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The behavior of modifiers inside idioms

Grant number: 20/05241-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2020
Effective date (End): January 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal Investigator:Jairo Morais Nunes
Grantee:Claudia Souza Coelho
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Lebeaux (1988) argued that some of the idioms formed by verb + direct object have frozen determinants, while others prohibit them. These two groups also present a contrast regarding the possibility of passivization: idioms without determinants passivize freely, while those with frozen determinants resist this operation. Bruening (2010) and Bruening et. al (2018), on the other hand, propose that idioms formed by verb + direct object involve selection of the noun by the verb and the occurrence of determinants and other modifiers is free because they would not break this relationship. In Brazilian Portuguese, these idioms resist passivization in general, but the occurrence of determinants and other modifiers is neither free nor totally restricted. Thus, the analyses by Lebeaux (1988) and by Bruening (2010) do not explain the behavior of Brazilian Portuguese data. As idioms formed by verb + direct object are a very common pattern and the determinant is often found in this configuration, this project aims to investigate the behavior of determinants and other modifiers of the nominal domain (adjectives, possessives and numerals/ quantifiers) within idioms and propose an analysis of the principles that underlie idiom formation and their restrictions. (AU)