Syncretism in the verbal paradigm (Hungarian)

SyncSP: Verbs show person and number agreement with the subject; the paradigm includes syncretic forms.

(1) néz-lek.


‘I’m looking at you.’

(2) néz-t-em.


‘I looked at something / that.’

(3) néz-né-nk.


‘We would look at something / that.’

(4) néz-né-tek.


‘You would look at something / that.’

(5) néz-t-em volna.

look-pst-1sg volna

‘I would have looked at something/that.’

In Hungarian, the verbal morphology codes tense, mood, the person and number of the subject, the definiteness of the object and second person objects if the subject of the verb is in the first person singular. The -lak/-lek morpheme (1) can refer to second person singular and plural objects. Syncretistic forms are found with verbal forms referring to different object types. For example, the object can be either definite or indefinite if the verb form is first person singular indicative in the past tense (2), first person conditional in the past tense (5), or first person (3) or second person plural (3) conditional in the present tense (cf. Kugler 2000a: 104‒123, Kiefer 2003: 212‒222).


Nikolett F. Gulyás