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Rethinking Verb Second$
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Rebecca Woods and Sam Wolfe

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198844303

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198844303.001.0001

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Relaxed Verb Second in Classical Portuguese

Relaxed Verb Second in Classical Portuguese

Chapter:
(p.368) 16 Relaxed Verb Second in Classical Portuguese
Source:
Rethinking Verb Second
Author(s):

Charlotte Galves

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198844303.003.0016

Based on the quantitative and qualitative study of 11 syntactically parsed texts (485,767 words) from the Tycho Brahe Parsed Corpus of Historical Portuguese, this chapter argues that Classical Portuguese, i.e. the language instantiated in texts written in Portugal by authors born in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is a V2 language of the kind that Wolfe calls ‘relaxed V2 languages’. These are languages in which V1 and V3 sentences coexist with V2 patterns. To account for the sentential patterns observed and their interpretation, a new cartographic analysis of the left periphery is proposed. The existence of sentences in which quantified objects precede fronted subjects suggests that there are two distinct positions in the CP layer to which preverbal phrases can move. The higher one is the familiar Focus category. It is argued that the lower one is neuter with respect to the topic/focus dichotomy and merely encodes a contrast feature. Other constituents can be adjoined at the higher portion of the left periphery where they are interpreted as topics or frames. The chapter concludes by emphasizing the importance of textually diversified corpora as the basis of historical syntactic studies.

Keywords:   Classical Portuguese, relaxed V2 language, left periphery, contrast, Tycho Brahe Parsed Corpus

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