The paper discusses problems concerning the theory of linguistic change. It focuses on three interdependent issues: (1) language and its user; (2) language and its use; (3) linguistic change and human conduct. The central issue is what role is played in linguistic change by the fact that the homo sapiens uses language and the way in which he uses it. It is self-evident that, in the study of linguistic change, the point of departure is the system of language. The object of study is what changed, how, and why. Extra-linguistic factors (may) play a role in the third of those questions. People’s lives and activities are kept in the desired channel by the biological law of homeostasis. Through a series of linked transmissions, that law prevails in the human activity of language use as well. And given that linguistic change comes into being in the course of humans’ linguistic activity, that is, in language use, the author argues that homeostasis can be seen as a general mechanism indirectly governing language change.
The new approach to the analysis of family names proposed here bears some similarity to motivation-based systematizations of traditional typologies. The basis of naming is most often related to some peculiarity or characteristic attribute of the person named. In such cases, the (part of a) name concerned has a peculiarity-marking function (cf. Hoffmann 1999: 209). Given the basic theorem that name giving is mainly determined by extra-linguistic factors (elements of reality), it is most appropriate to delimit peculiarity-marking categories cognitively on the basis of the relationship between the name bearer and a segment or constituent of reality. Linguistic meaning “is closely related to cognition, that is, the way we perceive the world around us” (Kiefer 2007: 19). In terms of cognitive semantics, human perception identifies a smaller, less conspicuous, less readily identifiable object or entity (figure) in relation to a larger, more static piece of reality carrying known information (ground). In that relationship, five elements of reality can be discerned: (1) the individual being named, (2) a person or group of persons, (3) society, (4) a place, and (5) relevant things or events.
János N. Fodor
The subject of the paper is
Anonymus’ historical work on the Hungarian conquest written
in the early years
of the 13th century. There are two locations in the text mentioning the
The word stocks of most European
languages include a word meaning ‛Buddhist priest’ that is
regarded as a direct
or indirect borrowing from Portuguese (Spanish, Italian) bonzo.
The lexeme has been adopted into Hungarian in the form bonc.
With respect to its etymology,
several views have been put forward in the relevant dictionaries.
sources include the following Japanese words: bonzō
~ bonsō 凡僧
‛a common priest, an ignorant
priest’, bonsō 梵僧
‛a Buddhist priest, an Indian
priest’, and bōzu [boːzu] 坊主 ‛a Buddhist
priest’. Although semantically it is the third item
– having several other
meanings as well – that comes closest to Portuguese bonzo, in terms of their form, the first,
and perhaps even
the second, items could also be taken
into consideration. However, the first two words have been rather infrequent in
comparison with the
third – that was originally coined in