On the Syntax of Canonical Comparatives in European Portuguese


Comparative constructions in English and other Germanic and Romance languages have been analysed either as subordinate or coordinate structures. Focussing European Portuguese (=EP) we will argue, from a syntactic point of view, that there is evidence for the coordinate nature of canonical comparatives in this language. In fact, not only many properties of these constructions distinguish them from subordinate structures, but also most of the characteristics attributed to the subordinate status of comparatives can also be accounted for within the coordinate approach. In particular, the selection of the comparative phrase by the degree marker in the first term of comparison may be viewed as a case of correlative coordination. In the same line of reasoning, the islands effects exhibited by comparative clauses do not constitute a compelling evidence for the systematic presence of a wh-operator, since they may also arise in other cases of A-bar movement. So, though accepting that Comparative and Subcomparative deletions are two distinct cases of Operator-variable chain, relying on empirical evidence across other Romance languages, we will analyse Comparative Deletion in European Portuguese as an instance of (Quantified) Null Object and we will impute Subcomparative deletion to Quantifier Raising at LF for scope assignment purposes.

How to Cite

Matos, G. & Brito, A., (2002) “On the Syntax of Canonical Comparatives in European Portuguese”, Journal of Portuguese Linguistics 1(1), p.41-81. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.48


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Gabriela Matos (Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa / ILTEC, Portugal)
Ana Brito (Faculdade de Letras / Centro de Linguística da Universidade do Porto, Portugal)



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