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DELTA: Documentação de Estudos em Lingüística Teórica e Aplicada

Print version ISSN 0102-4450On-line version ISSN 1678-460X

DELTA vol.23 no.spe São Paulo  2007 




This volume gathers ten papers in honor of Lucia Lobato (1942-2005). The contributions are authored by linguists that Lucia admired and respected. It is a great honor to assemble these empirical and theoretical contributions to linguistics in memory of Professor Lobato, and thereby further advance our understanding of human language for both the students of Brazil and the greater linguistic community.

The name Maria Lucia Pinheiro Lobato is well known in Brazil as the author of the groundbreaking textbook Sintaxe Gerativa do Português: da Teoria Padrão à Teoria da Regência e Ligação, published in 1986. The book's publication was a landmark accomplishment in offering the most intensive Generative model of Brazilian Portuguese to date, taking into account the evolution of Generative syntax since its early days. In addition to its theoretical contribution to the understanding of Portuguese and of human language in general, Lobato's book also had a tremendous pedagogical impact on new approaches to the teaching and dissemination of Generative Grammar within Brazil. Even today, it is one of the major texts for many linguistic programs throughout the country. Lobato's Sintaxe Gerativa is still considered a classic, and continues to be an inspiration for new generations of linguists.

The publication of this volume honors and recognizes Lucia Lobato for a very productive career in which she made extensive contributions to research in linguistics, in addition to Sintaxe Gerativa, and for her devotion and active role in the development and consolidation of the scientific endeavors of Generative Grammar. Lucia was one of the pioneers of the development of Generative Grammar studies in Brazil.

Lucia began her undergraduate studies at University of Espírito Santo, graduating in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in French-Portuguese Letters and Literature. In 1967, she studied at the University of Nancy concentrating in Linguistics; soon thereafter, she was invited to enter the PhD program at the University of Paris III. Under Bernard Pottier's direction, Lucia completed her PhD in 1971, with a dissertation entitled L' Auxiliarité en Langue Portugaise. Lucia's dissertation thoroughly analyzes the aspectual and temporal, and mood properties of Portuguese, themes she revisited many times during her career.

During her time in France, Lucia began to learn about Noam Chomsky's new theory of the innate language abilities embedded in the human brain. Even though Chomsky's views were heavily criticized, Lucia considered them to be an important contribution to explain linguistic knowledge. Not long thereafter, she became a virtuoso student of this new scientific branch of linguistics.

Upon her return to Brazil at the beginning of the seventies, Lucia was appointed as an associate professor of the University of Rio de Janeiro. Her appointment was contemporaneous of that of Anthony Naro, who was a post-doc at Museu Nacional. Naro has completed his PhD at MIT in 1968, and was informally teaching Generative Grammar to Miriam Lemle and Yonne Leite. Lucia Lobato joined the group, and soon thereafter Lobato, Lemle and Naro embraced a new project: training a generation of Generative linguistics. This project was launched at University of Rio de Janeiro Institute of Letter, memorably located at that time at Avenida do Chile.

At the beginning of the seventies, Generative Grammar was being promoted by other graduate programs in São Paulo, Brazil. The Avenida do Chile group joined efforts with others to build credibility for this new field of inquiry. Despite of all the setbacks that this beginning might have had, their tireless efforts ultimately were successful. They inspired many other Brazilian linguists, assuring the acceptance of the Generative Grammar framework among new generation of Brazilian Linguistics, and providing a different approach to the understanding of the many languages spoken within the Brazilian territory.

Lucia remained as a faculty member at University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) until 1977, where she served as a Graduate program advisor, and a specialist in syntax and semantics. At UFRJ, Lucia supervised several masters theses, which focused on verbal semantics, aspect, and mood realization in Brazilian Portuguese and the place of pragmatics within linguistic theory.

After making important contributions at UFRJ, Lucia was given the opportunity to join the University of Brasília (UnB) as a permanent professor in 1977; thereafter she worked diligently with colleagues such as Aryon Rodrigues and Marta Scherre as well as with many students, continuing to make important contributions to the field of linguistics until her death in November of 2005.

It was at UnB that Lucia developed and directed diverse areas of research in syntax, the syntax-semantics interface and morphology. She supervised many masters theses and doctoral dissertations centered on a variety of phenomena observed in Brazilian Portuguese, including passives, prepositional phrases and case marking, subject inversion, argument structure, verbal inflection within non-finite clauses, adjunct and gerundive clauses, past participle forms, existential constructions, and nominal expressions. Many of the studies she supervised represented the first attempts to analyze the phenomena in Portuguese. Perhaps even more importantly, they helped students focus on comparative analyses between Brazilian Portuguese and other Romance, Germanic and Slavic languages. Lucia also directed research on diachronic variation within Portuguese and on the study of less familiar languages, including Ibibio and Karajá.

