Aspect in Hungarian is a functional-semantic category lacking a regularly expressed morphological opposition as its grammatical nucleus. Aspectual meanings are expressed by verbal prefixes, lexical means, word order, and pragmatic factors. Being an intermediate word class, verbal prefixes retain certain traces of their adverbial origin, in particular their possible separation from the verb stem. The specific feature of Hungarian perfectives is that their aspectual meaning, 'the indivisible totality of the action or process', additionally contains an evaluative component corresponding to an actual, socially valid 'ideal norm' of the action. The perfective meaning of prefixed verbs is marked, while verbs with prefixes in postverbal position are unmarked, i.e., they may have either perfective or imperfective meaning. There must be semantic concord between the evaluative seme of the perfective verb and its adverbial adjunct. The verb cannot be used in its marked perfective form if its adjunct or definite object is in focus position, because the prominence of the latter is inconsistent with the view of the action as an undivided whole.
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