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The reduction of the preposition para (to, for) in Brazilian Portuguese according to the previous word




chunking, lexical storage, multiword sequences, phonetic reduction, frequency effects


This article analyzes the reduction of the preposition para (to, for) to pra in Brazilian Portuguese. Sequences of (previous word + para or pra) selected from a corpus of spoken language were statistically analyzed to understand which factors could be playing a role in this reduction. A statistical analysis of the 30 most frequent sequences of (previous word + para or pra) was carried out to identify the factors that seem to influence this reduction. The concepts of string frequency (Krug 1998, 2003, Bush 2001), relative frequency (Torres Cacoullos 2006), and token frequency (Bybee 2002a, 2002b, 2006) were adopted to verify whether frequency of usage in any of these forms would influence the reduction. Results show that relative frequency favors the reduction of para to pra, alongside word class, number of syllables, and stressed syllable. Based on this analysis, the lexical storage of multiword sequences is discussed, along with its effects for processes of linguistic variation and change.


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