The semantics of DPs

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This chapter focuses on determiner phrases (DPs) in Portuguese introduced by the definite article and a few indefinite determiners and followed by a noun phrase, leaving out other quantifier determiners, as well as personal pronouns. It focuses on four semantic properties: epistemicity, positive polarity, partitivity, and scope taking. The authors believe these properties provide a very good illustration of similarities and differences between um, uns, algum and alguns, as well as the challenges their complex behavior poses for any semantic theory of indefinites. Both European Portuguese (EP) and Brazilian Portuguese (BP) allow for bare nominals in argument positions. The chapter discusses the use of bare plurals in both varieties, and bare singulars in BP. It presents an example in which a bare singular occurs in the object position of a transitive verb in an episodic sentence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Portuguese Linguistics
EditorsW. L. Wetzels, J. Costa, S. Menuzzi
Place of PublicationMalden/Oxford
Number of pages616
ISBN (Electronic)9781118791844
ISBN (Print)9781118791950
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Polarity
  • Scope properties
  • Definite DPs
  • Indefinite DPs
  • Kind reference


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