An analysis of the progressive with stative verbs in Brazilian Portuguese

Marco Tulio Bittencourt, Rozana Naves, Marcus Lunguinho


In this squib, we investigate the occurrence of the progressive with stative verbs in Brazilian Portuguese, as in João está sabendo geografia ("João is knowing geography") and Maria está vivendo com Pedro ("Maria is living with Pedro"). We adopt the proposal developed by Cunha (1998, 2004) for European Portuguese, who argues that stative predicates are distinguished by the semantic feature [+/-PHASE], being the progressive used only with [+PHASE] statives. Based on data from Brazilian Portuguese, we develop the hypothesis that the progressive with [+PHASE] statives marks a frontier or a transition of phases of a given state that distinguishes the previous phase of this state from the phase in progress. We adopt Parsons's (1990) proposal, which deals with the notion of subatomic events in English, in order to formalize the semantic notion of phaseability, originally proposed by Cunha (1998, 2004).

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