Chapter published in:Studies on Variation in Portuguese
Edited by Pilar P. Barbosa, Maria da Conceição de Paiva and Celeste Rodrigues
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 14] 2017
► pp. 178–197
Conditions on variation in pre-nominal possessives in European Portuguese
Developing previous studies by Brito (2001, 2007), Castro and Costa (2002, 2003), Castro (2005), Miguel (2002a, 2002b, 2002c, 2004), this paper argues that there is a continuum of variation regarding the syntax of pre-nominal possessives in European Portuguese. There is a dominant, standard grammar, in which pre-nominal possessives occupy the spec of a high functional category in the DP (AgrP or PossP); in general they are used with definite articles and are [−degree]. Furthermore, there is a non-dominant grammar, where pre-nominal possessives are almost clitics to the definite article and can be phonetically reduced. In some written and formal registers pre-nominal possessives may occur immediately after indefinites and may even have the feature [+degree]. This paper argues that this is due to several linguistic conditions: in particular, lexical and semantic conditions. We also argue that the common property of possessives is that they are φP. Our paper also shows that the co-occurrence or non co-occurrence of the possessive with the definite article is not due to the different category of the possessive (contrary to Giorgi & Longobardi 1991 Parameter) but to the presence or absence of the definite article itself, a proposal already made in different ways by Brito (2007), Castro (2005) and Rinke (2010).
Keywords: pre-nominal possessives, variation, Possessive Parameter, relational nouns, DP structure
Published online: 02 November 2017
Abney, S. P.
Brito, A., & Lopes, R. E. V.
Cardinaletti, A., & Starke, M.
Carrilho, E., & Pereira, S.
(2009) On the areal distribution of non-standard syntactic constructions in European Portuguese. Paper presented at the VIt Congress of Dialectology and Geolinguistics. University of Maribor, Slovenia, September.
(2005) Possessives in European Portuguese (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Paris VIII, Saint Denis, France.
Castro, A., & Costa, J.
Coene, M., & d’Hulst, Y.
Déchaine, R. M., & Wiltschko, M.
Magalhães, T. V.
Marcotulio, L. L.
(2012) Vossa Mercê bem sabe de onde viestes: Um caso de gramaticalização na história do Português. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.
Mattos e Silva, R. V.
Neves, H. M.
Oliveira e Silva, G.
Silva, G., & Callou, D.