Print

Print


> How in the world do you analyze phrases like "something to do," "a
> place to live," "someone to love?"
>
> It looks like an English infinitive is following these nouns, but the
> exact nature of the relationship is a little confusing to me.  Clearly
> the "to X" phrase modifies the noun.  There's sometimes a hint of
> obligation in these phrases, sometimes suitability.
>
> How do other languages handle this?
>

Well I think I'm up to this with Hungarian. I will take each of your
examples separately, as each of them is treated differently in Hungarian.

"Something to do".

If we mean this in the sense of "I have something to do", one would say

van    csina'lnivalo'm
is    "thing-to-be-done"-1sgPx

If we mean "I have to find something to do", we'd say

tala'lnom       kell valamit       csina'lni
find-INF-1sgPx  must something-ACC do-INF       (INF = Infinitive)


"A place to live" is represented simply as "lako'hely" - "living-place"


"Someone to love" is again more complex. If we mean "I have someone to
love", we would say:

Van akit    szeressek
Is  who-REL love-1sg CONDITIONAL-POSSIBLE DEFINITE

If we mean "I have to find someone to love", the structure of the sentence
would be identical to the sentence presented above for "I have to find
something to do":

Tala'lnom kell valakit     szeretni
               someone-ACC love-INF

but, if we want to say "I need someone to love", we'd say,

kell valaki  akit        szerethetek
must someone who-REL-ACC love-1sg-CONDITIONAL-POSSIBLE INDEFINITE.

There are probably other ways of expressing it too, but these would be the
commonest.

---ferko