Research Paper

Variant patterns of Subject-Verb agreement in Portuguese: morphological and phonological issues


In this paper, we start from a basic assumption: agreement is a most relevant operation for the Portuguese language speakers as a whole. The data from different varieties of Portuguese support this view, both in the Subject-Verb domain and within the NP, as well as the fact that speakers don’t prefer the simplest solutions: the most productive plural agreement forms are the most complex ones, morphologically and phonologically. We focus the discussion on the interplay between different linguistic factors intervening in and promoting variant overt and covert patterns of agreement (the existence of agreement and the presence of visible marks, as expected in standard canonical schemes, constitute two separate questions). More specifically, we claim that it is worth to take into account the matching between the morphological and the phonological properties and features of the verb cells, in order to fully understand the attested variant outputs and the variant patterns of subject-verb agreement. We assume that the 3rd plural person-number marker has to be described in morphophonological terms, and we conclude that agreement is a morpho-phono-syntactic process, sensitive to the lexical-semantic features and discourse properties of the controller.

How to Cite

Mota, M., (2013) “Variant patterns of Subject-Verb agreement in Portuguese: morphological and phonological issues”, Journal of Portuguese Linguistics 12(2), p.209-234. doi:







Maria Antónia Mota (Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, Centro de Linguística da Univ. de Lisboa)



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