 Look there's Amy, let's record her, hee hee. (conversation)BNC
 Nuke 'em Forever. har! har! har! I beat everyone else to it (Hard Forum)WWW
 As Reddy Fox ran to seek the aid of Granny Fox, he heard a sound that made him grind his teeth. “Haw, haw, haw! How smart we are!” It was Blacky the Crow. (Mother West Wind)
IV.310 The Internet has firmly established its own items based on anagrams, more than on sounds. By far the most common is “lol” or “LOL” from “lots of laughs” or “laughing out loud”. It proliferates on chat sites, where you can “lol” at yourself when you think you’re being funny . On search engines, you may see it repeated over and over, but on the site you may see smileys, e.g. . If that’s still not enough laffs, then “superlol”  or “megalol” .
 I have a really supportive husband that I married when I was 19, again far too young. If anyone has a spare time machine lying around give me a bell, lol lol (Mums And Mums to Be)WWW
 Oh my god, that was amazing, superlol, wow, dumb Joey and Tristan, I really laughed my ass off (FanFiction)WWW
 :megalol :megalol :megalol. I fell off my chair laughing. (Pakistani Defence Forum)WWW
IV.311 SOUND-EFFECT INTERJECTIONS owe their popularity to cartoons and comics, which must overcome the silence of print media. But they occur in prose or speech as well to suggest immediacy or strong force of an event. One group of rhyming sounds indicate violent collisions:
 Door was open, headlights on. I came up, didn't see his door, went through the gap and bam! (conversation)WWW
 Martin Grace had to run along the top of a train doubling for Roger Moore in Octopussy. […] The 40mph train made an unrehearsed diversion under a bridge and wham! Martin's body slammed into the concrete parapet. (Mirror)
 Sam raises his right leg to the height of the lock, kicks straight forward, blam, and the stuff bursts open and he's in the room, sideways, holding his gun out rigid (Laughter of Heroes)
Others apply to specific kinds of impact:
 She saw herself pull back her arm, and, with more than human strength, launch a red missile. Crash! The ketchup bottle cascaded out into a million glass fragments (The Lock)
 The bird flew over to the television, and crunch! It chomped the television into a crushed mess of wires, circuit boards, and glass. (Crunch Bird)WWW
 This fast-paced outdoor water game is easy for kids to set up and play. Land on another player's space and...Whap! Everyone gets soaked (Educational Learning Games)WWW
 Gannets circled out to meet us. Splash! Straight and swift they dived into the sea after fish, dropping like stones (Birdwatcher's Handbook)WWW
 With a grinding noise one of the doors moved slowly back. He made for it, then, slam! It closed in his face. (The Lock)
 Splat! There goes another bug on the windshield (NASA)
 Is it possible that the Great Elastic Marvel's gymnastic skills can save him? Boing! Boing! They do, as he bounces up and down in a series of extraordinary feats. (Shop Ireland)WWW
Alternate versions like these seem highly improbable:
[1464a] ???Boing! The ketchup bottle cascaded out into a million glass fragments.
[1466a] ???Land on another player's space and...slam! Everyone gets soaked.
[1469a] ???Splash! There goes another bug on the windshield
IV.312 The SUB-CLASS of WORD INTERJECTIONS are recognisable as WORDS, though their functions differ from their other uses. The “classical” INTERJECTION “well” is not the contrary of “badly or “ill”. At the front of an utterance, it can signal deliberation, a bit like “hmm” or “umm”.
