A forgotten episode of the history of phonology


This paper is the written version of an invited talk delivered at the 2014 annual assembly of the Society of Hungarian Linguistics. It discusses the “missing link” between structuralist phonology and classical generative (SPE) phonology. In particular, it invokes a half-forgotten 1949 paper by Rulon S. Wells, suggesting that some phonologists were exploring the value and use of phonological derivations, including abstract underlying representations and several layers of intermediate representations, as well as rule ordering and rule interaction, as early as in the late 1940s.

Keywords: phonological theory, paradigm shift, generative phonology, representation, derivation, taxonomic phoneme, rule ordering.

Siptár Péte

Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem

MTA Nyelvtudományi Intézet


Mondván and úgymond: the emergence of discourse markers

from quoting constructions


The paper discusses Hungarian instances of a well-known grammaticalization process: cases of quoting constructions (including verba dicendi) turning into discourse markers. It explores the history of mondván ‘having said’ and úgymond ‘so to speak’ going back to before the 16th century and traces down the process of their grammaticalization. In the beginning, one of the typical uses of both items was to provide for the transitivity of the main clause introducing a direct quotation. When they both lost that original function, given that the verb of saying in the main clause became able to govern a complement containing a direct quotation, their role was reinterpreted. The paper surveys the changing roles of these two items. It explores the steps of this grammaticalization process taken in earlier centuries, it studies the functions of these items in present-day Hungarian, and finds connections between earlier and later uses. Mondván is analysed more in detail than úgymond is, given that the author discussed the latter item in some previous publications, too.

Keywords: quotation, discourse marker, grammaticalization, historical change, connective.

Dömötör Adrienne

MTA Nyelvtudományi Intézet


On grammaticalization processes resulting in clause elimination, with

respect to the grammaticalization of lévén and lehet


This paper introduces two grammaticalization processes that are underway in present-day Hungarian: the reinterpretation of lehet ‘it may be’ as a sentence adverbial (‘maybe’), and the reanalysis of lévén ‘being, having been’ as a conjunction of cause (‘given that’). Apart from going on simultaneously, the two changes are also related to one another by the fact that the deletability of the conjunction hogy ‘that’ has a key role in both of them. Therefore, the latter point is dealt with more in detail, introducing the historical background of hogy, too. On the other hand, the two changes are argued to exhibit important differences as well. The grammaticalization of lehet fits in with the range of grammaticalization processes involving the elimination of a clause, yielding a number of conjunctions and modifiers in Hungarian, too. By contrast, the case of lévén raises a number of problems. For instance, it is debatable whether its sole source should be taken to be the construction lévén, hogy ‘it being [the case] that’, or other input constructions are also conceivable. Furthermore, the issue of where the fixed causal meaning of the conjunction lévén comes from also awaits explanation. In sum, the reinterpretation of lévén cannot be seen as a typical instance of grammaticalization processes involving the elimination of a clause.

Keywords: reanalysis, conjunction, sentence adverbial, grammaticalization resulting in clause


Gugán Katalin

MTA Nyelvtudományi Intézet


On the relation of adverbial participles and finite verbs

in testimonies of witchcraft trials


This paper studies the relationship between adverbial participles in -ván/-vén and finite verbs on the basis of testimonies in 18th-century witch trials. That relationship, in historical texts, can be interpreted as a kind of structural synonymy. In the texts studied, adverbial participles occur in a syntactic role corresponding to that of verbal predicates. Synonymy is demonstrated in portions of texts where the same event is mentioned in the testimonies of two different witnesses but it is syntactically constructed in two different manners. Functional similarities and differences of these participial and verbal constructions are discussed with respect to compression and elaboration of content, and in terms of the kind of attention direction and event coupling involved.

Keywords: adverbial participles, predicative function, structural synonymy.

Varga Mónika

ELTE Nyelvtudományi Doktori Iskola