ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Karácsony Fanni (Budapest)

nyomtatható változat

Karácsony Fanni (Budapest)

Affix and context - the parallel forms of Hungarian imperative in
second person singular


In Hungarian there are two allomorphs of the affix of imperative mood in second person singular: the shorter form which includes the bare mood marker only and the longer one, which consists of the mood marker and the personal suffix following it (e.g. várj : várjál). These two different forms have a contextual role, more exactly, they have different meaning shades. In contemporary spoken language the shorter variant represents a gentler, while the longer one a more forceful, categorical call; however, there also might be a peripheral use, with just the opposite meaning.
This duality of the forms from a geolinguistic point of view seems to be an internal development in Hungarian: neither in relative languages, nor in surrounding or contacting languages can analogue be found. Already in the earliest literary monuments of Hungarian appears the duality of the Sg2imp affix; and also in the first Hungarian grammars both of the forms are found. But grammars don’t mention any functional separation and, moreover, in conjugation paradigms they seem to use the shorter and longer affix desultorily. Later, in the grammar of Ferenc Verseghy, 1821, the two different forms’ conjugation method is described in detail, but even there we find no definition of their usage. Today’s language-historical works rarely deal with the development of these allomorphs, and describing grammars give an explanation of the duality rarely, too.
In my presentation I examine the history of the connection of affix and context, as well as the different meaning shades connected with the allomorphs, in their usage in standard and some social dialects. I present the results of the examination by statistic analysis of data collected by questionnaire.


Language of the presentation: Hungarian