Problems in the Left Periphery of Hungarian Non

Problems in the left periphery of Hungarian non-finite clauses
Krisztina Szécsényi
ELTE Budapest, Hungary
Hungarian is a discourse-configurational language, where we find a strict order of Topic,
Quantifier and Focus Phrases in the left periphery. In this language nonfinite structures are
also full clauses: they have TopP and FP slots in the left periphery where arguments of the
nonfinite verb can land.
However, in certain infinitival clauses it seems that QP can precede TopP, moreover,
when a focused constituent is present in the main clause, even the external argument of the
main verb can appear among the arguments of the infinitival verb:
The main questions I attempt to answer in my talk are the following:
(a) Are we dealing with monoclausal or biclausal structures in the problematic sentences
above? I argue that - though the phenomena under discussion pattern following the scrambling analysis of É. Kiss (2003), an analysis along Hinterhoelzl (1999) is more tenable, which
accounts for monoclausal properties of basically biclausal structures assuming full CP projections in both the main and the embedded clauses. Monoclausal properties are the result of
T-to-T movement. The analysis correctly predicts phenomena connected to scope and the order of adverbials, and the dual nature of the problematic sentences (sometimes monoclausal
sometimes biclausal, depending on structure) is also more easily accounted for.
(b) Is it possible - in contrast with accepted wisdom which treats Hungarian a VO language - to analyze Hungarian as an OV language (as suggested by several parallels with
German and Dutch scrambling and topicalization structures, and also proposed by Ackema
(2004) to explain the phenomenon called ’Hungarian preverb climbing’)? I also point out
some problems Haider 2004 faces in his discussion of the Egde effect.
Ackema, Peter. 2004. Do preverbs climb? In K. É. Kiss - H. van Riemsdijk (eds.): Verb Clusters in West Germanic and Hungarian: A Sprachbund?
É. Kiss Katalin. 2003. Argument Scrambling, Operator Movement, and Topic Movement in Hungarian. In Simin Karimi (ed.) Word Order and Scrambling. Blackwell, London. 22-43.
Haider, Hubert. 2004. Pre-and postverbal adverbials in OV and VO. Lingua 114, 779-807.
Hinterhoelzl, Roland 1999. Restructuring Infinitives and the Theory of Complementation. PhD dissertation,
University of Southern California.
Kenesei, István 2002. Arguments in Hungarian Nonfinite Constructions. Presented in Leiden.
Tóth, Ildikó. 2000. Inflected Infinitives in Hungarian. PhD dissertation. Tilburg University, Tilburg.
Wurmbrand, Suzanne. 2001. Infinitives. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin - New York