24 April 2016

Bruna Pereira at LARC

Bruna Pereira, visiting scholar at MIT, will present her work on agreement in Brazilian Portuguese in LARC this Wednesday, April 27, at 12:20 in ILC N451. The title and abstract of her talk follow.

The DP-internal plural marking in Brazilian Portuguese

In contrast to standard BP, which has all the elements of the DP marked for plural, non-standard BP (1a, b) leaves most of them unmarked. In view of these facts, this paper investigates the syntactic conditions that determine the DP-internal distribution of the plural morpheme in non-standard BP. In order to do that, I assume that the position of the cardinal numeral divides the DP into two domains: the items in its left are marked with the plural morpheme (1a, b), whereas the items in its right are not (1c). 

(1) a. Os     (dois) outro balde  vermelho

           The-PL two   other  bucket red

           ‘The other two red buckets’.

        b. Os     outros     (dois)  balde   vermelho

             The-PL other-PL

              two      bucket red

          c. *O outro (dois) baldes       vermelhos

                The   other   two   bucket-PL red-PL

Overall, this paper is organized in three parts. Section 1 presents: firstly, current proposals (Costa; Figueiredo Silva, 2006) on a presumed ‘singleton’ morpheme, which does not account for the facts above mentioned; secondly, the theoretical basis (Chomsky, 2001; Pesetsky; Torrego, 2007) for assuming a new proposal; and thirdly cross-linguistic data for illustrating that, in several languages, the numeral works as a boundary dividing the DP with regards to the distribution of number features (Danon, 2011; Norris, 2014). Section 2 tests, with BP data, the explanation power of this analysis. Finally, section 3 describes structures with wh-determiners (Nunes, 2007; Pereira 2014, 2016) and indefinite articles in the dialect spoken in Minas Gerais that give support for the analysis carried out.

Therefore, as opposed to current proposals, the analysis assumed here shows that the DP-internal plural marking is not only dependent on syntax but also consistent with the DP-internal hierarchy. Above all, it reveals the underlying reason why some constituents of the DP must, may or cannot be marked for plural in non-standard BP.