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Non-Topicalized Preverbal Subjects in Brazilian Portuguese, Compared to Italian

Sandra Quarezemin    Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina/CNPq, Brasil    

Anna Cardinaletti    Università Ca' Foscari    



This paper investigates the syntax of non-topicalized preverbal subjects in Brazilian Portuguese (BP). In BP, both locative PPs and locative DPs can occur in preverbal position: Na escola do Pedro aceita cartão de crédito; A escola do Pedro aceita cartão de crédito. In the latter case, the verb agrees with the locative. In BP, it is also possible to find non-argument constituents triggering verbal agreement, as in Essa estante cabe muitos livros. These sentences have been analysed as innovative constructions restricted to BP. This paper shows that some of the above structures are also present in other languages, e.g. Italian; not all of them are therefore innovative constructions of BP, and subcases need to be differentiated. The hypothesis is that sentences with preverbal non-argumental subjects have the same syntax as sentences with argumental subjects. What seems to occur in some cases is a modification in the verb thematic grid. We interpret BP’s “flexible diathesis” patterns as revealing that in this grammar, a variety of verbs have undergone a modification of their thematic grid which their counterparts in European Portuguese and other Romance languages did not.

Sept. 28, 2017
April 25, 2017
March 13, 2017

Keywords: AgreementSyntaxBrazilian PortugueseLocative preverbal subjects

Copyright: © 2017 Sandra Quarezemin, Anna Cardinaletti. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.