In Hungarian, as in other languages, simple verbs are often replaced by analytical constructions using a deverbal noun derived from a simple verb and a semantically depleted 'delexical' verb. Traditional language cultivation holds that such constructions are alien to the spirit of the language: they come from other languages through translation. It is also claimed that analytical constructions are more difficult to comprehend than simple verbs, and are only used by people who are lazy to think and talk straight. However, the Handbook of Language Cultivation concedes that some analytical constructions are acceptable, some have no single-verb alternatives, and some 'sound' downright good. From a descriptive point of view we wish to raise two related questions. Can the opinions described above be supported by more than subjective judgement? Can it be shown by quantitative analysis that translations, indeed, are responsible for the infiltration of analytical constructions? Second, can it be supported by psycholinguistic evidence that the constructions ostracized by purists do indeed interfere with comprehension, while those labelled as acceptable or recommended do not? What is the cause of the proliferation of analytical constructions in certain texts and situations, apart from the traditional explanation that people are lazy to talk straight? The paper reports on two studies. The first study does not find evidence that translated texts contain more analytical constructions than original Hungarian texts. The second study, aimed at exploring the processing of analytical constructions vs. simple verbs finds that analytical constructions marked as unacceptable by language cultivation are indeed more difficult to process than simple verbs.
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