Word order of relative clauses (Hungarian)

RelN: The relative clause always or usually precedes the noun head.

NRel: The relative clause always or usually follows the noun head.

(1) a pihen-ő pingvin

the rest-prs.ptc penguin

‘the resting penguin’

(2) az a pingvin, amelyik pihen

det the penguin which rest.prs.3sg

‘the peguin, which is resting’

(3) a folyó túlpart-já-n lak-ó ember nagyon vadász.

the river other_side-3sg-sup live-prs.ptc man very good hunter

‘The man living on the other side of the river is a very good hunter.’

(4) az az ember,aki a folyó túlpart-já-n lak-ik, nagyon vadász.

det the man who the river other_side-3sg-sup live-prs.3sg very good hunter

‘The man, who lives on the other side of the river, is a very good hunter.’

In Hungarian, the modifier can either precede (1), (3), or follow (2), (4) the head noun. If the modifier is part of a phrase (1)–(2), it typically precedes the head noun, but if the modifier is expressed by a clause (3)–(4), it is more frequent to be put after the noun. Subject and object subordinations can equally be expressed by participle constructions, while other oblique arguments are typically coded by separate, thus postpositional, clauses (cf. Balogh 2000b: 444‒448, Kenesei et al. 1998:  37‒41). The usage of the different constructions is not determined by other grammatical or semantic features.


Nikolett F. Gulyás