Free Choice and Aspect in Hungarian

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The goal of this paper is to explore the interaction of verbal particles and FCIs in Hungarian. Our proposed solution is that sentences containing verbal particles and FCIs are interpreted as generics/habituals, where the FC-phrase (analyzed as a dependent indefinite) is bound (and thus, licensed) by a silent gen operator carried by the verbal particle. This proposal is supported by independent evidence (both from Hungarian and cross-linguistic) and fits into current theories FCIs, genericity and the quantificational force of verbal particles. Beside finding that verbal particles in Hungarian are capable of generic quantification, we also show that (1) genericity in Hungarian is primarily a pragmatic phenomenon and that (2) languages differ in terms of the formal semantics of individual-level predicates (presence/absence of inherent gen operator), and that the licensing of FCIs can be used as a diagnostic tool for this. Our paper also sheds light on the conundrum why FCIs are straightforwardly licensed in generics in many languages (e.g. English) but not in Hungarian. Our results also lend considerable further empirical support to the dependent indefinite analysis of FCIs.


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