On the etymological dictionary of the Hungarians

It was in 1992—1994 that the dictionary entitled “Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Ungarischen” (EWUng. I—II., Editor-in-chief: Loránd Benkő) was published in Budapest. It was a revised and enlarged version of “A magyar nyelv történeti-etimológiai szótára” (TESz. I—IV. 1967—1984), made accessible for the international linguistic community in that it was written in a language spoken all over the world. Among other things, that dictionary makes it possible for us to study language contacts in an up-to-date manner. As is well known, the influence of Turkish played an important role in various periods of the history of Hungarian. In the present paper (that was first published in Turkish, in the journal Türk Dili [The Turkish Language] in Ankara), the author submits the entries of Turkish loanwords to be found in the dictionary to critical evaluation and confronts their data and conclusions with the most recent results of Turkology. He claims that the dictionary is of high standard and a model to be followed by Turkish linguists; however, he also makes a number of additional points on the basis of his own research.

Hasan Eren


On paracomparative word and language derivation

The term ‘paracomparative’ refers to a most general concept of what is not correct or not generally accepted by present-day Finno-Ugrian comparative linguistics. Paracomparative views in language comparisons lasted until around the slow and gradual formation of an etymological “norm”; say, roughly to the end of the 18th century; but even after that, paracomparative analysis did not give up being exercised though it got somewhat modified. To be sure, linguistic historiographers cannot agree on when exactly the real scientific phase of the foundation of the norm set in.

Owing to the very unfortunate circumstances of Hungarian history from the 16th century on, comparative linguistics in this country was lagging behind Western developments. As a conse-quence, Hungarian comparative ideas were influenced overwhelmingly by Western scholars, especially during the 19th century. It is surprising but true that more than 200 languages were — directly or indirectly — compared to Hungarian, ranging from Hebrew, Sumerian, Tupi, etc., to Japanese, Basque, etc., so Hungarian appears to be one of the most widely used languages in comparisons.

The focal point is the deep-going contrast between inflectional (Indo-European) and agglutinative languages (as Hungarian is). The core of the problem in the field of agglutination was that it presented itself as a homogeneous linguistic feature and the large majority of linguists failed to reveal its multicoloured individual aspects. The first linguist in Europe to recognise — totally unnoticed, though — the agglutinative (“postpositional”) character of Hungarian happened to be a Hungarian grammarian, János Sylvester, in 1539.

Paracomparativism still lives on, backed mainly by old theories of some Western linguists in the 19th and partly the 20th centuries. The hidden background of the views of some present-day Hungarian paracomparativists is actually not real linguistic proofs but mere day-dreaming about the ancient history of our homeland and forefathers.

József Hegedűs


Adjective Phrases in Middle Hungarian texts

The volumes on Ancient and Old Hungarian of “A magyar nyelv történeti nyelvtana” [A historical grammar of Hungarian], presenting the changes of the system of the Hungarian language up to the first third of the 16th century, were published between 1991 and 1995. The present paper is a draft chapter of the next volume that will discuss the Middle Hungarian period (up to the last third of the 18th century). The material under investigation shows that adjectives were complemented in that period in a way similar to that of earlier phases of the history of the language: the manner in which complements were constructed was determined by the meaning of the head adjective. The changes with respect to the Old Hungarian period represented a lexical and semantic reorganisation of structural types that had emerged earlier. The relaxation of sentence structure resulted in an increase in the occurrence of adjective phrases. In addition to religious texts that had prevailed in the earlier period, lay terminology acquired an increasing significance. The changes of the word stock influenced the use of formal means of expression utilised in such phrases.

Antónia S. Hámori


Discord and reconciliation in the study of sound patterns

Ever since modern phonology first emerged, the two branches of what used to be a unitary study of the sound patterns of languages have followed divergent lines of development. This is so despite the fact that speakers utilise their phonetics and phonology simultaneously and jointly in each and every moment of their linguistic activity. The author illustrates that discordant state of the art by the succession of diverse notions of the phoneme to begin with. From the time of Baudouin de Courtenay, through the Moscow school of phonology, Chomsky and Halle’s theory, and autosegmental phonology, up to natural generative phonology, the gap between acoustic reality and underlying constructs kept becoming wider and wider. Phonological analysis has been reduced to a mere technical device while linguistic function, in particular, that of discriminating linguistic signs from one another, has been completely lost sight of. Autosegmental analyses are often characterised by a conspicuous degree of arbitrariness. Yet, the need for the reintegration of the two branches can now be seen in a number of respects. John Ohala pointed out that such reintegration was necessary as early as in the seventies, and argued on methodological grounds for what later became known as experimental phonology. The “schizophrenia” of phonetics and phonology is aggravated by the fact that, despite repeated attempts to the contrary, the unification of the segmental and suprasegmental planes, and their organically homogeneous exploration and description, have proved unsuccessful so far. At the end of his paper, the author sketches a new approach that is neither taxonomical nor process-oriented but rather one that makes it possible to conduct a procedurally based analysis. Such analysis would also create points of contact with historical phonology.

Tamás Szende


Metaphors in political news items of the printed media

Language is not only a means of familiarising ourselves with our physical environment but also a factor influencing social relationships. The discourse going on in a particular language community expresses the power relations, institutions, and values of that community. Introduced by a general discussion of linguistic ideation and metaphors, the paper explores the role metaphors play in political news items appearing in the printed press: in particular, it tries to answer the question of whether metaphors carry some additional meaning component that allows us to draw conclusions with respect to the attitude of the writer to the events described. The author presents a detailed analysis of the conceptual metaphors occurring in the articles of two daily papers and tries to find out how representatives of certain political trends see their own role and comment on the activity of others, how they relate to one another and the events. The results corroborate the hypothesis that metaphors represent matters and systematise them according to the writer’s way of looking at things, and that they transmit his/her emotional attitude and value judgements to the receiver.

Éva Jakusné Harnos


Hungarian-writing hands of the Gyöngyösi Codex

Gyöngyösi Codex is a manuscript document of miscellaneous contents, written in Hungarian and Latin in the early 1500s. The whole codex is the work of eight different scriptors; the Hungarian parts were produced by five different hands. The paper gives a short introduction to the contents and history of this codex that has hardly been studied so far, and characterises the activity and way of writing of the five scriptors who wrote (partly) in Hungarian. Then it turns to aspects of sound notation, orthography, text paragraphing techniques and the main characteristics of language use of those five hands. Sound-to-letter correspondences are summarised in tables; with respect to the two major hands, primary variants, secondary variants, and sporadic occurrences are shown separately.

Adrienne Dömötör

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