Variation in the possessive allomorphy of Hungarian

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Hungarian possessive allomorphy, and, in particular, the third person singular possessive (<sc>poss</sc>3<sc>sg</sc>), is a complex pattern influenced by phonological, morphological, and lexical factors. The most intricate one is phonological conditioning: while possessive suffixation shows categorical behavior in certain environments, it is subject to extensive variation in others. This paper looks at possessive variation in the 3<sc>sg</sc> and tries to account for its patterning, especially with stems ending in a consonant that is neither palatal nor sibilant, where variation is the most complex. We argue that the observed variation can be understood if one assumes that this particular function is formally underdetermined, and therefore is affected by a variety of influences, including the behavior of similar items in the language user&#8217;s lexicon.


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