Marking of the recipient in ditransitive pronominal constructions (R) (Hungarian)

PT–R: The objects of monotransitive and ditransitive verbs are marked the same way; the recipient is marked differently.

VAgrPTnoR: The verb codes agreement with P and T the same way; agreement with R is not coded.

(1) a fiú meg-vesz-i a könyv-et (P).

the boy pref-buy-prs.obj.3sg the book-acc

‘The boy is buying the book.’

(2) a fiú nekem (R) ad-ja a könyv-et (T).

the boy I.dat give-prs.obj.3sg the book-acc

‘The boy is giving me the book.’

(3) a fiú meg-ajándékoz engem (R) a könyv-vel (T).

the boy pref-give_present.3sg I.acc the book-ins

‘The boy is giving me a book as a present.’

In Hungarian, the nominal objects (patient or theme) of monotransitive (1) and ditransitive (2) verbs are both marked with the accusative (-t suffix). Pronominal recipients are marked with their dative case form. This is the typical way of marking in Hungarian, however a small group of ditransitive verbs (e.g. meglep ‘to surprise somebody’, megajándékoz ‘to give a present’) assign instrumental case to the theme (direct object) and accusative to the recipient (3). (Due to the marginality of this construction, we did not take it into consideration when the parameter values were determined.) Monotransitive and ditransitive verbs are both agreed with the object (which can either be a patient or a theme). The agreement is governed by the definiteness of the object (cf. Kenesei et al. 1998: 197–198, Komlósy 1992: 345–346). If it is the R that takes the accusative, it only counts as definite if it is in the third person.


Nikolett F. Gulyás