Marking of genitive, adjectival, and relative-clause functions (Hungarian)

Attrdiff: The three functions are expressed using three distinct morphosyntactic strategies. This is known as complete differentiation.

(1) nehéz szótár

heavy dictionary

‘heavy dictionary’

(2) három kutya

three dog

‘three dogs’

(3) az apa háza

the father house-3sg

‘the father’s house’

(4) az én ház-am

the I house-1sg

‘my house’

(5) pihen-ő lajhár

rest-prs.ptc sloth

‘a resting sloth’

(6) a lajhár, amelyik pihen

the sloth which rest.prs.3sg

‘the sloth which is resting’

In Hungarian, the modifiers of those constructions which specify a quality or quantity of the head noun are in the nominative case (both adjectives and numerals) (1)–(2). In possessive constructions, the noun (3) or the personal pronoun (4) denoting the possessor are also in their nominative forms. The element referring to the possessed entity is marked by a personal suffix. Hence the two constructions (i.e. the possessive constructions and the more general modifier constructions) are morphologically distinct. In subordinate constructions, the modifier may take a special suffix (which indicates the participle function of the element) (5) or it can be expressed by a separate subordinate clause (6). The three construction types are marked differently in Hungarian (cf. Balogh 2000b: 444‒451, Haader 2000a: 498‒502).


Nikolett F. Gulyás