Categorical status of auxiliaries (Hungarian)

AuxVInfl: Auxiliary verbs are verbs, and the inflection of lexical and auxiliary verbs is the same.

AuxNotVInfl: Auxiliaries are verbs, but the inflection of auxiliaries is not identical to that of lexical verbs.

(1) level-et ír-ok.

letter-acc write-prs.1sg

‘I’m writing a letter.’

(2) kati level-et ír.

Kati letter-acc write-prs.3sg

‘Kati is writing a letter.’

(3) level-et fog-ok ír-ni.

letter-acc fut-1sg write-inf

‘I’m going to write a letter.’

(4) kati level-et fog ír-ni.

Kati letter-acc fut-3sg write-inf

‘Kati is going to write a letter.’

(5) nekem level-et kell ír-no-m.

I.dat letter-acc must/have_to.prs.3sg ír-inf-1sg

‘I must/have to write a letter.’

(6) kati-nak level-et kell ír-ni-a.

Kati-dat letter-acc must/have_to.prs.3sg write-inf-3sg

‘Kati must/has to write a letter.’

In Hungarian, auxiliaries are conjugated as verbs (Lengyel 2000b: 252, Kiefer 2003: 212, É. Kiss 2002: 205‒229). Some auxiliary-like elements that express aspectual (e.g. szokott ‘used to’), pragmatic (e.g. tetszik ‘would be so kind as to...’) or modal (e.g. lehet ‘possible’, kell ‘must/have to’ cf. (5)–(6)) meanings have incomplete paradigms (Lengyel 2000b: 256‒257).


Nikolett F. Gulyás