 “Tell me about your audition to get Ophelia.” “Well, I'd thought a lot about the part. I knew I wouldn't play her as a wimp” (Jenny Funnell)
 burge-lubin [again gallant]: But surely, Mrs Lutestring, that has been your own fault. If I may say so, a lady of your attractions need never have been lonely. mrs lutestring: Why? burge-lubin; Why! Well -- Well, er-- Well, er er-- Well! [he gives it up]. (Back to Methuselah)
Or, it can signal the intention to give or defend an opinion in relation to what someone else has said:
 “Now you want to be reasonable. Why?” “Make yourself feel better.” “Well, I don't feel better, Lucy.” (Jay Loves Lucy)
 Last weekend, Karl Rove said that the anti-war movement was "non-existent." Well, Karl and Co., we do exist and we are not going away until this illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq is over and you are sent back to the depths of whatever slimy, dark, and loathsome place you came from. (Cindy Sheehan)
Combined with “oh”, it can signal conceding a point somewhat unwillingly [1475-76]; or with “ah”, a sad or quiet resignation [1477-78].
 Colonel Vaughan will be in London by this time. Oh well, I've stuck it out so far. I may as well stick it out to the end. (Invasion)
 “This woman is your wife. You may as well tell the truth about it as not -- since I know.” Dacre jerked his head like an angry bull, but he submitted. “Oh well, if you must have it, I suppose she was -- once” (Lamp in the Desert)
 “It did hurt my feelings to be so wronged!” “Ah well -- ‘tis over now.” (Casterbridge)
 “Oh, I'm very sorry that your sister has met with such an accident”, exclaimed Anne. “Ah, well, man was made to mourn” (Ann’s House of Dreams)
IV.313 Though neither a VOWEL nor a CONSONANT INTERJECTION, “well” is occasionally prolonged [1479-80]. Far more often, the whole unit is repeated, which can diversify its functions . It can signal “indignation” ; and it can convey ATTITUDES of either AMELIORATIVE  or, more typically, PEJORATIVE .
 “Well”, said Lucy. “We--ell”, drawled Jay. (Jay Loves Lucy)
 “I definitely recommend this, even as a singleplayer game.” “wellll when you put it that way how can I say no?” (Saints Row)WWW
 When Oswald had got off the first shoe the mystery was made plain to him. “Well! Of all the --” he said in proper indignation. (Wouldbegoods)
 “I have my small boy with me, and we're off for the Falls. Jimmy's never seen them yet.” “Well, well!” answered Mr. Brown. “That's nice! Going to be a boy again yourself, eh, Duffy?” (Shagganappi)
 “The worst has happened,” he said; “the house has failed. I see. The rumour was abroad in the city last night, and reached the ears of those merchants. Well, well!” He strode violently up and down the room. (Nickleby)
IV.314 BODILY EVENT INTERJECTIONS may be of the WORD type or the SOUND type. They too have been popularised by comics and cartoons, but may be visual as well as acoustic. A master of this technique was Al Capp.
His Li’l Abner introduced a font of “Capptions” with an uncanny floating type, such as:
Here is an example:
The most rollicking creation was setting down , the surname of poor Joe, the “world’s worst jinx”, as the spelling of the sound called “the razzberry”, i.e., “a loud, abrasive vibrating or spluttering noise made with the lips and tongue to express contempt” (Random House Webster’s). It's the ultimate in public rudeness; do not use in the physical presence of bullies, policemen, soldiers, drunks, or similarly dangerous persons like General Bullmoose (shown below).
These INTERJECTIONS can achieve genial discursive work with little effort.
 Could it be that, by the merest possible chance, Steffi is in fact -- gasp! --POPULAR!!! (Tennis World)
 Yuck! Shudder! Sigh! An alleged yucky perv is off the streets. Patrick Zacharias, 33, faces charges of lewd conduct with a minor girl. (Boise Weekly)
 Probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't agreed to share one more naan…urrrp! Still, it was on the house, and oh so yummy (Catholic Writer)WWW
 It's the Attila the Hun of English tobaccos, quite unrelenting and often harsh, and it is full of that nasty tweedy brown Cavendish yucko ptooey stuff. (Smoking Pipes)WWW
 I'm going to bed now. I've just entered the competition for most pointless blog ever. Yawn! (P*Nut)WWW
 She has had vaccine against Parainfluenza, but I am ashamed to say (blush) that I don’t know whether this covers Kennel Cough (Champ Dogs Forum)WWW
 You should not see anything funny. So there! Btfsplk! (Stefano MacGregor)WWW
IV.315 PHRASE INTERJECTIONS differ from other PHRASES in that they too constitute brief discourse episodes during which the current progress of grammatical work is retarded or suspended, whilst the discursive “work” becomes specially focused (cf. IV.299). GREETING and PARTING INTERJECTIONS may be either PHRASE type or WORD type.
