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Title: On the relation between Hungarian verb paradigms and differential object marking
Authors: Bárány, András
Keywords: Uralic Languages
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Universitaet Wien
Abstract: This thesis is about a peculiar feature of Hungarian verb morphology in relation to a widespread phenomenon known as differential object marking (DOM). Hungarian has two different paradigms for transitive verbs that appear depending on a certain property of the direct object, i.e., different types of direct objects co-occur with different morphological expression on the verb. In many languages, a similar phenomenon has become known as DOM: not all objects are marked using the same morphological means. Some objects, usually definite, animate or topical ones, tend to be morphologically marked in languages with DOM, while direct objects that lack these features are often unmarked. DOM is often analyzed as a phenomenon that serves to disambiguate subjects from objects. In this thesis, I will attempt to make a connection between these two phenomena and relate them to each other, discussing whether Hungarian verb paradigms count as an instance of DOM. The thesis is structured as follows. In Chapter 1, I introduce the Hungarian noun phrase, the subjective and objective conjugation and I discuss their morphological structure, in addition to providing examples illustrating the use of the two conjugations. Chapter 2 includes a detailed analysis of two theoretical approaches to the analysis of the Hungarian objective conjugation. I mostly discuss the question what exactly triggers the objective conjugation, i.e., what property of the direct object it is that requires objective morphology. The phenomenon of DOM is introduced in detail in Chapter 3. I provide an overview of some of the recent literature on this topic and examine several proposals of how to account for the facts known under this term. In Chapter 4, I bring together the previous discussion and relate the characteristics of the Hungarian objective conjugation to characteristics of DOM, as established in Chapter 3. I provide evidence for a structural analysis of Hungarian object agreement and discuss the nature of DOM in Hungarian. Chapter 5 is a summary of the arguments and findings of the preceding chapters, presents the conclusions reached and mentions open questions that have not been addressed or solved in this thesis.
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