On the historical semantics of Slavic ethnonyms in Hungarian

Ethnonyms constitute a well-definable group of Hungarian lexemes: they serve for identifying a group of people characterised by a definite set of properties: a ‘people’. These notions may be thought of as clear and unambiguous; but if we look into the historical semantics of ethnonyms, we are confronted with a high degree of variability. Names of peoples regularly occur as constituents of Old Hungarian place names, as well as in the stratum of single-element personal names of the same period and in that of the later family names, too. The history of ethnonyms in Middle and Modern Hungarian are increasingly represented in the gradually developing literature of contemporary Hungarian dictionaries, giving accurate information concerning the meanings and possible semantic changes of members of this group of words. The present paper, relying on the sources referred to, examines ethnonyms that were used in the Árpádian Age and are still in use today, but whose meanings differ in the two periods concerned.

Keywords: ethnonyms, semantic change, ethnonyms used as personal or family names, ethnonyms in place names, pejorative meaning, loss of ethnonyms.

Anita Rácz


Personal names in 18th-century Győr–Újváros
A sociolinguistic study

It is a generally held view among onomatologists that family names began to be permanently and consistently used in Hungarian in the 18th century. This paper attempts to support this view by a sociolinguistic investigation of personal names used in the 1700s in Újváros (a town near Győr). Our analysis in terms of gender, age, and social status has confirmed the above claims. The use of men’s names – that is, the inherited family name followed by the full form of the person’s Christian name – had become uniform by the middle of the century. Married women’s names, on the other hand, still exhibited variability at that time. Many ways of individualisation can be found in the sources, but two types emerge as typical: the husband’s full name with the common noun ‘his wife’ (or some synonym thereof) added, and the husband’s full name with the suffix - ‘Mrs’. Most married women’s names tried to identify their bearers periphrastically. The use of names with respect to children became unified by the end of the 18th century. That was the time when children were first consistently referred to by family name and Christian name in writing. The study is based on death certificates issued by Catholic and Protestant churches of Újváros.

Keywords: social determination of the use of family names, married women’s names, name complements, distinctive constituents of names.

Mária Varga Horváth

Models and methods in LSP research: A sociolinguistic approach

One of the objectives of this paper is to survey certain fundamental concepts of LSP research; another objective is to discuss certain models and methods of sociolinguistic research from among the various approaches employed in LSP descriptions. The principles of language cultivation and their relationship with LSP research, some models and names of types of language varieties, the connection between LSP research and sociolinguistics, the interpretation of the concept ‘Language for Special Purposes’, and types of classification of word stock and technical vocabulary are presented; then, four classes of technical vocabulary are established according to form, meaning, and communicative value. Finally, conclusions are drawn and new directions of LSP research are summarized.

Keywords: LSP, sociolinguistics, model, technical vocabulary, terminology.

Ágota Fóris


Could János Sylvester be the Hungarian translator
of a printed fragment from Vienna?

This paper tries to prove that the text of the Stainhofer fragment, discovered by Gedeon Borsa in 1968, had been translated by János Sylvester. The proof is primarily based on an analysis of identical features of declension in the fragment and in Sylvester’s texts, compared in each case with data from a representative digital corpus of 16th-century printed documents. The values of variables of inflected forms (e.g., stem final vowels of plural stems, the suffix of the inessive, or the forms of elative–delative–ablative triplets) invariably exhibit identity. In addition, some Sylvester-specific features (e.g. dialectal front vowel raising), as well as biographic and historical bibliographic data also show that the question in the title has to be answered in the positive.

Keywords: János Sylvester, Caspar Stainhofer, declension, historical corpus studies, dialectal front vowel raising.

Gyula Kalcsó