Case marking alignment of ditransitive pronominal constructions (Hungarian)

PT–R: The objects of monotransitive and ditransitive verbs are marked the same way; the recipient is marked differently.

VAgrPTnoR: The verb codes agreement with P and T the same way; agreement with R is not coded.

(1) a fiú meg-vesz-i az-t (P).

the boy pref-buy-prs.obj.3sg det-acc

‘The boy is buying that.’

(2) a fiú nekem (R) ad-ja az-t (T).

the boy I.dat give-prs.obj.3sg det-acc

‘The boy is giving me that.’

(3) a fiú meg-ajándékoz engem (R) az-zal (T).

the boy pref-give_present.prs.3sg I.acc det-ins

‘The boy is giving me that as a present.’

In Hungarian, the pronominal objects (patient and theme) of monotransitive (1) and ditransitive (2) verbs are both marked with the accusative (-t suffix). Nominal recipients take the dative suffix (-nak, -nek), pronominal ones appear in their respective dative forms. This is the typical way of marking in Hungarian, however, a small group of verbs (e.g. meglep ‘to surprise somebody’, megajándékoz ‘to give a present’) assign instrumental case to the theme (direct object) and accusative to the recipient (3). In the first construction type, monotransitive and ditransitive verbs are both agreed with the object (both in patient and theme functions), while in the second grammatical structure, it is the recipient in the accusative function that leads the verbal agreement (however, due to the marginality of this construction, we did not take it into consideration when the parameter values were determined). Verbal agreement is governed by the definiteness of the object (Cf. Kenesei et al. 1998: 197‒198, Komlósy 1992: 345‒346.)


Nikolett F. Gulyás