The interplay between VSO and coordination in two types of non-degree exclamatives

Ana Maria Martins


This paper studies two types of indicative structures displaying subject-verb inversion which have received little attention in the literature on VS order in European Portuguese. Both types of structures involve coordination as a means to overtly express comparison/contrast, show a VSO pattern, and can be characterized as non-degree exclamatives. Whereas in one type (Type I) the post-verbal subject receives a contrastive focus reading, the other type (Type II) shows a less common pattern of subject-verb inversion, which does not involve focus on the subject nor verb-second syntax, but adds to the propositional content of the sentence an implicit comment conveying a speaker’s attitude of disapproval towards the described state of affairs. It is proposed that the unifying factor behind the two types of VSO non-degree exclamatives is the presence of an evaluative feature in the CP field that triggers V-to-C movement. Type I structures further involve movement of the subject to FocP and display V-to-C in both conjuncts of the coordinate structure. Type II structures do not involve focus-movement and V-to-C is restricted to the first member of the coordinate structure while the head of the structure itself (i.e. the coordinate conjunction) satisfies the evaluative feature of the second conjunct.


non-degree exclamatives; VSO order; coordination; contrastive focus; evaluative meaning; European Portuguese

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Copyright (c) 2013 Ana Maria Martins