The Function and the Syntax of the Verbal Particle
Perhaps the hardest descriptive problem of Hungarian syntax is how to analyze the verbal particle. Is it a head or a phrase? What structural position does it occupy? Does it form a constituent with the V? Is its default preverbal position a base-generated or a derived position? Is its complementary distribution with the focus in the preverbal slot real or apparent? Does the reverse, V-particle order of negated sentences result from V-movement across the particle, or from the blocking of particle movement? How is the interaction of particle position and aspectual interpretation to be represented? Many of these questions also arise in the better known Indo-European languages – e.g. in the Germanic languages (even if they are exempt from the problem of the interaction of the particle with focussing), or in the Slavic languages (even if the Slavic equivalents of the Hungarian verbal particles are non-separable verbal prefixes, raising less word order problems). The questions arising have been given many different answers in the literature, and the proposed analyses seem to represent similar levels of descriptive adequacy, and seem to rely on principles of Universal Grammar to similar extents. The work summarized in this chapter has been motivated by the the assumption that the understanding of the role that the verbal particle plays in the conceptual-intentional interpretation of the sentence and in its prosodic realization may facilitate the selection of the most adequate syntactic representation.
KeywordsNoun Phrase Locative Particle Complex Predicate Bare Plural Theme Argument
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