I’m not! feeling! what you think I’m feeling!
Having myself been annoyed by the seemingly excessive use of exclamation marks in Chinese writing, I’m glad to see Julen Madariaga is taking up the issue from a purely descriptive standpoint at Chinayouren:
I have seen from experience that many Westerners find this habit annoying, or even consider it immature. I can see where they are coming from, but they should bear in mind that “!” does not mean the same thing in Chinese as in English. I you don’t believe me, check a professional format letter in Chinese. Both the introductory and the final formulas are normally followed by “!”.
Great point. Just because you recognize the exclamation point from your native language, doesn’t mean you know what it means in Chinese.
This would be a great paper for some intrepid Chinese student: take a bunch of writing of some genre and categorize every last exclamation point. Compare to, say, English, and let us know what you find!