The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 2/23 - Bruna Karla Pereira

Speaker: Bruna Karla Pereira (UFVJM; CAPES Foundation- Ministry of Education of Brazil)
Title: The plural morpheme in BP nominal concord

This talk is focused on number nominal concord in non-standard Brazilian Portuguese (BP). I will start by analyzing structures with the wh-determiner ‘ques’ (1) and end by examining the pattern of nominal concord in other structures too.

(1) Ques coisa interessante! (Nunes, 2007, p. 13)
What-PL thing interesting
‘How interesting those things are!’

Concerning the syntactic derivation of (1), ‘ques’ is a head that checks φ-features in D, while the DP to which it belongs moves, from the predicate position of a Small Clause, to check illocutionary force in the Spec,CP (Pereira, 2014). Concerning the system of concord, non-standard BP marks, with the plural morpheme, either only D or D plus its most adjacent element, leaving the other elements unmarked. This fact has two consequences: as a D, ‘ques’ licenses φ-features, as opposed to previous predictions (Vidor; Menuzzi, 2004); as a morpheme that may appear more than once in the DP (Castro; Pratas, 2006, p. 18), ‘-s’ cannot be “singleton”, as opposed to current assumptions (Costa; Figueiredo Silva, 2006). In addition, besides structures with ‘ques’, data from dialectal BP show that other wh-words may be inflected (2); so does the indefinite article, followed by the numeral ‘meio(a)’ and a singular NP (3).

(2) Quantos que custa isso?
How-much-PL that cost it
‘How much does it cost?’

(3) Nossa reunião pode ser daqui a umas meia hora?
Our meeting may be from-here to some-PL half hour-SG
‘Could we have a meeting within half an hour?’

Therefore, apparent φ-feature “mismatches” will be addressed in order to investigate the system of nominal concord (Baker, 2008; Norris, 2014; Höhn, 2015) in BP.