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Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax$
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Eric Mathieu and Robert Truswell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198747840.001.0001

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The rise and fall of Hungarian complex tenses

The rise and fall of Hungarian complex tenses

(p.61) 5 The rise and fall of Hungarian complex tenses
Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax

Katalin É. Kiss

Oxford University Press

This chapter reconstructs how and why complex tenses appeared in Hungarian grammar in the late Proto-Hungarian period, and how and why they disappeared 1000 years later. It claims that the evolution of complex tenses started with a micro-change: the reanalysis of the feature content of a verbal suffix. This step initiated further processes of reanalysis, analogical extension, and abstraction, as a consequence of which the tense system inherited from Uralic, distinguishing only past and nonpast, developed into a complex system marking both tense and viewpoint aspect. The chapter argues that both the appearance of complex tenses, and their disappearance, i.e., the replacement of morphological viewpoint aspect marking by situation aspect marking via verbal particles, was triggered by language contact. In both cases, a translinguistic reanalysis took place: Hungarian speakers assigned to the Hungarian construction the structural–functional properties of the construction of the contact language.

Keywords:   complex tenses, Proto-Hungarian, Old Turkic, contact-induced change, verbal particles, situation aspect

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