Ferenc Kazinczy (1759–1831), the leading figure of the Hungarian language reform, was born exactly 250 years ago. In this paper, the author emphasises the fact that Kazinczy was an all-round cultural policy maker who recognised the special significance of language in the process of becoming a nation and in the modernisation of society. The development and standardisation of the Hungarian language made it possible for it to be applied successfully in all spheres of social activity. Kazinczy and his partners served the community with a patriotic enthusiasm but also with an up-to-date approach to language planning. Kazinczy’s name hallmarks the most intensive period of the language reform between 1790 and the mid-1820s. Having played an important role in the preparations for the establishment of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1825), it was not unexpected that he was elected full member of that Academy right at the start.
The functional basis of Ferenc Kazinczy’s view of language
Ferenc Kazinczy (1759–1831) was the leading figure of the codification of Standard Hungarian, through his enormous organizing and literary activities and correspondence. The present paper interprets the huge impact he made on the history of Hungarian literature and linguistics, focusing on his essay “Ortológus és neológus; nálunk és más nemzeteknél” (1819). This essay discusses the essence of the cultural struggle over the Hungarian language: the issue of whose task it was to decide which variety should be chosen as a basis of the standard language and how that decision was to be made. Kazinczy turned from a classicist rhetorical standpoint towards a linguistically functional and hermeneutic view, where language is not a “ready-made” grammatical system of rules; rather, it is an inexhaustible potential, based on variability and the speakers’ intentions and hearers’ expectations. Thus the elaboration of that linguistic potential rests on the individual speaker’s taste and not simply on tradition. Kazinczy proves to be the forerunner of modern linguistic functionalism.
Gábor Tolcsvai Nagy
Rival views on metaphor?
The sentence “This surgeon is a butcher” has often been discussed in the literature of conceptual metaphor theory and outside it by theorists of different persuasion. By looking at the various specific analyses that were proposed, we can find out how the approaches are related to each other. The particular approaches I consider here include the theory of metaphor as categorization, “standard” conceptual metaphor theory, blending theory, the neural theory of metaphor, and conceptual metaphor theory as based on the idea of ‘main meaning focus’. Which one is the best theory, then, to account for the meaning of the sentence? In light of the analyses in the paper, it can be argued that the question does not make much sense. All the theories and approaches that are considered in this paper contribute to an account of the meaning of metaphorical sentences such as “This surgeon is a butcher.” No single theory explains everything about the process of meaning construction required for the sentence. In this sense, I suggest that the diverse theories fit together and complement each other in a natural way.
How many cases are there in Hungarian?
One of the most widely debated issues in the description of Hungarian concerns the system of declension. Depending on the actual paradigms set up and the sets of criteria followed, the number of cases claimed to exist in this language varied between the six cases listed in the earliest extant grammar (1539) and the eighteen cases proposed in some contemporary Hungarian grammars. In György Komáromi Csipkés’s grammar (1655), the author attempted to delimit the range of Hungarian case endings in terms of a clearly defined and consistently applied system of criteria. However, the most important criterion he proposed, formal consistence, was only valid in a historical sense, whereas Komáromi treated the individual stages of the path of grammaticalisation as synchronically coexistent in the system. The interesting point of his classification, in retrospect, is that suffixes that had started off as independent words and had turned into case suffixes via a postpositional stage (particulae praepositionales), whose independent origins could still be recognised in Komáromi’s age, were eliminated from his case system. This distinction was made recognisable by the possibility of cooccurrence of the items at hand with personal pronouns.
Zsuzsa C. Vladár
Family name or phrasal name?
In studying historical family names, it is unavoidable to clarify
whether the form at hand is
a proper family name or rather just a distinctive element added to a monomial name, or indeed mere periphrasis. In the context of the fourteenth century, a transitional period in the history of Hungarian family names, a decision between the first two possibilities is only feasible in general when we have multiple data referring to the same person. Whenever a certain person is only referred to once, we have very little chance of being able to tell whether we have to do with a family name or a mere distinctive element; however, we may still have the appropriate tools for telling distinctive elements and periphrases apart. The paper tries to pin down those criteria. For instance, the order and inflection of the elements often makes it quite clear whether a fixed name construction is at stake; in other cases, non-typical order or irregular inflection may signal the possibility of several distinct interpretations. Constructions of an uncertain status should be termed ‘phrasal names’ rather than simply ‘names’, in the author’s view.