Locus in the verb phrase (Hungarian)

VDepMk[ONonA]: The patient is marked as such, while the agent is not. Both the unmarked agent and the marked patient are marked on the verb. (Two­way agreement is shown; the agent is unmarked.)

VMk: Neither the agent nor the patient is marked, but they are both marked on the verb. (Agreement is shown with both the unmarked agent and the unmarked patient.)

(1) lát-ok egy borz-ot.

see-prs.1sg a badger-acc

‘I can see a badger.’

(2) lát-om a borz-ot.

see-prs.obj.1sg the badger-acc

‘I can see the badger.’

(3) lát-om ő-t.

see-prs.obj.1sg (s)he-acc

‘I can see him/her.’


(4)    lát-lak           téged

     see-prs.2obj.1sg you.acc

    ‘I can see you.’


(5) vesz-em         a kalap-om.

take-prs.obj.1sg the hat-1sg

‘I’m taking my hat.’ = ‘I’m leaving.’


(6) vesz-em a kalap-om-at.

take-prs.obj.1sg the hat-1sg-acc.

‘I’m taking my hat.’ = ‘I’m leaving.’

In Hungarian, the agent of an active sentence is unmarked, while the patient is marked. In the verbal morphology, the subjective (indeterminate) conjugation indicates that the object is indefinite (1), and the objective (determinate) conjugation specifies that the object is definite (2)–(6). The person and number of the agent and the definiteness of the patient are always coded in the verbal morphology. In addition, the -lak/-lek morpheme also refers to the person of the patient (only used in the second person) (4). If the patient has a personal possessive affix, the object can be unmarked (5). Due to the possessive affix, the object is always considered definite and thus the determinate conjugation is required on the verb.


Nikolett F. Gulyás