The “Budalo jedna!”-Type Construction in Contemporary Serbian



exclamatives, signalatives


This paper describes the qualifying exclamatory construction in Serbian exemplified by Budalo jedna! 'What a fool you are!'. This construction belongs to non-descriptive (or SIGNALATIVE) linguistic expressions which cannot be questioned, negated, or freely modified. The lexicographic description of such expressions has received insufficient attention. We argue that in the above construction the adjective JEDAN intensifies the speaker's negative feelings such that the construction means: 'You are a fool and I feel very negatively about it'. Extensions of the construction include the use of JEDAN with a positive evaluative noun, which produces an ironic effect (e.g., Genije jedan!  'You are the opposite of a genius, and I feel very negatively about it') and with a non-evaluative noun , which results in the "transfer" of negativeness to the noun (e.g., Profesore jedan! 'You act as a typical professor [which is bad], and I feel very negatively about it'). Since all these effects are attributable to JEDAN, we describe the qualifying exclamatory construction in the lexical entry for JEDAN.




How to Cite

Mel’čuk, I., and J. Milićević. “The ‘Budalo jedna!’-Type Construction in Contemporary Serbian”. Journal of Slavic Linguistics, vol. 19, no. 1, June 2011, pp. 85-118,




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