Communication and identification

The literature on linguistic communication employs a lot of proper names for exemplification but does not as a rule discuss their role in the course of communication. The reason is that there are essential differences between communication and identification. Simple identification takes place via the senses (in terms of smell, taste, sound, or sight) and is based on a biological en-dowment. Human identification, in turn, takes place in terms of linguistic signs, in particular, proper names, but these have no communicative value in themselves (as in introducing someone or in a list of names). Proper names gain a communicative role when they appear as nouns inserted into sentences. The role of proper names in thinking can be explored with the help of recent results in brain research. It has been established that speaking and the knowledge of names are located in two different areas of the brain. Proper names are pieces of knowledge stored in an invariable shape and are not found in the brain where common lexical knowledge is stored; indeed, they can be retrieved in a different manner, too. The brain stores the same pieces of knowledge at several different places but with diverse degrees of imprinting. The degree of memorisation of proper names is shallower than that of common words; the former are easier to forget than the latter. The topic requires further research before our knowledge of it can be claimed to be definitive.

Mihály Hajdú

Interaction between linguistic levels in causation:
What do alternative case-endings mean?

It has been commonly observed in cross-linguistic studies that a semantic difference usually correlates with the alternative case-marking patterns of the causee argument in causative constructions. This paper aims to prove Robert Hetzron’s parallel findings concerning the derivation of Hungarian intransitives by taking examples from written texts and classifying a large set of verbs. The analysis shows that current theoretical/descriptive accounts should be complemented with the consideration of instruction giving vs. coercion. In this way, the meaning of the causative construction can be seen to have three distinct components involving the meaning of the base sentence, the abstract meaning of the causative morpheme -tAt, and a default inference or, technically speaking, generalized conversational implicature linked with the two possible case-markers (accusative and instrumental) in which the presumptive degree of control retained by the causee is conveyed — but the third layer appears only when the base verb is intransitive. The author’s main conclusion is that causatives in Hungarian require a complex approach combining not only morphology and syntax but semantics (and pragmatics) as well.

Attila László Nemesi

Errors and idiosyncrasies in definiteness agreement

Endre Rácz, former Professor of Hungarian Linguistics at Budapest University, a charac-teristic representative of the renewal of classical grammar, an outstanding researcher of the issue of various types of agreement, would have turned eighty in the summer of 2002. This paper, the written version of a talk given at a recent meeting of the Society of Hungarian Linguistics, is a tribute to his memory. The author presents a collection of errors and idiosyncracies, mainly as-sembled from newspaper articles published between 1993 and 2001, concerning definiteness agreement between verbs and their third-person objects.

László Horváth

Ferenc Verseghy’s Ungarische Sprachlehre — 185 years later

Ferenc Verseghy’s textbook, published in 1817, must have failed so far to command the attention it deserves because bibliographies, quite erroneously, listed it as the second edition of his earlier grammar entitled Neuverfasste Ungarische Sprachlehre. This paper assigns that book its proper place among Verseghy’s textbooks. Breaking with the prevailing practice of writing gram­mars in Latin, Verseghy presents the main rules of Hungarian grammar in a living intermediary language, German (that is, he simultaneouly provides what is called „pedagogical grammar” in terms of applied linguistics). The book contains new features especially in its practical parts, the dialogues exemplifying various topics. Of these, the most interesting text is the fourth one, inwhich Verseghy, an inhabitant of the city of Buda (he lived in the Víziváros for decades) intro-duces the Castle District and its environment to his learners as if on a guided tour — in other words, he teaches „civilisation” in addition to grammar. On account of its originality, this text is of interest not only in terms of the history of language teaching but also with respect to local history and historical linguistics.

Zoltán Éder

Karold, Doboka, Keán and other similar names

The paper polemises with recent hypotheses put forward by István Bóna, Katalin Fehértói, and especially Loránd Benkő, according to which a number of historical figures of the turn of the tenth and eleventh centuries in Transylvania (Caroldu, Dobuca, Kean, Kulan, Beliud, Zoltan) are fictitious persons made up by various chroniclers, and the names Procui (for Gyula), Waic (for St. Stephen), and Beleknegini (for Sarolt) cannot be taken to be forms in actual use at the time. The author characterises that view as overly critical or radical, and commits himself to the alternative claim that these persons and name forms are historically authentic.

Gyula Kristó

Aspect in Polish and Hungarian: harmony and disharmony

This paper is a chapter from the author’s PhD thesis entitled „Aspect in Polish, German and Hungarian. The German and Hungarian functional equivalents of aspectual meanings in Polish”. This material has also been presented as a talk at a session of the Society of Hungarian Linguistics in May 2001. The article enumerates and discusses the means by the help of which Polish aspec-tual meanings can be expressed in Hungarian. They are the following: verbal prefixes, suffixes, syntactic constructions and paraphrases. The author comes to the conclusion that the expression of the aspectual meanings in Hungarian is not compulsory and the means serving for the expression of such meanings are not as systematic as they are in Polish.

Péter Pátrovics