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Syntax and information structure in Brazilian Portuguese

Grant number: 20/15877-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2022
Effective date (End): December 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal researcher:Jairo Morais Nunes
Grantee:Renato César Lacerda Ferreira
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This research seeks to investigate the place of Information Structure (IS) in the architecture of the grammar, based on the traditional Y-model of the grammar, where Syntax mediates the sound and meaning components, through Phonological Form (PF) and Logical Form (LF). In order to do that, we seek to investigate how informational processes such as topicalization and focalization interact with both overt syntax phenomena and covert syntax (i.e., LF) phenomena in Brazilian Portuguese. With respect to the Syntax-IS interface, we seek to determine whether pragmatic/discourse relations, such as topic-comment and focus-presupposition, are encoded in the structure of the sentence (for example, through fixed topic and focus projections) or not (that is, whether they are only established in the relevant interpretive component, i.e., IS). We will also address the question of whether topic and focus interpretation is syntactically encoded on the topicalized/focalized elements themselves (and if yes, how), especially through the investigation of the role played by topics and foci in constructions such as quantifier float and preposition stranding. With respect to the LF-IS interface, we seek to determine whether logico-semantic operations affect informational relations, as well as whether topic and focus interpretation in discourse affect logico-semantic operations. In order to do that, we will mainly analyze the role played by topics and foci in phenomena related to quantifier raising and negative concord. In the end, we seek to determine whether IS is an interpretive component linked to LF (that is, fed by LF in the architecture of the grammar) or independent from LF (that is, fed directly by overt Syntax). (AU)

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