Representation and Processing of the Inflected Infinitive in Brazilian Portuguese: an eye-tracking study

Marcello Modesto, Marcus Maia

Abstract


Abstract: In this paper, we examine the syntactic representation and processing characteristics of null subjects of inflected nonfinite clauses in Brazilian Portuguese (BP). After reviewing some literature on generativesyntax Control and discussing the peculiarities of BP diachrony, we present an eye-tracking experiment which proves that a control interpretation of null subjects of inflected nonfinite clauses is not only psychologically real in BP, but it is actually the preferred option in a task in which a strict comparison with arbitrary PRO is entertained. We then discuss the implications of the experiment to syntactic theory and the analysis of Control and speculate on the role of third factor explanations in the architecture of human language.

Keywords: generative syntax; sentence processing; nonfinite control; inflected infinitives; Brazilian Portuguese; eye-tracking.

Resumo:Este estudo examina a representação sintática e as características de processamento de sujeitos nulos de orações infinitivas flexionadas em português brasileiro (PB). Após revisão de parte da literatura atual sobre a Teoria do Controle e discussão das peculiaridades da diacronia do PB, o artigo apresenta um experimento envolvendo rastreamento ocular que comprova que a interpretação controlada do sujeito da infinitiva flexionada é não apenas real psicologicamente, mas também a opção preferida numa tarefa em que se compara a leitura controlada à leitura arbitrária. Discute-se, então, as implicações desse experimento com relação à teoria sintática e à Análise do Controle e especula-se sobre o papel de explicações com base no conceito de terceiro fator na arquitetura da linguagem humana.

Palavras-chave: sintaxe gerativa; processamento de frases; controle não finito; infinitivos flexionados; português brasileiro; rastreamento ocular.



Keywords


generative syntax; sentence processing; nonfinite control; inflected infinitives; Brazilian Portuguese; eye-tracking.

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17851/2237-2083.25.3.1183-1224

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