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LINGUIST List 21.2369

Thu May 27 2010

Diss: Syntax: Castro: 'On Possessives in Portuguese'

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        1.    Ana Castro, On Possessives in Portuguese

Message 1: On Possessives in Portuguese
Date: 26-May-2010
From: Ana Castro <acastrofcsh.unl.pt>
Subject: On Possessives in Portuguese
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Institution: Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Program: PhD in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Ana Castro

Dissertation Title: On Possessives in Portuguese

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): Portuguese (por)

Dissertation Director:
Anne Zribi-Hertz
Maria Francisca Xavier

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation addresses some aspects of the grammar of possessives in
Portuguese, both simple forms and de-phrases. It is shown that simple
possessives have two homophonous series in Portuguese: prenominal
possessives occur in definite contexts (like French and English and unlike
Catalan and Italian ones); postnominal possessives occur in non-definite
contexts. It is assumed that the former are generated in D, the position in
which definiteness is interpreted. This proposal captures the contrasts
between the two positions with respect to modification by weak and strong
adverbs, coordination and strategies of focus. It is also claimed that the
variation observed in Portuguese in the constructions with prenominal
possessives - presence of the definite article in European Portuguese (EP)
versus its absence in Brazilian Portuguese (BP) - is due, not to
differences in the grammar of possessives, but to differences in the
determiner system. Since Portuguese displays the same variation in nominal
constructions with proper names and generics, it is claimed that they all
involve an expletive, i.e. a semantically vacuous definite article, which
is phonetically overt in EP and phonetically null in BP. In the 3rd person,
Portuguese has two possessive forms: seu and dele. Seu, unlike dele, is an
ambiguous form because it is not fully specified for phi-features (gender
and number). Data from both spoken and written corpora show that dele is
not replacing seu. In EP and BP, the two forms are not equivalent: dele
only takes referential antecedents whereas seu may also be bound by
non-referential expressions (generics and quantified).



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