 “Hello!” said the battered one. “Hello indeed!” said Jimmy courteously. “In what way can I brighten your life?” (Piccadilly Jim)
 “Good morning, Collins.” “Good morning, Mr. Stewart. An early stirrer, by the rood.” (Such is Life)
 “Come in and shake your feathers, Bettie.” “Howdy all”, exclaimed the rosy Mrs. Hoover. (Road To Providence)
 hey whaddup you guys?? (Tiffany at SplaTT)WWW
 “Well, I must be off”, he burst out, hurriedly. “So long!” (Personal Record)
 “I'll give you a ring once I've had my dinner.” “Cheers then.” “See ya.” “Ta ta.” “Bye-bye.” (conversation)BNC
IV.316 CALLING INTERJECTIONS seek to arouse the attention of someone:
 “Hey, you!” says the sunflower to the sun, just like that, in tones of mockery, “Hey, you! Where's your stem?” (Herman Bosman)
 The conversation ensued between the four friends, and so they didn't notice when Koenma entered the room. “Hey, you guys!” he yelled, desperately grabbing at their attention. (Surviving Love)WWW
 she found herself striding up to them and yelling “Oy!” She was gratified to see them jump apart, eyes popping. (She)
 I dash into the kitchen. No milk! No milkman! I fly to the door. He is disappearing around the corner of the house. “Hi! Mr. Milkman!” with frantic beckonings. (Dawn O'Hara)
 “Hallo, my friend!” he cries, and strikes his iron candlestick against the door. He thinks he has awakened his friend. “Hallo, my friend!” he cries again. “Hallo! Hallo!” (Bleak House)
 A voice from the room called up to Psmith. “Say!” “You have our ear”, said Psmith. “Are youse guys goin’ to quit off out of dat roof?” “Your grammar is perfectly beastly”, said Psmith severely. (Psmith, Journalist)
IV.317 POLARITY INTERJECTIONS affirm or negate something, especially to answer a question:
 “You think someone you know might be involved?” the policeman asked sympathetically. “Yes. My wife.” (Shockwave)
 “Did the blade pass right through the person?” he asked. “No.” (Patently Murder)
These can be prolonged for emphasis:
 Phil “Double Chin” King goes on telly to spout his footy views. Yessss! The legendary TV show's back on a Saturday night (Zzap 64!)
 “Noooo!” What a squawk. “I will not wear anything with sequins!” “You will, too.” (The Dyke & the Dybbuk)
More commonly, they are repeated to add emphasis , or to encourage , or to show impatience at being told what you already know .
 You love me?” he pressed, “really love me? Enough to marry me and -- “ “Yes! Yes!” (Only Two Can Share)
 The old woman could hardly speak. “The gold I stole was --” “Yes, yes! What?” (Oliver Twist)
 “there is the link with the death of the young girl, as you know.” “Yes, yes”, the coroner said testily. (Patently Murder)
IV.318 A cluster of socially marked variants can suggest casual or regional speech:
 Billions were needed to improve the urban infrastructure, a black mayor said at a Clinton-Brown debate. “Yeah. Sure. Whatever”, said generous Jerry. (Daily Telegraph)
 “You callin’ me a thief?” “Yeh. Somethin” like that.” (Alternative Assembly Book)
 “Do you know the band?” “Yes.” “Are they nice?” “Yup. There won't be any more screaming.” (Lucker and Tiffany)
 “What is the deal with Harry? I mean -- come on! a geek with a bowlcut and glasses? you gotta be joking!” “Yer -- he is a dope” (
 “Are you married, Mr Tucker?” “Nope. I'm a solo act. Broke up with my wife years back.” (Delia Sutherland)
 Wull leaned across and pulled back the sleeve of Sandy's jacket. “Got a watch on?” “Naw. Any of youse cats got the time?” “Naw.” (Bell in the Tree)
 Does she anticipate a second marriage with Geoff? “No way! Going through that rigmarole wouldn't protect what we have at all.” (She)
Functions can be made more delicate by appending the INTERJECTIONS “ah” and “oh”, again for adding emphasis [1516-17], but also for reminding or recalling [1518-19]; or again, in a QUESTION, for challenging [1520-21].