Alongside her superb qualities as a teacher and an advisor, Lucia's personal research interests reflected a linguist well versed in different components of the grammar, open to different theoretical possibilities, and extremely aware of the important role the descriptive level plays in modeling adequate explanatory theories. She contributed to the field through describing the semantic import of functional categories, lexical categories, diachronic changes, modality, word order and nominal expressions. Her most recent work included two articles valuable to the understanding of the syntax and morphology of Brazilian Portuguese. Lobato (2004) analyzed resultative constructions, suggesting that, in contrast to other Romance languages, Brazilian Portuguese exhibit true resultative constructions (e.g. Maria pintou a casa amarela 'Maria painted the house yellow'), even though their licensing is highly dependent on syntactic and semantic aspects of the verbal argument structure. Lobato (1999, 2000) also published papers exploring the availability of long and short past participle forms in Brazilian Portuguese (e.g eleito/elegido 'elected'). She suggested that, despite their morpho-phonological differences, these forms are alike in their formal feature composition, which is instantiated by the thematic vowel, the stress and the past participle ending. Although Lucia did not discuss the nature of these features, I believe her ideas would be compatible with an analysis of past participles in which these are complex heads formed by an argument structure (transitive or intransitive) dominated by an aspectual functional projection (along the lines proposed within recent work in Distributed Morphology). The formal features noted by Lobato may correspond to properties of the structure that underlie the past participle form, such as the transitivity and the aspectual information of the verbal shell.

During the nineties, Lucia made two formal post-doctoral visits to the linguistic department at MIT, and continued to make many informal visits to that department over the subsequent years. She was a great admirer of Ken Hale's work and his views of language, and this admiration had clear influence on her work on argument structure, a recurrent theme in Lucia's research projects.

From the beginning of her career to its end, Lucia engaged herself with professional linguistic societies. From 2003 to 2005, she served as the President of Abralin, the Brazilian Association of Linguistics. She was also an active member of Anpoll, the national association of graduate studies in Linguistics, where she presented many of her ideas. Lucia was also very fond of the Formal Syntax workshops, an annual meeting organized by the department of linguistics of University of São Paulo (USP). Lucia participated in every meeting of this workshop from its inception in 2000 until 2005.

This short preface does not permit justice to the many other aspects of Lucia's contributions. Indeed, I would be remiss if I have not emphasized enough how much her research oeuvre represents a standard of excellence of great influence and stimulus to all Brazilian linguists in their continuing quest for understanding. Her devotion and love for science will remain a continuing source of inspiration and guidance to all of us.

Cilene Rodrigues




Lobato, L. M. P. 1988. Sintaxe Gerativa do Português: da Teoria Padrão à Teoria da Regência e Ligação. Manual do Professor. Belo Horizonte: Vigília.         [ Links ]

______. 1986. Sintaxe Gerativa do Português: da Teoria Padrão à Teoria da Regência e Ligação. Belo Horizonte: Vigília.         [ Links ]

______. (ed.) 1978. Lingüística e Ensino do Vernáculo. Rio de Janeiro: Tempo Brasileiro.         [ Links ]

______. (ed.) 1977. A Semântica na Lingüística Moderna: O Léxico. Rio de Janeiro: Francisco Alves.         [ Links ]

______. (ed.) 1975. Análises Lingüísticas. Rio de Janeiro: Vozes.         [ Links ]

______. (ed.) 1973. Littera. Rio de Janeiro: Grifo.         [ Links ]

Book Chapters

Lobato, L. M. P. 2005. Sobre o Suposto Uso Adverbial do Adjetivo: A Questão Categorial e as Questões de Variação e Mudança Lingüística. In: C. Roncarti, S. Votre (Eds.) Homenagem a Antony Naro. Rio de Janeiro: UFRJ.         [ Links ]

______. 2004. Afinal, Existe a Construção Resultativa em Português? In: L. Negri, M. J. Foltran, R. Oliveira (Eds.) Sentido e Significação: Em Torno da Obra de Rodolfo Ilari. São Paulo: Contexto.         [ Links ]

______. 1995. A Derivação Regressiva em Português: Conceituação e Tratamento Gerativo. In: C. Pereira, P. Pereira (Eds.) Miscelânea de Estudos Lingüísticos, Filológicos e Literários in Memoriam Celso Cunha. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira.         [ Links ]

Journal Articles

Lobato, L. M. P. 2000. Formal Features and Parameter Setting: a View from Portuguese Past Participle and Romance Future Tenses. DELTA: 16:99-128.         [ Links ]

______. 1999. Sobre a Forma do Particípio do Português e o Estatuto dos Traços Formais. DELTA: 15:113-140.         [ Links ]

______. 1994. A Concordância Nominal no Português do Brasil à Luz da Teoria de Princípios e Parâmetros e da Sociolingüística Variacionista. DELTA 10: 173-212.         [ Links ]

______. 1989. Advérbios e Preposições, Sintagmas Adverbiais e Sintagmas Preposicionais. DELTA: 5:101-120.         [ Links ]

______. 1988. O Princípio das Categorias Vazias: Evolução e Tendências. DELTA 4:225-263         [ Links ]

______. 1988. Sobre A Regra de Anteposição do Verbo no Português do Brasil. DELTA 4:121-147.         [ Links ]

______. 1978. Teorias Lingüísticas e Ensino do Português como Língua Materna. Revista Tempo Brasileiro 53/54:4-47.         [ Links ]

______. 1976. Sobre Análise Semântica. Revista Brasileira de Linguiística 3: 106-128.         [ Links ]

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