Research Professor at the Department of English Linguistics of the School of English and American Studies at Eötvös Loránd University

Senior Researcher at the Hungarian Research Centre for Linguistics in Budapest


instructional material

Foundations of Linguistics slide shows

2020 Debrecen University lectures on argument structure and argument-structure alternations

forthcoming papers and recent unpublished manuscripts

With particular reference to “unusual subject” configurations (incl. copular inversion, locative inversion, and “there”-sentences), this paper presents novel support for the hypothesis that, in order to license VP ellipsis, T must enter into a Spec-Head agreement relationship with the phrase in its specifier, and must be in a c-command relationship with a local v head that has a [tense] value.

Prepared for the 2020 Dongguk Occasional Workshop on Mismatches in Ellipsis, this paper is about a wide range of voice and argument structure mismatches in ellipsis constructions. It also mobilises the analysis of these mismatches and their distribution as a diagnostic for the existence of ellipsis and voice alternations in controversial domains (gapping, stripping, “passive nominals”, “infinitival passives”).

This paper unfolds an outlook on the syntax of information structure according to which topichood, focushood and contrast are all defined with reference to the nature and position of the gap linked to the fronted constituent rather than (the position of) the fronted element itself. Caveat lector: The notes contained herein are intended as a position statement and discussion piece, programmatic in nature.

In this paper, constructions that blend syntactic properties of unaccusativity and transitivity are given a close look. The empirical focus of this paper is on Dutch.

This paper examines two structural representations for the ‘Theme-of’ relation from the perspective of a restriction on secondary predication with positional verbs.

Promoting the hypothesis that “inflected how” in Bantu questions represents a clause of its own paratactically associated with the main proposition, this paper provides a simple and empirically effective alternative to a recent analysis presented in work by Carstens & Diercks.

A two-page conference abstract for this paper is all that is downloadable for now; the full paper will be posted as soon as it is available.

A two-page conference abstract for this paper is all that is downloadable for now; the full paper will be posted as soon as it is available.

The principal objective of this paper is to establish a direct relationship between the structural height of the base position of the applied argument and the case patterns observed in applicative constructions, with particular reference to applicatives of unaccusatives. The paper achieves this through an approach exploiting dependent case, with the domains relevant for dependent case assignment being identified as phases. [Accepted for publication in Linguistic Inquiry.]

This paper focuses on Hungarian -tak-ik constructions, which combine causative and mediopassive morphology, and are functionally equivalent to periphrastic passives of the English type. A companion piece to this is the paper on ordinals, reflexives and medio-passives.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a unified analysis of the various uses of the Hungarian morpheme -ik.

The syntactic representation of case and number morphology is exploited here to provide an analysis for the morpheme ordering effects found in Mari case-inflected possessive noun phrases. This is a companion piece to Den Dikken & Dékány’s (2018) “Adpositions and case: Alternative realisation and concord”, which is focused on Estonian.

published papers


This paper (a) pinpoints the location of the low VP-external position for objects, (b) specifies the connection between occupancy of this position, the presence of differential object marking, the semantics of specificity/genericity, and the syntax of secondary predication, (c) explains why differential object markers are absent in passives, and (d) derives a link between the status of the differential object marker as a preposition or as inflectional material and the distribution of object agreement in DOM constructions.

In this paper, the theory of predication advanced in Den Dikken (2006), Relators and Linkers, is applied to the active/passive alternation, and shown to have a variety of beneficial consequences.

The purpose of this programmatic piece is to explore the benefits of using the same representational system in morphosyntax and all levels of phonological analysis, including phonological structure above the syllable, the internal organization of the syllable, and the structure of segments. The central tenet of the approach is the generalization of complementation, specification, adjunction and conjunction relations from syntax to phonological structure. Recursive X-bar-theoretic structures are employed in phonology in the representation of geometrical relations of all kinds (both segmental and suprasegmental). A special role in the phonosyntax of the syllable/foot is played by the phonological counterpart to the ‘light v’ of syntactic structures. [NB: The file downloadable here is the pre-publication version, with some author corrections marked in it.]

Starting out from a Roberts’ “defective goal” proposal for object cliticisation and noun incorporation, this paper recasts Mithun’s (1984) typology of noun-incorporation in the form of an explanatory account of this typology in which Roberts’ analysis, with the aid of two other microparameters: the locus (v or V) and size (n or D) of the incorporated nominal element.


This paper argues for a unified perspective on constituent negation and sentential negation as involving a projection of the functional head Neg, with languages differing with regard to the position occupied by the negation particle: the Neg-head position or SpecNegP. Sentential negation features an abstract negation operator (¬), with scope over the entire proposition (except illocutionary force). Constituent negation involves occurrences of NegP not paired with the abstract negation operator. [NB: The file downloadable here is the uncorrected pre-publication version.]

This paper presents a syntactic representation for person that, in conjunction with the workings of agreement and concord, accommodates the generalisation that whenever agreement with the finite verb is controlled by a constituent that is not in a Spec–Head relation with the inflectional head of the clause, this agreement cannot affect person, deriving Baker’s Structural Condition on Person Agreement. The paper places its findings on person vs. number agreement in the context of recent psycho- and neuro-linguistic investigation of number/person dissociation.

This short paper focuses on the peculiar AcI-infinitival construction exemplified by the question in the title. It shows that the infinitival clause is a fully clausal complement of rather, capable of harbouring sentential negation and constituting a local binding domain for its subject, whose accusative is not an assigned case.


This piece is a companion to Den Dikken (2017), “Predication in the syntax of hyperraising and copy raising”.

[NB: The file downloadable here is the pre-publication version, with some author corrections marked.]




some older papers (published and unpublished)

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