Syntactic and semantic issues in sequences of the type (Adjective)-Noun-(Adjective)


This paper focuses on some properties of agreement inside the Noun Phrase, especially in what concerns adjectives and “adjectival quantifiers”, based on spoken corpora of Brazilian Portuguese and of the five African varieties of Portuguese (with special attention to the Santomean variety). We present the most salient patterns of defective agreement, focusing especially in number agreement, and contrast our findings across varieties. Results clearly differ in terms of the agreement found in the left and in the right periphery of the noun, as other studies already pointed out. The “specifiers” of the noun and pre-nominal adjectives tend to carry the plural morpheme, while the noun itself and post-nominal adjectives are defective in number marks. We put forward some possible issues for the interpretation of these data: the distinction made by speakers between the functional and the lexical domain; the relation between defective agreement on head nouns and cases of bare singular nouns which might be interpreted in these contexts as kind terms; and, finally, the fact that indefinite quantifiers may combine with these bare singulars.

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Miguel, M. & Mendes, A., (2013) “Syntactic and semantic issues in sequences of the type (Adjective)-Noun-(Adjective)”, Journal of Portuguese Linguistics 12(2), 151-185. doi:


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Matilde Miguel (Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa Centro de Linguística da Univ. de Lisboa)
Amália Mendes (Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, Centro de Linguística da Univ. de Lisboa)



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