On alternating priorities in the subject - predicate relationship
There are many ways in which sentences can be analysed. The author proposes five points of view (logical, semantic, grammatical, structural, and informational) for the analysis of predication and of sentences. (1) From an Aristotelian logical point of view, the sentence is divided into two main, coequal parts: subject and predicate. Further (secondary) parts of the sentence are within the scope of either the subject or the predicate: All good things | must come to an end. Betegsége miatt az iskolából sokat hiányzó Péter 'helyzete' | az érettségi elott 'nehéz' 'Peter having missed a lot of his classes due to his illness, his situation | is difficult before the final exam'. (Cf. aliquid - stat pro - aliquo 'something is said about something'). In a formal logical analysis (based on Frege's mathematical logic), a verbal predicate (having function R) takes priority over the subject and the other arguments: a R b c d. This paper argues against the priority of the predicate over the subject. The scope of the predicate does not extend to the modifiers or specifiers of the subject. - (2) From a semantic point of view, the subject is the nucleus of the sentence, because the majority of nouns are autonomous words, realising their referential meaning in a subject function and semantically controlling the whole sentence. - (3) From a grammatical point of view, the subject has priority over the predicate which must agree with its subject. - (4) From a structural point of view, the predicate governs its arguments in the structural tree of the sentence. - (5) With respect to an informational characterisation of the sentence, the predicate takes priority over all other constituents of the sentence since the informationally most prominent part of the rheme (or comment) usually precedes the predicate in Hungarian.
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