Edited by Ana Aguilar-Guevara, Bert Le Bruyn and Joost Zwarts
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 219] 2014
► pp. 129–156
This paper presents a comparative analysis of number in predicate nominals in Papiamentu and Brazilian Portuguese. While Papiamentu predicate nominals do not show plural agreement when the subject is plural, Brazilian Portuguese shows agreement in spite of the fact that both languages allow number neutral bare count nouns to appear in argument position. Using tools from Distributed Morphology, we provide an analysis that can explain why number morphology is not always realized in determinerless predicate nominals. We argue that the variation between the two languages arises from a difference between their respective vocabulary items. Papiamentu plural marker - nan cannot behave as a simple agreement marker, because it contains an additional definite feature (Schmitt & Kester 2005; Kester & Schmitt 2007). In Brazilian Portuguese, however, overt morphological number marking is the result of agreement with the subject DP.