Predicates of personal taste and pancake sentences in Brazilian Portuguese and French
Fabienne Martin, Janayna Carvalho, Artemis Alexiadou
May 2019
 

This paper explores some properties of so-called pancake sentences in Brazilian Portuguese and French. Pancake sentences are copular sentences built with a (postcopular) adjective, but differ from run-of-the-mill copular sentences in two respects: (i) the nominal expression in the subject position, which is individual-denoting in its literal meaning, is reinterpreted as an event type involving the original referent; (ii) there is agreement mismatch between this nominal expression in subject position and the adjective. Following Greenberg (2008), we propose that in Brazilian Portuguese and in French, it is the agreement feature mismatch which triggers the reinterpretation mechanism of the nominal expression, which stands for a non-overt semantic structure. However, the exact output of the reinterpretation mechanism (and the meaning of the covert semantic structure the nominal expression stands for) depends on the building blocks of a non-agreeing copular sentence, which are different in the two languages under discussion. These differences explain why French non-agreeing copular sentences may have more than one meaning and are thus not necessarily pancake sentences. We also observe that in general, only predicates of personal taste are licensed in pancake sentences in the languages under discussion, which we also account for.
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Reference: lingbuzz/004598
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keywords: pancake sentences, brazilian portuguese, french, experiencer adjectives, bare nouns, predicates of personal taste, second-order property, agreement mismatch, semantics
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