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Simpósio Mundial de Estudos de Língua Portuguesa

Pronominal resumption as feature realization in Brazilian Portuguese

Danniel Carvalho (UFBA - Universidade Federal da Bahia)


This work discusses the licensing of pronominal resumption in Brazilian Portuguese (BP). I assume that definiteness is a requirement for pronominal resumption in BP. The claim I make is that BP resumptive pronouns need a complete φ-specification, which includes features such as [definite], and [specific]. I assume that the feature [definite] must be assumed as a proper φ-feature which is morphosyntactically and morphophonologically sensitive. Evidence for this claim come from the need of the presence of a definite pronoun in some syntactic contexts in BP. As some researchers point out, the realization of some personal pronouns in BP demands a definiteness effect – D-effect –, which seems to be a requirement of the first and second person with specific reference. Carvalho (2008) argues that, with regard to pronouns, other features besides person, number and gender, may be associated to them. In his analysis of the pronoun você '' and its interpretation either as a second person or with arbitrary reference, Carvalho proposes that features such as [specific] and [definite] must be involved in the derivation. The association between pronominal realization and the definiteness feature is attested in a number of phenomena in BP. For instance, the third person pronoun ele/ela 'he/she' in the object position is licensed in contexts of [definite] and [specific] reading, in which both features are grammatically necessary; the same pronouns in the subject position demands only one of the features to be licensed. As Carvalho (2016) points out, realized anaphors (clitics or lexical pronouns) need to resume a complete φ set, including definiteness. On the contrary, only a null pronoun can resume a ɸ-incomplete referent. I assume that pronominal resumption requires a complete set of φ-features. Thus, referentiality seems to be encoded through the valuation of a complete set of φ-features, which includes [definite].