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Identity and licensing of ellipsis in view of Brazilian Portuguese 'quem nunca?' constructions

Grant number: 18/25820-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal Investigator:Ruth Elisabeth Vasconcellos Lopes
Grantee:Tarcisio Antonio Dias
Host Institution: Instituto de Estudos da Linguagem (IEL). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The research project entitled "Identity and licensing of ellipsis in view of Brazilian Portuguese 'quem nunca?' constructions" aims to investigate ellipsis phenomena in view of Brazilian Portuguese 'quem nunca?' expressions, used in a context in which an individual X utters a statement such as 'A Maria ficou muito bêbada na festa da Paula' ('Mary got really drunk at Paula's party') and an individual Y utters 'quem nunca?' ('who never?') as a comment to it. I am assuming the generative theoretical background in its minimalist version as delineated in Chomsky (1995, 2000, 2001). As an initial step, I show 'quem nunca?' constructions are better understood as a syntactically derived material (possibly a TP) without phonological realization. After that, I present some problems the data under scrutiny seem to evoke in face of formal theories of ellipsis. Regarding identity conditions that ellipsis must obey, 'quem nunca?' constructions do not seem to fall in line with the e-GIVENness condition as proposed by Merchant (2001), since the ellipsis site doesn't need to entail its antecedent. With respect to licensing conditions, their characterization as a type of 'sluicing' - in which a head C has as deletion target its complement TP - turns into a mystery the presence of the adverb 'nunca' ('never'), unexpected due to the fact it is contained within the ellipsis site TP, which also offers a challenge to the proposal that ellipsis be associated with phase domains. (AU)

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