This paper surveys possible means of expressing 'the lack of something'. Various solutions are available for that purpose (using an independent word, circumscription, derived adjectives, postpositional adjectives, anterior or posterior constituents of compounds, as well as adjectives with derivational suffix-like posterior constituents). Of these, a detailed description is given of the meanings and mutual relationships of words involving the denominal privative suffix '–talan /-telen' (-less), the derivational suffix-like posterior constituent '-mentes' (-free), the postpositional adjective 'nélküli' (without), or the posterior compound constituent '-szegény' (poor in). For determining the meanings and semantic relations of various realisations expressing the lack of something, the author employs a method of categorisation based on the notion of prototype as in cognitive semantics in order to find out whether these data can be appropriately explored within the theoretical framework chosen.
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