Volume 30, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714


This paper argues that Hungarian underwent a word order change from SOV to Top Foc V X* prior to its documented history beginning in 1192. Proto-Hungarian SOV is reconstructed primarily on the basis of shared constructions of archaic Old Hungarian, and Khanty and Mansi, the sister languages of Hungarian. The most likely scenario of the change from head-final to head-initial was the spreading of right dislocation, and the reanalysis of right dislocated elements by new generations of speakers as arguments in situ. In Hungarian — as opposed to Khanty and Mansi — right dislocation was facilitated by the extension of differential object marking to all direct objects. The change in basic word order initiated the restructuring of other parts of Hungarian grammar as well, which is a still ongoing process.

[As of June 2015, this article is available as Open Access under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 license.]


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): diachronic syntax; Khanty; Mansi; OV-VO change; right dislocation; Uralic
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