The Surányi lectures

CRISSP is happy to announce a three-day lecture series on the syntax of Hungarian.

Lecturer: Balázs Surányi (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

Title: The Flexibility of Syntax: An Interface Perspective (on Hungarian)

Date & time: 7-9 June 2010, 10.00-13.00

Location: CRISSP/Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Koningstraat 336, room 0.51

Participation: free


The Flexibility of Syntax: An Interface Perspective (on Hungarian)

Hungarian, a non-Indo-European discourse-configurational language that has been argued to ‘wear its LF on its sleeve’ has figured
prominently in the modern history of transformational generative grammar in a variety of domains. Data from Hungarian have been brought to bear on pivotal issues like the nature of (non-)configurationality (É. Kiss), the structure of the nominal phrase (Szabolcsi, den Dikken), the syntax of the scope of NPs (É. Kiss, Szabolcsi, Farkas and de Swart), the syntax and semantics of focus (Brody, É. Kiss, Szabolcsi, Horvath), thesyntax and semantics of wh-questions (Lipták, den Dikken), and more generally, the syntax and semantics of the left periphery of the clause (Puskas, Rizzi, Lipták), also including the syntax of sluicing (van Craenenbroeck and Lipták).

In these lectures I reappraise the outcomes of recent research in the following major areas of the syntax of Hungarian: the left periphery of the clause, quantifier scope, Negative Concord, focus and wh-questions, and time permitting, free word order and non-configurationality. The unifying theme framing our survey concerns the division of labour between narrow syntax internal properties and interface requirements. We seek to discover just how much of the burden of explanation can be shifted from the stipulation of a higly articulated, fixed hierarchical syntactic template of positions (the functional sequenceof the so-called cartographic approach) and the postulation of narrow syntactic agreement of abstract features (formal feature checking) to constraints imposed by the interface components and to particular interface properties of the key syntactic elements involved.


1. The left periphery: An overview
2. Quantifier scope
3. Negation and Negative Concord
4 & 5. Focus & Wh-questions
6. Non-configurationality: Base generation vs. movement