SENTENCE TYPES AND SENTENCE MODALITIES IN GERMAN AND HUNGARIAN
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This paper summarises the major results of a research project carried out at the Institute of German Studies of Lorand Eotvos University in 2002-2004. The aim of the project was a contrastive study of the systems of sentence types and the means of expressing sentence modality in German and Hungarian. The research focused on some interrogative and imperative sentence types. Comparing the sentence types of the two languages, the author formulates a general organising principle, that of minimal marking, a version of the universal principle of linguistic economy actualised to sentence types. According to the principle of minimal marking, each sentence type is identified by the possible minimum of syntactic features. This accounts for certain similarities between the two languages like falling intonation at the end of wh-questions. Obviously, there are also numerous differences between German and Hungarian in the syntactic marking of the various sentence types; the author attempts to derive those differences from the diverse typological characteristics of the two languages.
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