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"Parecem querer" / "Parece quererem"

  Tags: Portuguese
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 Message 1 of 14
17 September 2012 at 3:56pm | IP Logged 
I've been leafing some online sources on the relationship between "parecer" + infintive OR personal infinitive.

"...ou forma locução com o verbo parecer - nessa situação, ou o verbo auxiliar flexiona:

'As crianças parecem querer algo'

...ou o principal, ficando o auxiliar na terceira pessoa do singular:

'As crianças parece quererem algo'.

O lembrete é que nunca se flexiona o infinitivo nas demais locuções verbais, como em "As crianças não quiseram fazer a lição"..."

Native input seems necessary here. Is there any nuance in saying the first or second senteces? And if not which is the most commont construction?

Extra question:

What is the rule regarding contractions like "nalgums, noutros, dali..."? Are these optional, colloquial, or discouraged? Thanks!
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 Message 2 of 14
17 September 2012 at 5:18pm | IP Logged 
i've never heard nalguns but I've heard the others. Seems like nalguns is discouraged but others aren't, especially dali (de ali is one of the most awkward non-contracted forms, imo!) I've found this too...
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 Message 3 of 14
17 September 2012 at 7:13pm | IP Logged 
In Portuguese, ALGO is not used much (unlike in Spanish), it sounds a bit like SHALL in English, it does not belong to the everyday Portuguese. ALGUMA COISA is always used instead. (ALGUMA COISA is not informal, but neutral; it is ALGO which is formal sounding).

Google search

''Parece que as crianças querem'' 30 hits
''As crianças parecem querer''    30 hits
''As crianças parece quererem'' 1 hit

''parece que as pessoas querem'' 338,000 results
''as pessoas parecem querer'' 42,500 results
"as pessoas parece quererem"   7 results

The last example (with PESSOAS) is pretty representative of modern Portuguese.
It has enough tokens for conclusions to be drawn.

in 90% of cases you use PARECE QUE + subject + verb (It seems that people want)
In very formal contexts you can say SUBJECT + conjugated parecer + non-personal infinitive (People seem to want)

the last example is almost never heard (As pessoas parece quererem),
it sounds like 19th century Portuguese.

But there's a slight difference between
Pareço estar louco = I look like I'm crazy. (parecer = to look like/appear)
=I'm not crazy, but I give everyone an impression of being crazy

Parece que estou louco = It seems (like) I'm crazy (parecer = to seem)
=It seems I'm 100% crazy

Edited by Medulin on 17 September 2012 at 7:27pm

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 Message 4 of 14
17 September 2012 at 7:28pm | IP Logged 
I'm gonna say it from the point of view of a native speaker of Brazilian Portuguese:

"Parece quererem" is over-high, literary register. "Parecem querer" is high, news written, academic register.

What you would do in spoken language is use "parece" in impersonal forms, just like you do with its English counterpart - it seems that.

"Parece que as crianças querem alguma coisa" = It seems the children want something. This is not only spoken, but also perfectly ok for written language as well.

Bear in mind that "parece" in "parece quererem" is rather regarded as an impersonal form just like the one using the subjunctive. You could even have a topicalized construction in spoken language:

"As crianças, parece que elas querem alguma coisa".

This is one of the topics when subjunctive is preferred over personal infinitive, even though the personal infinitive is alive and kicking at spoken language.

As for the contractions, there seemed to be a regression from literary to contemporary spoken language, with some contractions appearing less and less often. "Nalguns" and "noutros" are examples of contractions that sound quite literary. You'd rather use the preposition "em" dettached, as "em alguns", "em outros". This is even more valid for the non-literary language of newspapers and the academy - it seems more analytical, hence more rational, to use those non-contracted forms.

Contractions with "de" are more alive, so, "dali"is preffered. You could even hear "dum", "duma" in free variation with "de um", "de uma" in the spoken language, though it's still valid that non-contracted forms look better at print.
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 Message 5 of 14
17 September 2012 at 8:29pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for your native speaker input, @Expugnator.

Edited by iguanamon on 17 September 2012 at 9:50pm

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 Message 6 of 14
19 September 2012 at 1:05am | IP Logged 
The use of inflected infinitive in Portuguese is not that easy and, as Expugnator said, you will seldom use it unless in more formal settings.

On the other hand, their meanings are very easy get.

I think that constructions with infinitives are beautiful and worth studying, however.

One (simple but not complete) rule that would justify the use of the inflected infinitive in "As crianças parece quererem algo" would be the fact that the declarative verb "parece" has no subject and "quererem" has "crianças" as subject.

This paper (in English by a Portuguese speaker) seems to be a deep analysis of the matter.

Edited by Flarioca on 19 September 2012 at 1:16am

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 Message 7 of 14
19 September 2012 at 3:08pm | IP Logged 
Well, I've never heard or read "Parece quererem" in my whole life. It actually sounds very wrong to me, even if people said here it's gramatically correct.
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 Message 8 of 14
19 September 2012 at 3:32pm | IP Logged 
It may seem unusual, as all inflected infinitive forms do, but it is correct, for instance:


Os arroios são rios guris...
Vão pulando e cantando dentre as pedras.
Fazem borbulhas d'água no caminho: bonito!
Dão vau aos burricos,
às belas morenas,
curiosos das pernas das belas morenas.
E às vezes vão tão devagar
que conhecem o cheiro e a cor das flores
que se debruçam sobre eles nos matos que atravessam
e onde parece quererem sestear.
Às vezes uma asa branca roça-os, súbita emoção
como a nossa se recebêssemos o miraculoso encontrão
de um Anjo...
Mas nem nós nem os rios sabemos nada disso.
Os rios tresandam óleo e alcatrão
e refletem, em vez de estrelas,
os letreiros das firmas que transportam utilidades.
Que pena me dão os arroios,
os inocentes arroios...

(Mário Quintana)

See here.

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