ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Németh, Szilvia (Budapest)

nyomtatható változat

System of the main information structure coding strategies in the Northern Mansi

Linguistic structuring of the given and the new information is closely connected to pragmatics: information structure influences the grammar of the world’s languages to different extent. From this point of view, languages are located on a scale, which has topic-prominency at one end and subject-prominency at the other. In case of the former, sentence structuring is defined by the topic and the focus, while the latter is determined by grammatical information. As no pure subject- or topic-prominent language exists, linguistics differentiates between weak/strong topic- or subject-prominent languages.
Mansi, as other uralic languages, is a strongly topic-prominent language (Skribnik 2001: 222) therefore the understanding of the reality by the speaker (e.g. the role which is attributed to the participants of an event) strongly influences the selection of the syntactic structure. Mansi language has several syntactical structures that code the topic and the focus. The most well-known method is the objective conjugation (Skribnik 2001, Nikolaeva 2001), the passive (Kulonen  1989, Skribnik 2001), and the dative-shifting (Skribnik 2001). All of them serves the expression of the topic but in the Northern Mansi (according to my corpus-based analysis) we can also discover the morphological focus marker in Gundel’s terminology (so there is the particle-type morpheme whose function is to mark the focus) (Gundel 1988: 216). In my presentation I am explaining the rules and functions of the particles which point on the focus (ti, ta); moreover I am talking about their place in the information structure coding strategies of the focus and the relationships of the strategies.


Gundel, Jeanette K. 1988. Universals of Topic-omment Structure. In: Michael Hammond – Edith Moravcsik – Jessia Wirth szerk. Studies in Syntactic Typology, Amsterdam – Philadelphia. 209–242.
Kulonen, Ulla-Maja. 1989. The Passive in Ob-ugrian. Helsinki.
Nikolaeva, Irina. 2001. Analyze der objektiven Konjugation im Ob-Ugrischen. In: Congressus Nonus Internationalis Fenno-ugristarum 7. – 13. 8. 2000. Tartu. Pars VI. Tartu. 454–472.
Skribnik, Jelena 2001. Pragmatic structuring in Northern Mansi. In: Congressus Nonus Internationalis Fenno-ugristarum 7. – 13. 8. 2000. Tartu. Pars VI, Tartu. 222–239.

Language of the presentation: Hungarian.