Copula types (Hungarian)

Cop=VInfl: The copula, when explicit, is inflected just as lexical verbs.

(1) én vagy-ok.

I be-prs.1sg

’I am.’

(2) én boldog vagy-ok

I happy cop-prs.1sg

‘I’m happy.’

(3) ő/bence boldog.

he/Bence happy

‘He/Bence is happy.’

(4) én boldog vol-t-am.

I happy cop-pst-1sg

‘I was happy.’

(5) ő/bence boldog vol-t.

he/Bence happy cop-pst.3sg

‘He/Bence was happy.’

(6) itt vagy-ok.

here cop-1sg

‘I’m here.’

(7) ő/bence itt van.

he/Bence here cop.prs.3sg

‘He/Bence is here.’

(8) ő/bence itt vol-t.

he/bence here cop-pst.3sg

‘He/Bence was here.’

(9) ő/bence itt lesz.

he/bence here cop.fut.3sg

‘He/Bence will be here.’

In Hungarian, the copula (2) is the same as the substantive verb (1) in the present and the past tense. The copula is zero in the present tense with third person subjects (3), except for those constructions where the copula is part of a complex adverbial predicate (7). The conjugation of the copula is irregular in the present tense. The future tense of the copula is suppletive: it is formed with the stem lesz- (cf. Kenesei et al. 1998: 58‒64, Lengyel 2000b).


Nikolett F. Gulyás