 “I guess we steer well clear of our Brothers”, Yeremi said. “Oh yes!” d'Arquebus agreed fervently (Space Marine)
 Henry looked up at Elinor smartly. He said: “Donald's dead!” “Oh my God!” said Elinor. “Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!” (Wimbledon Poisoner)
 “And Christine Daaé and Vicomte Raoul? What happened to them?” The Persian smiled. “Ah yes!” (Phantom of the Opera)
 “Don't forget the talk shows we'd be on!” “Ah no! Do you think we could forget about this plan of ours for stardom?” (conversation)BNC
 “If you really feel indebted, there is a small favour you could do for me in return.” “Oh, yes?” Leonora eyed him warily. “What kind of favour?” (Out of the Storm)
 “I'm going to find the nearest policeman”, she informed him in an icy voice. “You're not going anywhere”, he told her at once. “Oh, no?” she retorted. “Just watch me!” (Forgotten Fire)
They can be inserted by the same speaker as if deciding a matter:
 Mr Goldin has been visiting Catholic west Belfast and, yes, you guessed, he reckons its citizens are crushed under the heel of the “mischievous” Brits. (Economist)
 I said you were crazy not to go along with the Corporation's proposals, didn't I? But you wouldn't listen to me. Oh no! Not you, you had to be the good guy. (Man at the Sharp End)
IV.319 The usage of POLARITY INTERJECTIONS as VERBS is much more common with “yes” than “no”.
 Alberto Gonzalez is a monster. Another example of Bush's “judgment”. He doesn't care about qualifications…he just wants to be yessed to death, the braindead fraud. (ABC News Message Board)WWW
 we were supposed to go see Clerks II until you no’ed me…we even had plans and everything (MySpace)WWW
IV.320 VERBS made from BODILY EVENT INTERJECTIONS are more versatile, though most confined to the Internet, e.g.:
 That distant thunder you hear is the sound of thousands of harrumphing pundits and politicians clearing their throats (Townhall)WWW
 When I went to the Threepenny Opera, I was packed in by loud teens on a drama-class holiday, old guys crinkling hard candies and ahemming, and would-be theater critics broadcasting their take on every scene. (The Valve)WWW
 A neighbor provided entertainment by throwing beer bottles into the ditch and urrrping in the parking lot at 2 in the morning after skirting the DWI [Driving While Intoxicated] laws in his cheesy Camaro. (Dumbidity)WWW URRRPPP!!
