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Comma functions in eighteenth-century relative clauses: evidences of multidimensionality

Grant number: 19/02194-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): August 17, 2019
Effective date (End): February 16, 2020
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Historical Linguistics
Principal Investigator:Sanderléia Roberta Longhin
Grantee:Aline de Azevedo Rodrigues
Supervisor: Maria Filomena Candeias Gonçalves
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências, Letras e Ciências Exatas (IBILCE). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de São José do Rio Preto. São José do Rio Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universidade de Évora, Portugal  
Associated to the scholarship:18/01503-0 - Punctuation functions in relative constructions on Classical Portuguese: uses and conventions, BP.MS


The purpose of this study is to investigate facts of the historical development of the Portuguese punctuation system, considering specifically the development of the comma usage functioning, based on a theory that considers punctuation marks as evidences of the multidimensional nature of language. We focus on the eighteenth century Portuguese, written in Brazil, period in which there is a significant oscillation in commas usage and also a variation in grammar prescriptions, suggesting a coexistence of several grammar rules possibly based on different punctuation functions. We chose the context of relative constructions for analysis due to the variation observed in the use of commas and because they can be motivated by semantic-pragmatic, syntactic and phonological aspects. This research is part of a major project that is guided by two central questions: 1) Considering the cases that were already subject to some standardization, such as the double commas usage in the explanatory and the absence of commas in the determinative, would there be some regularity in the variation of uses, with possible precedence of some function? 2) Did the grammar rules of the period succeed in the distinction between types and nuances of explanatory and determinative relative? In order to answer the questions, in this research project of internship abroad, we will consolidate the following specific objectives: (i) describe variable uses of commas usage in relative constructions, aiming to identify regularities and motivations, considering the semantic and pragmatic aspects involved that possibly organized the use of the comma; and (ii) analyze the rules about comma usage postulated in treatises and grammars, focusing on issues that are crucial to understanding aspects of the history of the punctuation system. (AU)

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