-nak/-nek in multiple possessives

Lazar_Bgd

Member
Serbian - Serbia
Dear all,

There’s this sentence in the media that reads as follows:

Az Európai Unió "nagyon egységes" az izraeli-palesztin konfliktus elmélyülésének megítélése ügyében, ezt mutatja, hogy...

I am confused regarding the place of -nek in the chain of possessives above. Shouldn’t it be attached to the last possessor (and with the definite article)? Something like this:

...konfliktus elmélyülése megítélésének (az) ügyében... ?

Or perhaps the case in point isn’t really the type of structure I think it is...?
 
  • Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Hello Lazar_Bgd,

    You have found (again) a sensitive point in our language. ;)

    The general rule would require what you suggest: when there are two or more possessors, the last should have the suffix -nak/-nek.
    However, the quoted sentence sounds good to me as it is (in fact, it sounds even better compared to the version that follows the rule: "...elmélyülése megítélésének...").
    I haven't found any grammatical explanation for it, only that it sounds more "distinguished" ("választékos" in Hungarian). See for instance in this link. I am afraid, that is all...
     

    Lazar_Bgd

    Member
    Serbian - Serbia
    Dear Zsanna,

    I see. Good, thank you for the clarification! I'm used to coming across exceptions to the rules I've learned so far, there will be probably some more to come :)
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    ...konfliktus elmélyülése megítélésének (az) ügyében... ?
    I think your version is perfect, as well.

    In my opinion, from the mere grammatical point of view, we have two "extreme" solutions:
    A) using -nak/-nek (and the definite article) in all cases: ... konfliktusnak az elmélyülésének a megítélésének az ügyében ....
    B) omiting -nak/-nek in all cases: ... konfliktus elmélyülése megítélése ügyében ...

    Essentially, -nak/-nek is used for emphasizing the possessor (or perhaps both the possessor and the object). In case of concatenation of possessors, like in your example, for sake of better understanding and also for stylistic reasons, rather the combination of both the grammatical possibilities is used.

    (I am not able to say, whether this -nak/-nek should be "better" to attach to the last possessor or not ....)

    P.S. From the linguistic point of view, -nak/-nek in the discussed situation is a "pseudo-genitive case", as -nak/-nek is de facto dative.
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Francis, I suppose you mean that the "two extreme solutions" are merely theoretical because neither examples above (A or B) seem really possible in use to me. (The A because it is not usual to repeat the same suffix within the same construction and the B because if you miss out the required suffix, the sentence becomes either ambiguous, misleading or incomprehensible.)

    No matter how complicated the question can turn out to be there is surely one rule: if there are several (= more than one) possessors, the last should have the suffix -nak/-nek in such a construction.
    I wouldn't say that its role is to emphasize the possessor, unless in the sense that it allows the listener/reader to identify it and therefore make the understanding of the message possible or easier. (More and some interesting points here.)

    P.S. It is possibly OT here whether the -nak/-nek is considered de facto dative or not. (In any case, linguists still debate about it.)
     
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    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Francis, I suppose you mean that the "two extreme solutions" are merely theoretical
    Yes.
    .... neither examples above (A or B) seem really possible in use to me. (The A because it is not usual to repeat the same suffix within the same construction and the B because if you miss out the required suffix, the sentence becomes either ambiguous, misleading or incomprehensible.)
    I agree, of course. None of the "two extreme solutions" are natural or idiomatic in the given example.

    P.S. It is possibly OT here whether the -nak/-nek is considered de facto dative or not. (In any case, linguists still debate about it.)
    Maybe I am wrong, but according to my knowledges, I still have the opinion that -nak/-nek de facto represents or expresses the dative case, taking in consideration the usual definitions of the grammatical cases. (It's another question, if the grammatical terminology commonly used today is the best one to fit both the Indo-European and the Uralic languages .....)
     
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    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Maybe I am wrong, but according to my knowledges, I still have the opinion that -nak/-nek de facto represents or expresses the dative case, taking in consideration the usual definitions of the grammatical cases. (It's another question, if the grammatical terminology commonly used today is the best one to fit both the Indo-European and the Uralic languages .....)
    As it is not decided, nobody could say which is right or wrong but I don't see in what way it could help to answer the original question. However, it leads back to the origins of the construction itself so it could be a topic of interest from a linguistic point of view. ;)
     

    Lazar_Bgd

    Member
    Serbian - Serbia
    I think I’ve cracked the code of when the ’-nak/-nek’ shifts ahead in this type of constructions! 😊 I attach here the snapshot from the book ’A Practical Hungarian Grammar’ by László Keresztes issued by the Debreceni Nyári Egyetem. In the last para they say this happens in cases when the last thing ’possessed’ is a postposition (words like: következtében, részére, számára, révén, útján, folyamán etc.). And actually it makes sense given that those words, even though in the genitive case, are not a possession strictly speaking.
     
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    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Moderator's note: Sorry, I had to remove your attachement because it was much longer than permitted. (4 lines)

    I don't quite understand in what way it solves your question but all the better if it does.
     
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