János olvasta a könyvet

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Nino83

Senior Member
Italian
Hello everybody.
I read on a book that in Hungarian is possible to make left dislocation with a coreferential pronominal, like in this example.

János olvasta a könyvet. > A könyvet azt János olvast.
John read the book. > The book, John read it.

I'd like to ask you if it's possible to topicalize, in Hungarian, the direct object, without coreferential pronouns.

A könyvet János olvast. A könyvet olvast János.
The/that book John read.

Thank you
 
  • Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Hello Nino83,

    I haven't found anything in the link you quoted (any page to look at in particular?) about "left dislocation with a coreferential pronominal", neither about the rest, so all I can do is go after your examples:
    János olvasta a könyvet. > A könyvet, azt János olvasta.
    John read the book. > The book, John read it.--> or ... was reading...
    and your version of topicalization (if that's the term) is possible and almost correct (I suppose it's just a copying error):
    A könyvet János olvasta. A könyvet olvasta János.
    The/that book John read.
    I don't know whether it is possible to express this fine play on the accents in English... I certainly couldn't without quite a bit of transormation. So it wouldn't be a literal translation, rather one that could render the accents better. Here are my attempts:
    First sentence: It was John who read (or was reading) that particular book.
    Second sentence: a) John was reading the book. (This is what he was doing -> though without enough accent on the book, in this version) b) It was the book that John was reading (and not anything else). The difference in the emphasis is expressed by the way of enouncing the sentence.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you very much Zsanna!
    Could you tell me which is the first sentence and the second ones, a) and b)?
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I referred to the quotation above it, so 1st sentence: A könyvet János olvasta. 2nd sentence: A könyvet olvasta János. The a) and b) referred to the translation possibilities I could propose for the 2nd sentence.
    (I made an effort with the translations to show the difference in the meaning because I suspect that my terminology - e.g. "accent", "emphasis" - is not the standard one, probably not the one you are thinking of and hoped I could make it clear by possible translations.)
     
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    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Your explanation is very clear. :thumbsup: :)
    So the sentences in the first quote are less "marked", isn't it?
    Thank you again.
     
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    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Do you mean the quote: "János olvasta a könyvet. / A könyvet, azt János olvasta."?
    Sorry, I don't really understand "less marked".
    Do you mean that there is less emphasis in them? If yes, I wouldn't say so. Only that the emphasis expressed in a different way, with different strength and "cleanliness". (You know the rough and ready rule: whatever is immediately before the verb is most emphasized, when there are two words before it, the one closer to it has more emphasis on it, the one further to the left has a bit less but it is still more emphasized than anything coming after the verb.)

    P.S. It is possible that the best way to illustrate all that would be to give a context to every sentence but even then the problem remains that in some cases there can be a difference in the interpretation according to the way the sentence is pronounced. But I'm sure you know that this is one of the most difficult aspects in Hungarian... as far as I can judge. (Sometimes even native speakers wouldn't agree on e.g. the context because the would say that in such a context "I would say it x way rather than y way". There are also some ways that are specially used e.g. in mathematics and not in normal everyday language.)
     
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    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    whatever is immediately before the verb is most emphasized, when there are two words before it, the one closer to it has more emphasis on it, the one further to the left has a bit less but it is still more emphasized than anything coming after the verb
    I had read this rule.
    Your confirmation is very helpful.
    It is a good rule of thumb.
    Thank you!
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    You are welcome.:) (However, I am not sure that I have really managed to grasp your original question...)
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I wanted to know if that word order (object verb subject, object subject verb) was possible, correct and used and what was the difference between it and the other word orders.
    I can say that the answer was good. :thumbsup:
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    My 2 cents, maybe nothing new...

    In Hungarian the category of "left dislocation" doesn't make much sense, as the word order is (almost) free, thus

    János olvasta a könyvet.
    A könyvet János olvasta.
    János a könyvet olvasta.
    A könyvet olvasta János.


    are all equally "legal" and correct (even Olvasta János a könyvet is possible, though this word order is rather typical for a question). The difference is in the emphasis (which is hard to explain without any further context). In my opinion none of these sentences is "marked".

    Possible (approximative) interpretation of the mentioned sentences:

    János olvasta a könyvet - Giovanni leggeva il libro.
    János a könyvet olvasta - Giovanni stava leggendo il libro.
    A könyvet János olvasta - Il libro lo leggeva Giovanni.
    A könyvet olvasta János. - Giovanni leggeva il libro (e non qualcos' altro).
    A könyvet azt János olvasta - E' stato Giovanni (colui) che leggeva il libro


    (my usage of the Italian past tenses here is far not exact, it would depend on the concrete context ....)




     
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    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    János olvasta a könyvet - Giovanni leggeva il libro.
    János a könyvet olvasta - Giovanni stava leggendo il libro.
    A könyvet János olvasta - Il libro lo leggeva Giovanni.
    A könyvet olvasta János. - Giovanni leggeva il libro (e non qualcos' altro).
    A könyvet azt János olvasta - E' stato Giovanni (colui) che leggeva il libro
    Thank you very much, Francis.
    This confirms that the word before the verb is the most important/stressed.
    In my opinion none of these sentences is "marked".
    In fact in this map Hungarian is considered one of the few languages with no prevalent order.
    Thank you for the answer
     
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