Word order of content questions (Hungarian)

VS~O: In the basic word order of content questions, V precedes S, but the position of O may vary relative to these two items.

(1) dóri ebéd után csoki-t esz-ik.

Dóri lunch after chocolate-acc eat-prs.3sg

‘Dori eats chocolate after lunch.’

(2) mikor esz-ik dóri csoki-t?

when eat-prs.3sg Dóri chocolate-acc

‘When does Dori eat chocolate?’

(3) mikor esz-ik csoki-t dóri?

when eat-prs.3sg chocolate-acc Dóri

‘When does Dori eat chocolate?’

(4) ki-vel süt-i meg dóri a tortá-t?

who-com bake-prs.obj.3sg pref Dóri the cake-acc?

‘Whom is Dori baking the cake with?’

(5) milyen tortá-t süt dóri?

what_kind_of cake-acc bake.prs.3sg Dóri

‘What kind of cake is Dori baking?’

In Hungarian, the order of the subject and the verb is fixed (VS), but the object can be put anywhere in the clause. Adverbial content questions have the following word order: a) question word – verb – subject – object (2), (4) or b) question word – verb – object – subject (3). The choice of the word order does not depend on the definiteness of the object (indefinite (2)–(3), (5), definite (4)). When the content question requires information about the nominal modifier, the object precedes the verb and the subject (5) (cf. Kenesei et al. 1998: 5‒11).


Nikolett F. Gulyás