The role of language in the construal of human reality

One can often come across claims like “language influences human thinking”, “our view of the world depends on our native language”, “language arranges human reality”, etc. In view of these claims, the author asks the questions of what it actually means that language construes human reality; exactly how it influences the human perception of the world; what effect it has on humans and how it arranges their thinking. The author tries to answer those questions, not avoiding the much-discussed issue of deterministic vs. non-deterministic views of the relationship between language and thinking, either. The author thinks that the essence of everyday language use does not reside in the acquisition of complex abstract systems but rather in the special ability of humans to intuitively handle linguistic material. The intuitive use of language is a constitutive property of all human beings that surpasses everything that has been achieved so far in the algorithmic modelling of language.

Keywords: the relationship of thinking, language, and reality; associations, analogy, symmetry, linguistic intuition, communicative fragments, linguistic formalization.

Janusz Bańczerowski


The borrowed family name Novák and the Hungarian stock of family names

The family name Novák is strikingly current in several Slavic languages. It is also by far the most frequently occurring borrowed item of the Hungarian stock of family names (eleven and a half thousand persons wear it in this country). Its territorial distribution is mainly related to that of Slavic-based population in Hungary and to former trends of migration. The name Novák has been attested in Hungary since the fourteenth century; its widespread occurrence today, however, is due to

migrations after the end of Turkish rule in this country. Its Slavic etymology (‘new’) may cover several different motivations of name giving; its potential Hungarian-internal coinage cannot have been significant. Despite its foreign origin and high frequency, it was not a typical name to be Hungarianised during the history of family name Hungarianisations in the 19th and 20th centuries; even cases of official change of name to Novák did occur. Part of the reason for all that may have been the fact that it is structurally quite appropriate to fit in well with the range of native family names and also that, in general, the Slavic-based population was less active in the process of Hungarianisation. Its striking currency today is a consequence of its origin and history, as well as of the stronger tendency for borrowed names of other backgrounds to be changed by their bearers.

Keywords: Novák, borrowed family names, change of name, Hungarianisation, frequency of names.

Tamás Farkas


Morphological adaptation of Hungarian loanwords in Ruthenian

The aim of the paper is to introduce the Hungarian loanwords occurring in standard reference works and to acquaint the reader with the ways of morphological insertion and integration of Hungarian loanwords into Ruthenian, a language spoken in the Sub-Carpathian area. For fulfilling this aim, the paper discusses the manners in which Hungarian loanwords (represented by nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs) have been fitted into the morphological system of the recipient language. The majority of the words under survey are nouns, most of which are masculine. Nouns that belong to the feminine gender show less productivity. The paper does not deal with neutral nouns because, in accordance with László Dezső’s (1989: 38) opinion, the author thinks that these nouns “were formed in Sub-Carpathian Ukrainian dialects from roots of Hungarian origin”. Due to the adaptation process, most adjectives were given Ruthenian adjectival suffixes and inflection. Some verbs were formed through the adaptation of Hungarian verbs with Ruthenian prefixes, suffixes, and inflection, while others were formed as denominative or deadjectival derivatives within the Ruthenian dialects. Finally, some adverbs were borrowed in an unchanged form but most adverbs adopted from Hungarian received Ruthenian suffixes. – It is concluded that, in the process of adaptation, most nouns, adjectives and verbs were adjusted to the requirements of the word formation and morphological system of the recipient language.

Keywords: the Ruthenian language of Sub-Carpathia, Ruthenian–Hungarian language contacts, Hungarian loanwords, morphological adaptation, recipient language.

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