Sintagmas (Portuguese Edition)
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Johnson, Valerie E. Agreement without understanding?
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Dor- drecht: Kluwer. Morgan, James L. Signal to syntax: Bootstrapping from speech to grammar in early acquisition. This paper describes constructions with offensive nouns and nominalized adjectives, such as certain expressive abstract words with ironic interpretation, epithets and swearwords in Brazilian Portuguese. Each one of the offensive nouns in 1 above is representative of a different class of offensive words in Brazilian Portuguese. The term expressive content is used here to refer to words and phrases that carry emotional content, such as anger, surprise, affection, etc.
In addition to the cases exemplified in 1 , words with expressive content are often used as interjections or vocatives. I limit the scope of this paper to the cases in which they are used within a traditional nominal phrase that conforms to the schema DP 1 -of-DP 2. In 2 I show the labels I use to refer to the different items in this construction.
The term traditional nominal phrase is a neutral term used here to refer to a phrase that has a noun as its semantic head and to replace the term determiner phrase DP , since recent studies of phrase structure have argued for the availability of additional phrases higher than DP in the nominal phrase Ormazabal , Ogawa , Bastos-Gee , among others.
In 2 there is a traditional nominal phrase formed by two other traditional nominal phrases.
The first noun in the linear order is the expressive word and its label is N 1. The determiner that immediately precedes N 1 is D 1. The second noun in the linear order is the semantic head of traditional nominal phrase, as I show in section 2. This paper has two goals.
The first goal is to describe properties that are common to all constructions containing offensive words in Brazilian Portuguese. The second goal is to describe the properties that justify a classification of offensive words, based on morphosemantic properties and agreement patterns. The generative grammar framework, terminology and methodology are used to guide the description of the collected data. The main language studied in this paper is Brazilian Portuguese; although, whenever available in the literature, I refer to comparable cases in other languages, especially Spanish.
Brazilian Portuguese was chosen as object of study, because to the best of my knowledge there is no detailed description and classification of offensive words available in the literature of this language. This paper is organized in two parts. In section 2, I describe the properties that unify the offensive words into one large class.
These properties are: speaker orientation, impossibility of modification by a degree adverb, headedness of the phrases, reversibility, and strength of the determiners. In section 3, I describe three different classes of constructions with offensive word, focusing on their morphosemantic characteristics, gender agreement, and number agreement. As mentioned above, offensive words in Brazilian Portuguese can be classified in expressive abstract nouns, epithets and swear words. In this section, I discuss properties that are common to these three classes of offensive words, when they are within a DP-of-DP structure.
These properties are speaker orientation, also referred to as main clause interpretation or widest scope, impossibility of degree modification, inverse headedness, interaction with the movement of other phrases out of the traditional nominal phrase, impossibility of reversibility, and the definiteness issue. Expressive abstract nouns, epithets and swear words are interpreted as a semantic contribution of the speaker of the sentence, but syntactically they are clearly within the limits of a traditional nominal phrase.
A aquisição de língua materna e não materna Questões gerais e dados do Português
This observation is not new, and it has been made for many languages. Potts also shows that in German, expressive adjectives are case-marked just like all other adjectives. This property of being at same time interpreted as part of the discourse-layer, on one hand, and internal to the traditional nominal phrase, on the other hand, is also present in Brazilian Portuguese. It is actually not true for Brazilian Portuguese that items with expressive content behave exactly like other modifying items within the traditional nominal phrase, since such constructions have some special properties, which will be discussed next.
However, the fact that a determiner precedes them strongly suggests that the expressive nouns are within the limits of the traditional nominal phrase.
- Narrenturm: Roman (German Edition).
- sintagma | definition in the Portuguese-English Dictionary - Cambridge Dictionary.
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Di Tullio and Saab  classify constructions with epithets in Spanish in two classes: attributive and referential. In a nutshell, referential N 1 in Spanish appear within a definite verb-argument containing a full DP 2 or proper name as N 2 while attributive N 1 in Spanish appear within an indefinite predicative expression containing a bare noun as N 2. According to their description, it is possible to make a clear-cut distinction between these two types of constructions in Spanish, which means that some expressive words are intrinsically referential while others are intrinsically attributive.