 Simon Le Bon sneezed. And he kachooed with such force that he popped off the silver buttons that were holding up his trousers. (Rolling Stone)
IV.321 DISBELIEF INTERJECTIONS (similar to “oh, yes?” and “oh, no?” back in [1520-21]) challenge the truth of what you have just heard someone say:
 “He has no occasion to marry, either to fill up his time or his heart.” “My dear Emma, as long as he thinks so, it is so; but if he really loves Jane Fairfax --” “Nonsense! He does not care about Jane Fairfax.” (Emma)
 “I will go to those horrible feasts no more!” “Stuff!” said the hag, “these fine scruples are not for slaves.” (Pompeii)
 “That's right, Mr Bowles”, chimes in one of the shearers, “I never see a young gentleman work as hard as you do.” “Bosh!” growls de Vere. (Shearing in the Riverina)
 “You must know--” said the Judge, but the Snark exclaimed, “Fudge! That statute is obsolete quite!” (Hunting of the Snark)
 “They was doing six hundred mile an hour in a Lynx.” “Crap! A Lynx will only do a hundred and eighty mile an hour!” (conversation)BNC
 “It gets on my lower-middle-class nerves.” “Lower-middle-class, my ass”, said Pooley. “Don't give me that crap.” (Clubbed to Death)
 “She spoke brusquely to you and pushed you back against the door of Woolworth's.” “Oy!” burst out Simon, “Load of cobblers!” (Season for Murder)
 “What about suggestions that cast morale has hit rock bottom?” “Bullshit”, she insists. “The cast are a delight. They are working together very well.” (Mirror)
 “Michael, I think a lot of this is really our fault…” “Oh, bollocks! Don't believe a word they tell you, Howard. They're all liars.” (Sweet Dreams)
 In this piece, Margo Kingston quotes Mussolini to show how we're “uncomfortably close to fascism”. Pig's arse! It's corruption. (Club Chaos, Australia)WWW
The more old-fashioned ones like [1530-33] are also the least offensive, whilst more recent ones like [1534-39] are the opposite. Maybe HRH Charles was right about English becoming a “wasteland of casual obscenity” (II.102)?
IV.322 EXPLETIVE INTERJECTIONS register forceful reactions to some event or statement:
 “if there is an Essence Companion group in Calgary who could use a couple of experience additions please let me know.” “glork!!! Fraid my group's in Lethbridge. 2 hours away, and quite full too. (Guild Companion Discussions)WWW
 Theobromine is the ingredient that is used to make all chocolate -- especially dark chocolate -- which is toxic to dogs and cats! yikes!!! (Dangers in Your Garden)
 you'll defeat certain evil minions and take on some of their supernatural attributes. Yow! (Shooter Roundup)
IV.323 In want of a less strenuous term, ALMIGHTY EXPLETIVES invoke the name of God, the Holy Virgin, or Jesus, often imploring to be helped or saved:
 An old woman clung to me as we passed: “Oh, Madame”, she said, “shall we be shipwrecked with the boat rolling like this? Oh God! Oh God!” (Double Life)
 There was another crash which shook the building. Then the building began to rock on its foundations. “Holy Mary, Mother of God!” a broad female Irish voice exclaimed. (Maggie Jordan)
 Tom folded his hands; all was darkness and horror. “O Jesus! Lord Jesus! have you quite forgot us poor critturs?” burst forth, at last; “help, Lord, I perish!” (Uncle Tom’s Cabin)
Some people disapprove, presumably sensing violations of the Biblical commandment “not to take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
 “Ouch! Jesus!" “Why, George Babbitt, I won't have you cursing and swearing and blaspheming!” “I know, awful sorry but -- Gosh all fish-hooks, look how I burned my hand!” (Babbitt)
This ATTITUDE is plausibly responsible for the swarm of euphemistic variants of “God” [1547-50], “Jesus” , “Christ” [1552-54], and “Jesus Christ” [1555-57].
