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Argument promotion and SE-constructions in Brazilian Portuguese

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Abstract

Middle <i>se</i> constructions have been considered as non-active morphology, showing the same effect as passive <i>se</i> constructions, namely, internal argument promotion. The presence of <i>se</i> indicates that a property is attributed to the &#8220;subject&#8221; of the sentence, which is the underlying internal argument. The aim of this paper is to discuss some constructions in Brazilian Portuguese that have the internal argument in subject position. The analysis is able to explain why the argument in surface subject position in these sentences is always [-animate], the construction is restricted to certain verbs, and that the sentences have certain aspectual properties. The paper indicates that there is a diachronic development that relates these sentences to the loss of middle <i>se</i> constructions in BP. Keywords: argument promotion; middle SE constructions; generative grammar; Brazilian Portuguese; syntactic change

References

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