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Reference and ascription: proper names in Portuguese

Grant number: 19/13578-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2019
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal Investigator:Roberto Gomes Camacho
Grantee:Monielly Cristina Saverio Serafim
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências, Letras e Ciências Exatas (IBILCE). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de São José do Rio Preto. São José do Rio Preto , SP, Brazil


This project focuses on the analysis of proper names in Portuguese. Usually defined in contrast to common nouns, proper names are words that refer to a single individual, and are therefore, par excellence, referential expressions. In the theoretical framework of the Functional Discourse Grammar (HENGEVELD; MACKENZIE, 2008), proper names correspond, at the Interpersonal Level (IL), to a Subact of Reference (R) or to a Participant (P) in the case of vocative. This work aims at studying only the first type of occurrence of proper names, which, at the Representational Level (RL), is formalized by means of an empty x-variable, which leads, consequently, to the fact that proper names cannot receive modification at the RL. Keizer (2008), on the other hand, postulates that proper names do not always represent Subacts of Reference, but they may also have an 'special type' of attributive function, which, in FDG, would be represented by a Subact of Ascription (T) in IL and by a x-variable with a lexical head in RL. Based on these two positions, this project aims at answering the following questions: i) would proper names always be a Subact of Reference?; ii) how would proper names behave in the Representational Level?; iii) in case of modification, which levels and layers would be affected?; iv) would there be relevant differences in the morphosyntactic coding of the noun phrase of which the name itself is part in case of Reference and Ascription? The answer to these questions may provide relevant theoretical results for the understanding of proper names in general terms and more specifically it may bring theoretical contributions to FDG in terms of the pragmatic, semantic and morphosyntactic representation of common nouns and proper names. (AU)