Another Look at the Acceptability of Bare Singular NPs in Episodic Sentences in Brazilian Portuguese

Tania Ionin, Elaine Grolla, Hélade Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Bare (determinerless) singular NPs in Brazilian Portuguese have been variously analyzed as indefinite terms, as kind terms, or as ambiguous between the two. It has furthermore been noted (Schmitt & Munn and subsequent literature) that bare singulars, unlike bare plurals, are degraded in the preverbal subject position of episodic sentences but that their acceptability is improved when they are embedded in a list. We conducted an experimental study examining the effects of NP type, syntactic position, and list context on the acceptability of bare NPs in Brazilian Portuguese. Our results indicate that the low acceptability of bare singulars in the subject position of episodic sentences results from the additive effects of three separate factors, rather than from a constraint against bare singulars in subject position. Implications of these findings for theories of bare-NP interpretation in Brazilian Portuguese are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-421
Number of pages20
JournalSyntax
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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