Demonstrative and personal pronouns in non-subject (oblique) position (Hungarian)

PPNonAnim~DemNonSubj: Facultative use of demonstrative pronouns in non-subject position is permitted for nonhuman or nonliving entities, but only personal pronouns can be used for human or living entities.

(1) lát-od   ott a       fiú-t? neki ad-t-am   egy csoki-t.

see-prs.obj.2sg  there the    boy-acc he.dat give-pst-1sg a chocolate-acc

‘Do you see that boy there? I gave him a chocolate.’

(2) lát-od ott a fiú-k-at?        nekik ad-t-am      egy csoki-t.

see- prs.obj.2sg there the boy-pl-acc they.dat give-pst-1sg a chocolate-acc

‘Do you see those boys there? I gave them a chocolate.’

(3) látod ott a könyvet? az-t neked hoz-t-am.

see- prs.obj.2sg there the book-acc det-acc you.dat bring-pst-1sg

‘Do you see that book there? I brought it for you?’

In Hungarian, the third person personal pronouns (ő ‘he/she/it’, ők ‘they’) and the distal demonstratives (az ‘that’, azok ‘those’) are separate categories. The demonstrative pronouns in non-subject function (e.g. as beneficiary (1)-(2)) can only substitute personal pronouns, if they refer to inanimate entities (3). If the referent is animate, only the personal pronoun can be used in the normative language variant.


Nikolett F. Gulyás