A last tribute to Loránd Benkő

Loránd Benkő, Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, professor emeritus of Eötvös Loránd University, Honorary President of the Society of Hungarian Linguistics, and managing editor of the Society’s journal Magyar Nyelv, passed away. His funeral took place on February 15, 2011, in Budapest. Funeral speeches were made by Szilveszter Vizy E., former President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and President of the Society for Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge; Jenő Kiss, MHAS, President of the Society of Hungarian Linguistics; and Dezső Juhász, Head of the Institute of Hungarian Linguistics and Finno-Ugric Studies, Eötvös Loránd University.


Language attrition?

Language attrition (Hung. nyelvromlás, Germ. Sprachverfall) is a topic that is often discussed in public with respect to Hungarian. This paper lists some phenomena that laymen often mention under that rubric, and presents the quite different view of linguists concerning the same issues. A separate discussion is devoted to the problem of what restricted language use (under minority circumstances) implies in terms of language change. The author does not take the Hungarian term (‘corruption’) to be an adequate denomination of this concept even in cases where structural language loss, degradation, or deficiency is involved in cases of languages that are in a situation of language shift. These phenomena are not consequences of the state of the language itself but rather of the restricted use of their mother tongue by members of the community. A special term would be needed to refer to such situations.

Keywords: language attrition, language change, language degradation, language shift, minority languages, language contacts, sociolinguistics.

Kiss Jenő


Studies in exclusive contradiction

As regards adversative relations between propositions, H. Lausberg (1963) and, later on, E. Lang (1977) studied the construction »non x, sed y« and its ordinal variants, e.g., »y, sed non x«, etc. in detail. The aim of the present paper is an analysis of these variants on the basis of Hungarian data. The approach taken is interpretative in character, in that the analyses incorporate the implicit constituents of the construction as well. The implicit elements represent constituents of a semiotic baseline construction that was the topic of an earlier paper by the author (Békési 2010b), and was referred to as “double syllogism”.

Keywords: multiple conjunctions, structural context, block formation, stratification, expansion, incorporation, constituent order.

Békési Imre


Krúdy’s imagery of the Nyírség
The role of conceptual integration in style and meaning

The imagery of works of fiction shows variegated linguistic realisations of the association between human and natural properties, from elementary images to complex images and stylistic configurations. The present paper intends to show the way that association is semantically represented in a thematic group of linguistic images in Gyula Krúdy’s texts, especially in his personifications and similes, as well as the role of all that at the textual level, in producing style and meaning. The analyses lead to the conclusion that the specific and recurrent organisation of figures of speech that produces conceptual integration of the input spaces natural sphere (the Nyírség landscape) and human sphere can be considered as a stylistic device, a characteristic component of the style and semantic structure of Krúdy’s texts.

Keywords: functional-cognitive stylistics, figures of speech, metaphor, simile, blending theory, objective constituent, figurative constituent, human sphere, landscape sphere.

Pethő József


Suffix-initial vowels in special roles

In the synchronic segmentation and classification of parts of words, it is the short vowel phoneme known as suffix-initial vowel (or linking vowel) that has given rise to the most heated debates. This is because the interpretation of the connection between stem and suffix bears closely upon the issue of the delimitation of stem and suffix. The author introduces the functions of suffix-initial vowels in nominal inflection, and discusses and exemplifies parallel distributions of forms and meanings in suffix alternations where semantic fission is due to the presence vs. absence, or height differences, of initial vowels in alternating suffixes. Finally, she makes an attempt at determining the grammatical status of this special type of suffix-initial vowel involved in semantic change.

Keywords: stem alternant, suffix alternant, suffix-initial vowel, stem-final vowel, morphological segmentation, morpheme status, suffix discrimination, role in part-of-speech discrimination.

H. Varga Márta

The structure of imperative sentences

This paper aims to propose a structural description of Hungarian imperative sentences that predicts their word order possibilities. I argue that imperative meaning is not carried by the morpheme -j, traditionally identified as the imperative suffix, because -j can also appear in non-imperative sentences. I attribute the imperative meaning to a covert Imp operator. The generative literature locates the imperative operator in the CP projection. I will show that, in Hungarian, this view is untenable. I assume that in the Hungarian sentence Imp heads an ImpP. Imp requires a verb supplied with a subjunctive morpheme in its scope; it triggers V-movement across the verbal particle; it causes the negative particle to be realized as ne instead of the regular nem; and it licenses the omission of the complementizer hogy in embedded clauses.

Keywords: subjunctive, non-neutral sentences, non-neutral phrase, imperative meaning, ImpP projection, imperative feature, imperative operator.

Varga Diána