This rejoinder attempts to challenge certain statements made by Katalin É. Kiss in her “Noam Chomsky, 80, and the Chomskyan linguistic revolution” (Magyar Nyelv 2009: 1–8) concerning the historical role and achievements of generative linguistics. In particular, the paper questions the puzzling claims (1) that the socio-cultural study of language is ‘prescientific’, (2) that the rise of the Chomskyan paradigm rendered alternative approaches to language marginal, and (3) that generative grammar investigates language as a kind of “natural science”.
The earliest extant (fragment of a) Hungarian poem
As Loránd Benkő pointed out some time ago, supporting his claim by convincing linguistic arguments, the early Hungarian document known as Königsberg Fragment (whose oldest extant copy dates from the mid-fourteenth century) may have been originally written in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century. Soon after its discovery in the nineteenth century, a lively debate started about its form: whether it was written in verse or in prose. The debate lasted for half a century and concluded in the statement, not questioned ever since, that the document was written in rhythmical prose, and that it was the concluding passage of a laudatory contemplation of the motherhood of the Virgin Mary. The present paper revisits the issue of the form of the document and concludes that, albeit the copy we have involves changes and omissions, the original version of the text must have been a poem. It was most probably written in one of the favourite poetic measures of medieval hymns, catalectic stress-based trochaic tetrameter; and as far as its contents is concerned, it may have involved Christ’s birth, the mystery of Christmas, in addition to the motherhood of the Virgin. It can be assumed that it is the translation (or perhaps a free but formally faithful adaptation) of a medieval hymn, unknown in its original form but reflected both in ecclesiastical and in folk poetry. If this conclusion is on the right track, the Königsberg Fragment is the very first extant Hungarian poem, preceding even the Lamentation of Mary in Old Hungarian.Rudolf Szentgyörgyi
Anonymus, “montes senonum” and “populi alimini”.
An evolution scheme of Arpadian-age historical textsThe author analyses a short section of a historical work written by Anonymus in the 13th century where the strange expressions quoted in the title occur. There are similar sections in other early historical works written in Hungary like the so-called Kézai-text, the text of the Illuminated Chronicle, the Chronica Hungarorum printed in Buda, as well as Thuróczy’s Chronica Hungarorum. The author describes the evolution of the five known versions by starting from some reconstructed verses of
the present case, however, the starting point is a hypothetical text, and all the known text variants correspond to endpoints of an evolution graph representing a branching process. The author’s arguments lead to a first approximation of an evolution scheme of the early historical texts written in Hungary.