Reconstructing the decoupling of case and agreement in Old Hungarian: Evidence from epithets and names as syntactic fossils
Tamás Halm
April 2024

The interdependence of accusative case and object agreement has changed dramatically during the history of Ugric languages. While Proto-Ugric exhibited full interdependence (mediated by topicality), this connection has loosened in the extant Ob-Ugric languages (Mansi and Khanty) and it is severed completely in Late to Modern Hungarian. In this paper, I introduce new, hitherto unreported empirical evidence (from nicknames and family names that preserve archaic syntactic features) for an intermediate stage of Early Old Hungarian (which predates our earliest written records) where case assignment was still a function of topicality but object agreement was already a function of definiteness. In addition to providing insight into an unrecorded stage of Hungarian, my findings also contribute to a more thorough understanding of the connection between case, agreement and information structure in Ugric and beyond. [This is actually a revised version of a manuscript already on LingBuzz titled "Vegans, teetotalers, and the decoupling of case and agreement in Old Hungarian". However, since titles cannot be edited, I needed to create a brand new submission instead of just uploading a revision.]
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007466
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Diachronica
keywords: case, agreement, information structure, topic, old hungarian, historical syntax, diachrony, syntax, morphology, syntax
previous versions: v2 [January 2024]
v1 [August 2023]
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