 “They reckon the driver of that car fell asleep!” “Gosh!” “Because apparently there was no brake marks on the road at all!” (conversation)BNC
 However a happy instinct led her to suggest a visit to a shop that sold brandy-snaps and gingerbeer. Golly, didn't he have a tuck-in! (Australia Felix)
 The room enclosed them both: exclusive and private. The door bell rang. “Oh, my goodness!” he said. “The Watsons.” (Passing On)
 Begorrah me heart is all of a dither, whenever she passes by (Irish Lyrics)WWW
 “I'm going to produce this movie and I want you to direct it”, said Fonda. “Will you do it?” “Gee whiz, man. Are you kidding me? Wow, babe.” (Biography of Jack Nicholson)
 “Here, excuse me, what d'you think you're doin'?” “I'm carrying you”. “I didn't say you could -- crikey, what a liberty. (Sergeant Joe)
 scientists found the ancient bones of at least 70 crocodiles in the North Dakota badlands -- criminy, that's a lot of croc! (Portland Mercury)
 In the yard below was Miss Hardbroom wreathed in thick purple smoke, staring into the smoke as if she was in a trance. “Crumbs!” thought Mildred. “She’s gone into a state of shock.” (Bad Spell)
 Jeepers creepers, where'd ya get them peepers? Jeepers creepers, where'd ya get those eyes? (sung by Louis Armstrong in Going Places, lyrics by Al Donohue and Johnny Mercer)
 Jiminy Cricket! It’s a machine! (Milo Thatch in Atlantis, voice by Michael J. Fox)
 I may get a set of these 12in springs for it, lift it high and put a set of 46 in claws under it. What do you guys think?” “Jiminy Cristmas, that's a lot of springs!” (Blazer Body)WWW
IV.324 CURSING EXPLETIVES are by far the most notorious They can be socially loaded: not merely considered “obscene” and “offensive” in themselves, but insulting to hearers or readers.
 She gnawed at it, found that it had cocoanut filling, said “Damn!”, wished that she had not said it, so that she might be superior to his colloquialism (Main Street)
 “A piece of paper! Hell!” And to show his contempt for what he had read he wadded together a great mass of exchanges that littered his desk and hurled them, to the floor, and then spat tobacco juice upon them. (Fanny Herself )
 We belt along the freeway when suddenly Lucker slams a hard fist down on the dashboard. “Oh, shit! I left my wallet on the roof of the car.” (Lucker and Tiffany Peel Out)
 Shite! What a sickening feast of hypocrisy we were served up courtesy of the Freddie Mercury Tribute. (NME)
 you will see the mighty outspread wings of the Devil casting their reddish glow over all the land, and from the black and foaming pit of his fanged mouth the dreadful word will issue: “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” (Darcy's Utopia)
 If she took a sudden dislike to a client, or observed one member behaving badly to another, her command, “Out, cunt!” sent them packing. (Dance till the Stars Come Down)
 “Dexter, I think you're a real dickhead.” The expletive sounded strange to the sergeant on Blanche's lips. (Taped)
Yet they evidently attract a variety of users who want to seem adult, or tough, or emphatic or trendy, or “cool”, and so on, rather than just venting their emotions.
IV.325 Only certain ones perform multiple functions, technically at least, as a NOUN , an ADJECTIVE , a VERB , or an ADVERB , though their “expletive force” is probably retained.
 She knew a lot of telly. Neighbours and bloody Coronation Street and all that crap! (conversation)BNC
 Any damn fool could think of questions; it was answers that separated the men from the boys. (Exploding English.)
 The NWA song Fuck the Police sinks home: “Some people have the authority to kill a minority.” (The Face)
 Don't you fucking well know that the enemy have been mortaring the village green? (Invasion)
What appear to be COMMANDS resist being interpreted as such:
 An enormously fat teenager shouldered me out of her way. “Damn you!” I gasped as I fell. “Damn you!” she gasped back. (Harpers)
 Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead! (Admiral David G. Farragut)
 God Damn It Bush Stop Your Lying (T-shirt)WWW
 “I'm listening to Like a Virgin!” “Oh I think Madonna's crap!” “So do I.” “Fuck you! Fuck the both of you!” (conversation)BNC
 The dog came back and had something in her mouth. It was vaguely mole-shaped. Clearly, it was badly damaged, and I thought it had...ears. Oh fuck me -- it was a baby bunny. (Whole Mess of Badgers)WWW
The AGENT of “damning” would seem to be God [1569-71], witness the longer form , which doesn’t tell Him what to “damn”. And only He can know how to condemn “torpedoes” to the fires of Hell, where they could detonate from the heat and blast the Devil slap in his sulphurous kadunkadunk. So there, Satan!
