Past tense (Hungarian)

1Pst: There is one grammatically distinct past tense.

(1) este level-et ír-t-am.

evening letter-acc write-pst-1sg

‘I was writing a letter in the evening.’

(2) este meg-ír-t-am a level-et.

evening pref-write-pst-1sg the letter-acc

‘I wrote the letter in the evening.’

The past tense is marked by the -t/-tt suffixes in Hungarian. The suffix, on its own, typically expresses imperfectivity (1). There is no specific, or paradigmatic grammatical affix for the indication of perfectivity. Verbal prefixes (2), adverbs and verbal derivational morphemes are used instead to reflect aspectual differences (cf. Kugler 2000a: 104‒123, Kiefer 2003: 212‒222).


Nikolett F. Gulyás