The linguistic situation south of Hungary
The linguistic state of affairs in neighbouring countries south of Hungary is remarkable in itself, but it yields some general conclusions as well. We can see living examples of extralinguistic factors exerting a direct and fast influence on language: partly in the linguistic attitudes of speak-ers, and partly in the role of language in shaping national consciousness. It is interesting to note that, whereas Western Europe is generally charcterised by a process of linguistic convergence, Eastern European countries (and especially the Balkans) show signs of divergence and disintegriation. This is closely related to the ongoing political changes. The author looks at the fate of Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin, and analyses the effects of historical events, the development of literacy, and other cultural factors, presenting specific examples of linguistic divergence.
Hungarian Grammar — and what may come next
The recently published university textbook entitled Magyar grammatika [Hungarian Grammar] deserves to be characterised as a “reformed traditional” grammar. It is built upon the system that has been the foundation of all school grammars for the past forty years: that laid out in the “academic grammar” (A mai magyar nyelv rendszere [The System of Present-day Hungarian], published in 1961–62). One can tell where significant augmentation or other modification may have occurred simply by looking at the titles of the main chapters of the textbook (Morphology, Parts of speech, Word formation, Syntagmatics, Syntax). Morphology — the presentation of word forms as combinations of morphemes of various functions — counts as a new idea within this framework; and syntagmatics is an entirely independent new chapter that precedes syntax. The book does not include a discussion of phonology, as the authors wished to restrict their attention to meaningful linguistic units; and it does not have separate chapters on word meaning, word or-
der, or stress and intonation, either, these topics being scattered throughout the chapters on word formation, syntagmatics, and syntax.
The author of the present paper closely follows the system of the textbook written by a team of university lecturers, attaching appreciative remarks to the whole conception and to a number of details, but raising objections to some terminological solutions and criticising certain portions of the part-of-speech classification with respect to which he disapproved of the earlier (academic) grammar, too. He presents his own classification as a proposed alternative. He thinks that the chapter on syntagmatics is a very progressive aspect of the book (that may owe a lot to current structural grammatical research). On the other hand, in the area of syntax, he does not see any important progress over the 150-year-old tradition going back to K. F. Becker and specifically over the notion of “predicate” as accepted in Hungarian grammars ever since the work of Antal Klemm (1923–1942). He points out that the verb as the head of the syntactic structure of the whole sentence can be called a predicate in a quite different sense than the nominal predicate, the latter merely expressing a logical relationship. He proposes that these two sentence constituents should be kept terminologically distinct (as was advocated in the second half of the 19th century by Sámuel Brassai who was not even the first scholar to think of that possibility): they should be referred to as “verb” vs. “praedicativum”.
It was in 2001 that Magyar dialektológia [Hungarian Dialectology], edited and written (with four co-authors) by Jenő Kiss, was published with two major aims in mind. First, to replace an earlier university textbook that had seen many editions but had become obsolete by then. Second, to meet a long felt need and serve as a handbook of Hungarian dialect research. Some of its major chapters are the following: Languages, variants, dialects; Dialectology; Regionalisms and their investigation; Hungarian dialects in the second half of the twentieth century. This paper reviews the chapters listed, and discusses the methods employed and principles laid out in them, with special reference to antecedents and current trends on the Hungarian and international scene.
Trends and truths in Hungarian linguistics
This article is a rejoinder to Miklós Kontra’s paper (MNy. 97/1), in which he compared three approaches to the analysis of a construction in which adverbs are optionally followed by the canonical subordinating conjunction (or complementizer) hogy ‘that’. While his questions and, in particular, his answers are shown to be biassed in favour of sociolinguistics, the present article endeavours to present a view in which the three types of linguistic enterprise, i.e., theoretical/descriptive analysis, sociolinguistic surveys, and the kind of applied linguistics that is concerned with advice on usage, could complement and cooperate with each other.
Objective-intellectual style in An apocryph by János Pilinszky
The author introduces his paper by recapitulating a controversy that surrounded the notion of ‘period styles’ in the sixties and seventies in Hungary. He argues that thinking in terms of period styles and trends of style is a useful approach to stylistics. Then, he describes the circumstances of writing, the structure, and the message of János Pilinszky’s An apocryph, perhaps the most permanent value among his poems. Turning to objective–intellectual style, the author first characterises that trend of style in general terms and then he analyses the way objectivity is discernible in the poem at hand. Next, he defines what he means by intellectuality and indicates how that shows up in Pilinszky’s poem. Finally, the author emphasises that the poet created a remarkably effective individual style; that An apocryph represents a number of characteristic features of objective–intellectual style; and that the latter can be seen as a genuine trend of style partly on account of those features.
Tendencies in the development of main clauses of
in Late Old Hungarian and Early Middle Hungarian
In this paper, the author investigates the reporting main clauses of direct and indirect speech of Hungarian in two periods of its history. She presents the linguistic forms and grammatical rules (or rule-like tendencies) that took part in conveying the content of a quotation, she surveys the obligatory and the optional elements making up the structures, as well as the inferences that can be drawn from the changes that occurred in the two periods. With respect to direct speech, she touches upon issues related to genre, text formation, and reception. Rather than presenting a comprehensive description, she concentrates on phenomena that have not been analysed so far or have been dealt with only sporadically. These are: the presence or lack of a reporting main clause, its language (Latin or Hungarian), its position and word order; the marking of quotes in writing; the dominance of mond ‘say’ as a quoting verb, the issue of double quoting verbs, the strengthening of transitivity, and use of the úgy mond ‘so says’ structure; as well as the frequency, the typical forms, the vowel quality and position of phoric (i.e., anaphoric or cataphoric) pronouns. The paper concludes with a summary which is supplemented by a brief survey of the direct and indirect speech forms of contemporary Hungarian.