Even more mysterious is the AGENT of the apparent COMMAND to “fuck” someone: “you” in defiance , “me” in surprise .
IV.326 In an otherwise unusual PATTERN, some forms are appended with a DEFINITE ARTICLE to QUESTION WORDS, though the result is hard to classify as a NOUN PHRASE despite its form.
 “I knew Tommy.” The friend was baffled: “Who the hell is Tommy?” Then it dawned on him: Duke had met Thomas Edison. (Walking on Water)
 At 3 o'clock the following morning Lawford was awakened by a phone call. Sinatra was on the other end, furious. “What the fuck are you doing going out with Ava?” he ranted. “You want both of your legs broken?” (Hollywood Rogues)
With VERBS the pattern resembles an ADVERB:
 “Get the hell out of here, you miserable wretches!” came a loud shout from inside. “Remove your horrible faces from my property immediately!” (Ring of Fire)
 When one of the police asked him to quieten the party down a bit, Willis hit him in the mouth and screamed, “Get the fuck off my property!” (Hollywood Rogues)
At any rate, so great is their popularity of EXPLETIVES that the shock effect is, I would think, pretty well worn off:
 In Canada, “shit” is often aired uncensored on TV. In the Canadian sitcom Trailer Park Boys, words like “shit”, “fuck”, and even creative phrases like “shitbat” are used many times per episode. (NoWize)WWW
 For many working-class men, “fuck” seems to me hardly countable as an expletive (Prof. Charles Jones)
Nonetheless, the mass media have an occasional field day playing upon incidents of “bad language”:
 “what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over”, Bush told Blair (CBS News)
 Cheney then used the “f” word, telling Leahy "f" yourself.” “I was "shocked to hear that kind of language on the floor” Leahy said. The outburst happened the very day the Senate passed the Defense of Decency Act, legislation aimed at curbing broadcasters’ appetite for bad language. (Hardball)WWW
The latter incident nicely lights up the hypocrisy behind such campaigns as “Defense of Decency” from a government with badly warped ideas of decency and a hunger to muzzle or fire oppositional reporters and newscasters.
IV.327 The waffling strategy of writing expletives with letters omitted suggest that the shock effect is greater in print than in speech; at least urban spray-can vandals evidently think so.
 Popular newspapers remain squeamish about any word that might unsettle readers. Most non-broadsheets, when it is unavoidable, opt for f**k, which lets them, as Jones puts it, be “daring and prissy simultaneously”. (Guardian)
Ever since the Nixon administration, the term “expletive” itself has had an ironic new career.
It can be written in place of an actual expletive anybody could guess , or its supremely Nixonian twin “expletive deleted” .
 Did I expect George Bush to (expletive) it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did. (John Kerry in the Seattle Times)
 if his superiors were so anxious to catch the phantom poachers of Baldersdale, in future they could (expletive deleted) well do it themselves. (Seasons of My Life)
IV.328 If any predictions could be advanced about the future, three seem fairly safe. First, EXPLETIVE INTERJECTIONS will remain in popular usage, not so much in spite of disapproval as because of it. Second, new variants or new forms will be created to the extent that the familiar ones lose their effect. And third, creations among working class youths will rise up the social ladder to the scions of the rich and (in)famous, and then to their trendy progenitors, perhaps on live television. One can ruminate on the folksy aphorism of Thomas Hardy’s aged maltster: “Nater requires her swearing at the regular times, or she’s not herself; and unholy exclamations is a necessity of life” (Madding Crowd).
18. The massive CGEL devotes roughly one of its 1,779 pages to them. Much to my surprise, it defines them as “purely emotive words which do not enter into syntactic relations” and are “peripheral to the language system” (p. 853, 74). Imprecise on all three counts.
19. For a video of the Haka performed by authentic Maoris, try New Zealand Video Tours, Box 34-422, Auckland.
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