Psych verbs in Brazilian Portuguese: causation and argument structure
Márcia Cançado, Luana Amaral, Letícia Meirelles, Maria José Foltran
March 2021

Psychological verbs are broadly discussed in the literature because of their peculiar syntactic behavior in several languages. Specially Object Experiencer verbs have been the focus of interested of many researchers, because they are expressed in distinct and unsystematic ways across languages. Two of the main issues regarding these verbs is their aspectual nature and event structure, and the fact that, despite being Object Experiencer verbs, they appear with the experiencer argument in subject position, in a type of “alternation” process. In this paper, taking Brazilian Portuguese as our object language, we provide an analysis of Object Experiencer verbs, focusing on these two main issues. Based on a detailed study of 170 verbs, we claim that these verbs describe complex states in which a stimulus state activates (in a causative relation) a mental state in an experiencer. We show as well that a small subgroup of these verbs can have, additionally, an eventive reading, motivated by a metaphorical process. In a similar way, eventive verbs can also present a psychological stative reading. Besides, all Object Experiencer verbs of the language appear in an inverse form, with experiencer subject and the experiencer in an oblique position. We claim that the pragmatic prominence of the experiencer enables these verbs to appear in such inverse construction, presenting a re-construal of the eventuality described by the verb. To explain the behavior of BP Object Experiencer verbs, we adopted the Lexical-Constructional Model. We argue that the different readings of BP Object Experiencer verbs and their inverse form derive from their integration into specific types of argument structure constructions.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005594
(please use that when you cite this article)
keywords: psych verbs, object experiencer, argument structure, complex states, causation, constructions, brazilian portuguese, semantics
previous versions: v3 [January 2021]
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