Simplification or Complexification: Auxiliary Selection and Anti-agreement Effect in Brazilian Venetan



In this paper we discuss a change in the auxiliary selectional pattern of Brazilian Venetan, a heritage Italo-Romance variety spoken in southern Brazil. Venetan varieties display a default form of the past participle in constructions with postverbal subjects and a fully agreeing form in constructions with preverbal subjects: this is true both for the homeland varieties of the language, spoken in northern Italy, as well as for the heritage variety under analysis in this paper, spoken in southern Brazil. A crucial difference emerges in unaccusative constructions: while Italian Venetan uses the same form of the auxiliary BE in presence of preverbal and postverbal subjects, Brazilian Venetan uses a specialized form of the auxiliary in the constructions with default agreement on the past participle, when postverbal subjects are present. We argue that the specialized auxiliary form emerges as a necessary resumption in the case of lack of agreement. The heritage variety becomes, therefore, morphosyntactically more complex than the non-heritage counterpart.


anti-agreement, auxiliary, heritage, agreement


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