Contradiction and plausible inference in linguistics
Preliminaries to an investigation
of the argumentation structure of linguistic theories

This paper discusses the methodology of scientific inquiry and is a preliminary study written for a research project entitled “The empirical bases of theories of cognitive semantics”. It consists of two major parts (the second of which will be published in this year’s third issue of the present journal). The first section of Part One exposes the problem by drawing the reader’s attention to the relevance of the metatheories which linguistic theories implicitly presuppose. In the secondsection, some of the literature on plausible inference is briefly summarised, with special emphasis on the relationship between deduction and plausible inference, as well as on how inconsistency and plausibility are interconnected. Part Two is a case study containing a methodological analysis of W. U. Wurzel’s theory of affricates. Employing the concepts and methodological background assumptions introduced, the authors point out the internal contradictions of that theory and consider the possibility of resolving those contradictions by the use of plausible inferences. In the final section, general conclusions are drawn that go beyond the particular case study and concern basic mechanisms of theory construction in linguistics.

András Kertész — Csilla Rákosi

The revised edition of A Concise Dictionary of Hungarian

It was in the early nineties, right after the political changes in Hungary, that the pressing need for an up-to-date dictionary of Hungarian became evident. As a temporary solution, it was decided that the 1972 first edition of the Concise Dictionary of Hungarian should be revised and updated. The author of this paper surveys earlier and immediate predecessors of that dictionary, reviews the major innovations of the revised edition both in terms of content and methodology, presents a sample of the neologisms that appear in it in considerable numbers, and gives a detailed analysis of the various procedures of the revision process. It is demonstrated how certain obsolete ideological/political distortions found in the original entries have been replaced by objective, exact, and moderate wording in the revised ones. The author concludes that the revised edition is the dictionary of the recent period of “democratic transformation” that provides a solid foundation for a thoroughly modern comprehensive Hungarian dictionary of definitions, yet to be written.

Zoltán Éder

The linguistic situation in Switzerland,
with special regard to linguistic minorities

It has recently been suggested in many parts of the world that globalisation might endanger languages and cultures of smaller groups of people. This may primarily concern communities living in the territory of another nation, in a minority situation. Obviously, all minority groups have the right to preserve their mother tongue and the culture of their ancestors; but it is not at all easy to do so among the economic and social trends of recent decades. — Although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, it has been exposed to changes in the past few decades that affect its linguistic situation, too. Two of the four official languages listed in the 1996 constitution of Switzerland, German and French, have a leading role at present, too. On the other hand, the use of Italian is declining, and Romansh — despite efforts to the contrary and decisions that favour the community speaking it — is being supplanted. The increasing number of immigrants (e.g., Portuguese, Spaniards, Turks) makes many people suggest that Switzerland is not a quadrilingual but rather a multilingual country today, and the linguistic and educational policies of the country should promote the solution of linguistic and cultural problems of all minority groups. The centuries-old democratic traditions of Switzerland and the various earlier modifications of their language laws may serve as a firm foundation for that and as a model to be followed.

József Szabó

Relations between relations of coordination

The author investigates the relations that hold between the Hungarian conjunctions de ‘but’ vs. pedig ‘yet’ on the one hand, and tehát ‘hence’ vs. hiszen ‘since’ on the other hand, relying on evidence drawn from Hungarian texts. In order to analyse surface relations, he creates a theoretical framework on the basis of Grice’s conversational implicatures. (For details, see his The Place of Concession in Contrastive Structures. In: Sprachtheorie und germanistische Linguistik 13.2 (2003): 103—22.) The said framework treats de and pedig as constituting the main relation in a concept structure, while tehát and hiszen constitute sub-relations. The paper confirms the author’s working hypothesis that the constructs formed with the conjunctions of coordination at hand (de hisz ‘but then’, de hát ‘and yet’, pedig hát ‘even though’) can be derived from a single common concept structure.

Imre Békési

Gyula Krúdy — as seen by Sándor Márai

The author began his talk by admitting that his taking to Krúdy had in fact been inspired by Márai. Therefore, in this public lecture, he tried to present that curious personality of the history of Hungarian literature with the help of Márai’s essays and numerous remarks. Márai knew Krúdy’s life and work quite closely and how much he was attracted to him was demonstrated by a number of facts. He kept an eye on the publication or re-publication of each of Krúdy’s works and always wrote appreciative remarks on those occasions. The writer whose works Márai read the most frequently, apart from János Arany, was Krúdy, almost throughout his lifetime. If he was talking about the greatest figures of Hungarian and word literature, he never failed to list Krúdy among them. And he knew small, seemingly insignificant details about him, too. — The author then went on to discuss the fact that Márai had characterised Krúdy as an ideal person and as an ideal writer. He emphasised Krúdy’s representation of reality as verging on the mythical, and thought that it had been his most courageous achievement to remain an independent writer. He also pointed out how conscious Krúdy had been of his own talent. He especially stressed two features of Krúdy’s style: its atmosphericity and its musicality.

István Szathmári