Volume 44, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0035-3906
  • E-ISSN: 1600-0811
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In Spanish and Portuguese the direct perception of an event is expressed by infinitival constructions such as Vi a los niños correr and Vi os meninos correr(em) (“I saw the children run”). This article focuses on the factors that determine the syntactic markings of the perceived participant NP2 as the direct object of the perception verb or the subject of the subordinated infinitival complement. Based on a large corpus it is shown that although both languages prefer different basic word orders and case markings, a common cognitive-semantic parameter explains some striking analogies, namely the perception modality of the main verb. Moreover, the Portuguese infinitive optionally agrees with NP2, therefore syntactically becoming more subject-like. However, statistical data reveal beyond all expectations that inflection is not determined by the above-mentioned cognitive factor but by the degree of syntactic autonomy of the subordinated complement.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): infinitival construction; inflected infinitive; perception verbs; Portuguese; Spanish
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