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Telicity marking in Hungarian


Éva Kardos

University of Debrecen, HU
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This paper explores the encoding of telicity in Hungarian. While proposing a mereological, scalar semantic analysis, it shows that Hungarian uses a telicity-marking strategy in which it contrasts with English, where telicity is not the direct consequence of an overt marker but arises as a cumulative effect of specific, well-definable properties of various components of verbal predicates including the head verb and its argument(s). A major contribution of the analysis, which mainly addresses telicity marking in the class of non-creation/non-consumption predicates in neutral sentences, lies in the fact that it reveals important cross-linguistic differences with respect to the aspectual role of verbal particles and resultative/locative expressions and the referential properties of telic verbal predicates. As for the former, it is demonstrated that Hungarian verbal particles and resultative/locative expressions mark telicity by directly placing bounds on events by virtue of serving an event maximalizing function, whereas the English counterparts of these elements do not have such direct event-bounding effects. As for the latter, it emerges that in Hungarian quantized reference is a necessary and sufficient condition for telicity in cases where in English it is only sufficient.

How to Cite: Kardos, É. (2016). Telicity marking in Hungarian. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 1(1), 41. DOI:
Published on 14 Oct 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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