Polarity particles in Hungarian

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This paper proposes an account of the distribution and role of a set of particles in Hungarian dubbed `polarity particles&#8217;, which include <i>igen</i> `yes&#8217;, <i>nem</i> `no&#8217;, and <i>de</i> `but&#8217;. These particles occur at the leftmost edge of a class of assertions uttered as reactions to an immediately preceding assertion or polar question. It is argued that they express two sets of features typical of the class of reactive assertions they occur in, one set encoding the polarity of the asserted sentence, and the other encoding the relation of the asserted sentence to the immediately preceding utterance. The discussion is set against an explicit approach to context structure and to assertive and polar questioning speech acts that draws on a number of pre-existing proposals in the literature.


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