Expletive ele in European Portuguese Dialects


Ana Maria Martins; Knut Tarald Taraldsen
Universidade de Lisboa
Year of completion: 

[Resumen extraído de la fuente original]

This dissertation investigates the status of expletive ele in non-standard European Portuguese (EP). More specifically, it is concerned with the syntax of constructions involving expletive ele, whose properties it attempts to explain, both at the syntactic and at the discourse levels. The aim of this investigation is twofold: (i) to provide a comprehensive account of overt expletive constructions in EP; (ii) to contribute to a better understanding of the status and function of expletives in natural languages in general. The research is developed within the Principles and Parameters framework of generative syntax (Chomsky 1981) under its minimalist version (Chomsky 1993, 1995 and subsequent work). The empirical support for this work has been drawn from the Syntactically Annotated Corpus of Portuguese Dialects (CORDIAL-SIN) developed at Centro de Linguística da Universidade de Lisboa.

Although it is usually assumed that Null Subject Languages (NSLs) like EP lack overt subject expletives, expletive ele has been traditionally analyzed as an expletive subject similar to those occurring in Non Null Subject Languages. This dissertation, however, explores and consolidates recent ideas relating certain expletives to positions other than the canonical subject position. More specifically, it is argued that expletive ele relates to the structure of the sentential left periphery (in line with Platzack 1998 and Holmberg 2000c for Icelandic expletive það; Holmberg and Nikanne 2002 for Finnish sitä; Uriagereka 1992-2004 and Silva-Villar 1996-2004 for Romance NSLs overt expletives).

The empirical survey carried out in this investigation provides evidence for distinguishing three distributional types of expletive ele: (i) impersonal ele; (ii) peripheral ele; (iii) postverbal ele. It is argued that all types display discourse-related effects connected to the illocutionary force assumed by a sentence. The proposal put forth in this investigation thus relates expletives (i) and (ii) – which can be shown to be in general non distinct – to a high [Spec, ForceP] peripheral position, relevant for the sentence type/illocutionary force mapping (adapting Rizzi 1997, Haegeman 2002), and expletive (iii) to a low peripheral [Eval0 ] position activated by evaluative sentences (adapting Ambar 1997, 1999).

KEYWORDS: expletive, left periphery, illocutionary force, Portuguese dialects, dialect syntax.


Dissertação de doutoramento.

Last modified: 
08/02/2019 - 14:24