The very same offensive word that appears in 6 also appears in 7. The example in 6 complies to the above conditions for referential constructions in Spanish while the example in 7 complies with the above conditions for attributive constructions. Furthermore, the verb-argument containing the offensive word can be definite or indefinite, and N 2 can even be a bare noun in 6. One of the properties that distinguishes between referential and attributive constructions in Spanish, discussed by Di Tullio and Saab is modification by degree adverbs.
N 1 in referential constructions admits modification by degree adverbs in Spanish while N 1 in attributive constructions does not allow it. Some examples are the following:. The examples below show degree adverbs modifying adjectives in two different constructions in Brazilian Portuguese. In Brazilian Portuguese, none of the three morphosemantic classes of offensive words allow modification by degree adverbs, as shown below.
Notice that even if we were to remove the first determiner of the constructions above, the result would still be unacceptable. Modification by degree adverbs is not possible in indefinite predicative expressions modifying bare nouns either. Even if the indefinite D 1 were not present, these sentences would still be unacceptable with a degree adverb. From this point on, I limit the scope of this paper to the argumental cases, both definite and indefinite, as exemplified in 6 , since most of the restrictions on offensive content within predicative expressions may be a reflex of constraints on bare nouns in Brazilian Portuguese, and therefore only indirectly related to the expressive content.
I leave this suggestion open to further research. This is, however, not the case for DP-of-DP constructions with offensive words, in which the N 2 is the traditional head. The results of these tests are presented below. The following examples with anaphor binding show a contrast between sentences without expressive content in 17 - 18 and sentences with expressive content in The second DP is more embedded within the traditional nominal domain, and it does not c-command the anaphor.
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The case in 18 is different from One may conclude from these facts that the structure of 18 and 19 are different. In fact, these facts are compatible with a number of structural analyses proposed in the literature for other languages. It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss each of them in detail. The second test used to identify the head of DP-of-DP structures is subject-verb agreement. When the first and second DPs have different number values, the verb agrees in number with the head of the subject.
In the case of DP-of-DP with offensive words, there are only a few cases in which the first and second DPs can have different number values. These restrictions will be described in section 3. For now, the cases that do allow the first and the second DPs to have different number values provide a piece of evidence for the second noun as the traditional head of the DP-of-DP subject. Reversibility of the linear order is a property often found in DP-of-DP constructions. Moro and on his study of dynamic antisymmetry investigates phrases such as books of this type and this type of books.
Some examples of inversion in Spanish phrases are the following:. Di Tullio and Saab criticize the empirical coverage of their analysis. According to them, inversion is possible for attributive epithets only and there are exceptions even among members of the attributive class, as shown below. As for Brazilian Portuguese, inversion of the type described above is nearly inexistent and I could find only one case that allows it, as shown below. Before we go into this property, it is important to clarify that only high determiners can appear in constructions with expressive content.
The following example shows high and low pre-nominal modifiers in BP. Strong determiners, such as demonstratives, induce definiteness effects while weak determiners, such as indefinite articles, do not induce definiteness effects. The classic test to show this distinction involves movement of wh-phrases out of the traditional nominal domain. Strong determiners do not allow movement of wh-phrases out of the traditional nominal domain, as in 27 above, while weak determiners allow it, as in As for the definite article, Brazilian Portuguese has two homophonous versions of it: a strong definite article and a weak definite article see Bastos-Gee for discussion.
Speakers of Brazilian Portuguese see a contrast between 29 and Under a semantic viewpoint, one of the differences between them is that in 29 we have a specific picture while in 30 the picture is less specific. The existence of two versions of the definite article within the same language is a common property among Romance languages Torrego , Ormazabal , Vernaud and Zubizarreta , Longobardi , Ticio , Tellier and Valois , among others. This generalization holds for argumental cases only, since all the predicative cases have a bare noun as N 2. To the best of my knowledge, the facts described in this section are new observations.
Constructions with expressive nouns within the traditional nominal phrase show a definiteness effect when D 2 is a definite article or a demonstrative. This is true for all semantic types of expressive nouns. As illustrated in 31 - 33 , if D 2 is a definite article or demonstrative, then D 1 must be a definite article or demonstrative. If D 2 is an indefinite article, then D 1 can be a weak definite article or an indefinite article. In this section I discussed a number of properties that are commonly found in the literature of DP-of-DP constructions in other languages, especially Spanish.
