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Reading: Bare singular and bare mass nouns in Brazilian Portuguese: First results of an empirical survey

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Research Paper

Bare singular and bare mass nouns in Brazilian Portuguese: First results of an empirical survey

Authors:

João Vinicius de A. Braga ,

Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Departamento de Língua e Literatura Vernáculas
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Laiza de Sena,

Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Departamento de Língua e Literatura Vernáculas
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Ruan Mariano,

Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Departamento de Língua e Literatura Vernáculas
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Roberta Pires de Oliveira

Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Departamento de Língua e Literatura Vernáculas
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Abstract

The paper investigates the behavior of Bare Singulars (BS) and Bare Mass (BM) nouns in Brazilian Portuguese (BrP) in two acceptability experiments. The traditional view on the BS (Munn & Schmitt, 2005) argues that its syntax and semantics differs from that of BM nouns, because they behave differently when combined with predicates of individuation, reflexives and reciprocals. Individuating predicates select for atomic individuals, and mass nouns do not denote atoms in a semi-lattice structure, is the explanation. Relying on Basso (2007), two experiments were conducted to verify the hypothesis predicted by the traditional view. Behind our enterprise is the intuition that BS are in some sense massive (Camacho & Pezatti, 1996). The experiments were applied to 200 speakers. The predictions of the traditional view are not fulfilled: BM nouns are acceptable by more than a half of the speakers, and some BS sentences are unacceptable. The second experiment evaluated whether the distribution of acceptability was due to natural atomicity (Rothstein, 2008). Although there seems to be some influence, the results are not conclusive.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.111
How to Cite: Braga, J. V. de A., Sena, L. de ., Mariano, R., & Oliveira, R. P. de . (2010). Bare singular and bare mass nouns in Brazilian Portuguese: First results of an empirical survey. Journal of Portuguese Linguistics, 9(1), 75–94. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.111
Published on 30 Jun 2010.
Peer Reviewed

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