Person marking of the patient on the verb (Hungarian)

NoPatPM: Transitive verbs do not morphologically mark the person of the patient.

PatPMnon3: Transitive verbs only show agreement with the patient in terms of person if the patient is first or second person.

(1) én vár-ok valaki-t.

I wait_for-prs.1sg somebody-acc

‘I’m waiting for someone.’

(2) én vár-om a busz-t.

I wait_for-prs.obj.1sg the bus-acc

‘I’m waiting for the bus.’

(3) én vár-om ő-t.

I wait_for-prs.obj.1sg (s)he-acc

‘I’m waiting for him/her.’

(4) én vár-lak téged.

I wait_for-prs.2obj.1sg you.acc

‘I’m waiting for you.’

(5) én vár-lak bennetek-et.

I wait_for-prs.2obj.1sg you(pl.)-acc

‘I’m waiting for you.’

In Hungarian, there are two verb conjugations: one of them is used to refer to indefinite/generic objects (1), while the other indicates the presence of a definite object (2)–(5). In both conjugations, the verb always agrees with the person of the agent. The verb form in the definite conjugation reflects a determined object (2). In the indefinite (subjective/indeterminate) conjugation the -lak/-lek suffix codes the person of the agent and the patient at the same time. In this case, the object can only be second person singular or plural (cf. Kugler 2000a: 104‒123, Kiefer 2003: 212‒222). There is no accepted explanation why the two different conjugations evolved this way in Hungarian (cf. Havas 2005, 2008, Csepregi 2010b, É. Kiss 2010, 2013, Honti 2009, Sárosi 2003).


Nikolett F. Gulyás