I showed that the three classes of offensive words in Brazilian Portuguese have many properties in common. So far, this paper described properties that all offensive words share. In the next section, I provide a detailed description of each of the morphosemantic classes, pointing out exceptions, if needed, and emphasizing generalizations. I also show patterns of gender and number agreement. There are three morphosemantic classes of offensive nouns in Brazilian Portuguese.
The main characteristics that distinguish them are whether they were originally abstract nouns, concrete nouns or interjections. As discussed previously, whether the expressive word modifies an individual or a group has been considered one the most important properties to the characterization of expressive content in Spanish. Different from Spanish, the ability to combine with an individual or a group does not contribute to establish a clear-cut distinction between two classes in Brazilian Portuguese.
There is rather a gradation, which I describe as main tendencies for each class in addition to pointing out exceptions, if needed. Brazilian Portuguese has quite a few nouns that can carry expressive content in the construction studied here, as well as some nominalized adjectives. Before I describe the syntactic and morphosyntactic properties that justify a three-way classification, I discuss the morphosemantic basis to this classification of offensive words into expressive abstract nouns, epithets and swear words.
Let us start with expressive abstract nouns. Abstract nouns with expressive content, such as in 37 and 38 , are usually combined with very specific classes of nouns. The ones presented above can characterize persons, animals and objects. In 37 , they are not in a prenominal position within the traditional nominal phrase, and their meaning is positive. One special note should be made with respect to the presence of diminutive or augmentative morphemes in these constructions.
Diminutives and augmentative morphemes are often used in Portuguese to convey expressive content, and they are often added to abstract nouns and epithets, as well. O amorzinho de menina mentiu para mim. The following are just a few examples with attributes that are originally negative and positive. If the nominalized adjective denotes a negative attribute, its original meaning remains the same, but if it denotes a positive attribute, then the ironic interpretation is the only one possible.
The most salient property of the members of this class is the ironic interpretation that is present when they are in a traditional nominal phrase that is the argument of a verb, especially definite arguments. Expressive abstract nouns lose their ironic interpretation within a predicative expression, as well as in post-nominal position, as will be shown below. Opposing to the class of abstract nouns, the class of epithets has nouns that were originally concrete nouns, as exemplified below.
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Epithets, in the strict sense I use in this paper, were originally concrete nouns used metaphorically to persons to describe an attributed quality. The contrast between 43 and 44 shows that those epithets and a large number of others collected during my research can only and exclusively be combined with human individuals, with exceptions for pets and pet-objects when they are given anthropomorphic characteristics by the speaker, and only if they can be characterized by the property described by the epithet.
One curious aspect of epithets is that each of them has a very specific meaning that sometimes can no longer be associated with the literal meaning of the term that they have originated from. All of them are epithets in the strict sense used here. It is not my intention to provide a complete glossary of epithets in Brazilian Portuguese.
My goal is to show that this class is large and specialized. The most salient property of this class is that these offensive words were originally concrete nouns, which were used in a figurative or metaphoric sense to convey expressive content towards human individuals. The great majority of epithets cannot be combined with bare nouns, which in Brazilian Portuguese are used to refer to kinds of things.
Nowadays, they have an expressive meaning, which is not always transparent by looking into their literal definition. Finally, swear words shown in 45 and 46 were originally interjections of anger. The ones shown above were originally concrete nouns, but being concrete or abstract is not the most important property, since they are now somewhat empty semantically.
The following table summarizes the semantic relation between type of offensive noun and type of N 2. As mentioned previously, abstract nouns can only be combined with N 2 that have specific semantic properties, for instance, either human individuals or situations. Epithets can only be combined with human individuals.
Swear words can be combined with any kind of noun, including people, animals, objects, concepts, etc. There are no semantic restrictions on what swear words can combine with. A syntactic piece of evidence for the distribution presented above can be seen below with respect to post-nominal occurrences of expressive content. Post-nominal occurrences of expressive words are different from reversibility, because there is no DP-of-DP structure in the examples above.
There is only one nominal domain and the expressive nouns are in an adjective-like position. Swearwords, due to their origin as interjections, cannot occupy adjective-like positions within the traditional nominal phrase.