Adjectival sluices in Hungarian: An argument for isomorphic sources

Eszter Ronai*, Laura Stigliano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hungarian adjectival sluices show agreement characteristics of predicative adjectives, even though the correlate of the adjective is in attributive position. This has been taken as evidence for the existence of non-isomorphic (i.e. copular/cleft) sources for the ellipsis site. However, such an analysis could only capture the distribution of apparent case-mismatches by positing copular sources for a subset of Hungarian sluices—a conceptually unappealing state of affairs. Instead we provide a more parsimonious analysis, which predicts the data without needing to posit exceptional sources. In particular, we argue for the existence of two different configurations: (1) one involving isomorphic wh-sources followed by ellipsis, and (2) one that does not involve ellipsis at all, but is rather a case of pseudosluicing. Pseudosluicing is the combination of a null subject and a null copula—elements that are independently available in the language, and whose restricted distribution explains constraints we observe on the distribution of pseudosluicing. Thus, on our analysis, only isomorphic wh-questions are possible sources for Hungarian sluicing structures, consistent with the most restrictive theories of elliptical identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1210
Number of pages14
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Ellipsis
  • Hungarian
  • Sluicing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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