I am doing research on a few apparent cases of preposition stranding in Brazilian Portuguese (a non-P-stranding language) and, by comparing them to languages that have bona fide P-stranding, I am starting to assume that the sentences with "isolated" prepositions in Brazilian Portuguese are actually cases of argument ellipsis or prepositions with a null resumptive pronoun (pro) as its complement, and so generated without Wh-movement. Below are some examples of these sentences (prepositions are capitalized and, as you can see, the English equivalents are only grammatical with the pronoun "it")

  1. Unha de gel ou acrílico? To lendo SOBRE e me interessando mais por fibra mesmo. / 'Gel or acrylic nails? I've been reading ABOUT (*it) and I've preferred acrylics.'

  2. Eles estão falando em diminuir os impostos. Eu sou 100% CONTRA. / 'They are talking about reducing taxes. I am 100% AGAINST (*it)."

However, although less common, there are some examples of these prepositions being "stranded" in relative and interrogative clauses, which are known to be derived by Wh-movement. Because of this ambiguity, I have been putting these phrases through some diagnostics of movement, the main of which are islands. Could you help me with that? I would like to know whether or not the following sentences (both of which sound good to some Brazilian Portuguese speakers) are instances of islands. Also, I would appreciate it if you could tell me other diagnostics that I could use to find out whether these empty categories are a trace/copy left by Wh-movement (which would imply that these are cases of preposition stranding) or whether they are just a null complement (ellipsis or null pronoun).

Do these sentences (said by native Brazilian Portuguese speakers) contain Wh-islands or adjunct islands?

  1. Esse é um assunto que se eu comentar sobre eu posso ser processado / This is a subject that if I comment. about I can be sued / 'I can be sued if I comment on this subject.'

  2. Que assunto você fica bravo quando te perguntam sobre? / Which subject you become angry when you.ACC ask.3PL about / 'Which subject makes you angry when you people ask you about (*it).'

Thank you very much!

  • Could someone help me?
    – Nobody16
    Mar 17 at 1:43


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