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Magyar Nyelvőr

Volume 124, Number 3

ISSN 1585-4515

July–September 2000



Gósy, Mária
On the analysis of speech rhythm

Speech rhythm is a complex phenomenon based primarily on listeners’ perception. This paper discusses (i) the nature of speech rhythm as described in the literature on the one hand, and (ii) the results of the present author’s acoustic-phonetic analysis of rap texts, on the other. The temporal organisation of rap texts and their suprasegmental features were examined, along with syllable, word, and sentence durations within the texts. Such phonetic analysis provides a possibility to learn more about the rhythm of spontaneous speech as well.

Dróth, Júlia
A unified Hungarian terminology for EU documents

Reading Hungarian translations of documents and publications of the European Union one often finds that some lexical items occurring in the administrative usage of the EU are not translated in a uniform manner. It would be expedient to develop a unified Hungarian usage since inconsistent terminology and makeshift translator’s solutions may lead to misunderstandings. The translators’ task is made difficult by the lack of an EU specialised dictionary that they could rely on. The creation of such a dictionary is vitally urgent for more reasons than one: First, it would unify usage and make it avoidable for the translator to unnecessarily adopt the foreign term. In other cases, on the contrary: the foreign word used by experts would be recommended as a terminological unit to be used. Furthermore, the dictionary would standardise the spelling of each word, given that the EU terminology raises a number of new issues, especially with respect to the way set phrases, names of institutions, and acronyms should be written.

Kemény, Gábor
Between Scylla and Charybdis: the tasks and possibilities of stylistics on the threshold of the new millennium

This paper gives an overview of the status and tasks of stylistics, as well as of its connections with related branches of knowledge.

Concerning the position of stylistics with respect to linguistics and literary scholarship, essentially five different claims have been made in the literature: (a) stylistics is a linguistic discipline, a proper part of the science of language; (b) stylistics, inasmuch as it deals with a literary work of art, must become part of literary scholarship; (c) stylistics has two branches, differing from one another in emphasis and methodology: a “literary” and a “linguistic” branch; (d) stylistics is an independent area of knowledge, not belonging either to linguistics or to literary scholarship; and (e) stylistics is an interdisciplinary field of research that is located in the frontier zone or intersection of the study of language and that of literature.

Of these claims, the author adopts the last one. The interdisciplinarity of stylistics stems from the fact that it deals with formations that are linguistic in their “raw material” or medium but studies these linguistic formations in a way that their pragmatic/aesthetic, rather than referential/intellectual, aspects are in the foreground of attention.

In the history of stylistics, two opposite and equilibrated trends of development are observable: (a) efforts to expand the field of research; and (b) efforts to constrain or clearly delimit that field.

Both types of efforts may be useful for the development of this branch of knowledge. An expansion of the area of research may be hoped to make stylistics more complex, more interdisciplinary. Constraining or diminishing the range of topics covered, on the other hand, may drive the practitioners of stylistics towards more depth, more clearcut definitions of the object of study and of the methods employed.

It has to be pointed out, however, that both trends have their drawbacks or even dangers as well. Expansive efforts, if they gain the upper hand, hold the threat that stylistics might lose its particular character and get dissolved in other philological disciplines dealing with texts (like textology, poetics, aesthetics, literary history or cultural history). Exaggerated self-restraint, on the other hand, might lead to dwindling or parochialism. This might endanger the comprehensiveness of stylistics, or even its existence/recognition as an autonomous field of study.

The author of the present paper hopes that researchers heading for the treasures of the Indies of “undivided philology” will eventually touch land in the America of a stylistics that is more exact, more scientific in its character and ambitions.

Szathmári, István
The state of Literary Hungarian in János Laczka’s translation of ‘Zair’ and his biography of György Bessenyei

The author investigates two manuscripts by János Laczka (1754–1827), an intellectual (municipal attorney, later county superintendent) who lived in the age of enlightenment in Nagykunság (part of the Great Hungarian Plain). The central issue of the investigation is what stage of the linguistic unification of Hungarian, the emergence of Standard Literary Hungarian is reflected in those manuscripts. Laczka wrote the first Hungarian translation of Voltaire’s tragedy ‘Zair’ in 1778, and György Bessenyei’s biography in 1815. (Bessenyei had met Laczka in 1777 in Vienna, and employed him as a secretary for two years.) In summary, the author claims the following with respect to the two manuscripts: Laczka’s work proves that, in the age of enlightenment, the countryside kept abreast with the linguistic development of the capital, at least in the case of outstanding personalities like Laczka; especially the 1815 biography reflects a rather well-developed stage of linguistic unification.

Antalné Szabó, Ágnes
With Hungarian orthography for Hungarian orthography

The author (the organiser of the Zsigmond Simonyi Orthography Contest of the Present-day Hungarian Language Department of Eötvös Loránd University Budapest) reports on the national orthography contest of 2000. However, the paper is more than just a report: it describes the history of the orthography contest and the problems she encountered in organising it; introduces the material, test sheets and dictation texts of the contest; and lists the individual and team results of the Carpathian Basin Final of the 2000 contest.

Balogh, Judit
Hungarian orthography at the turn of millennium

The Zsigmond Simonyi National Orthography Contest, now organised for the third time, included this year a competition entitled “Hungarian orthography at the turn of millennium”. Papers were to be submitted in the following topic areas: orthographic superstitions, orthography and communication, orthography and style, historical aspects of Hungarian orthography, school orthography, computer orthography. The author reports on the criteria of evaluation, the types of papers submitted in the various topic areas, and the way the papers were written.

Rácz, János
Animals’ names in botanics

The author sadly records that the flora and fauna of two entire rivers, and not even small ones, has recently been destroyed by people’s irresponsibility. With this paper, he tries to commemorate the two dead rivers. He deals with water plants named after animals whose biotop was shared by the animals concerned. The lexical items discussed are primarily dialect words, the results of the incessant working of popular fancy.

At least 54 plant names are known that include béka ‘frog’, but there are also numerous compounds based on osztriga ‘oyster’, medúza ‘jellyfish’, varangy ‘toad’, moszkitó ‘mosquito’, and rák ‘crayfish’.

Since the main victims of the destruction of the rivers Szamos and Tisza are fish, grass-snakes, mussels, and otters, the author pays special attention to plant names whose first compund members are such animal names, like angolnafű ‘Zostera noltii’, aranyhalvirág ‘Columnea gloriosa’, csukahínár ‘Pontederia cordatta’, halgomba ‘Agaricus ostreatus’, keszegsaláta ‘Lactuca serriola’, siklófű ‘Equisetum hicmale’, kagylóvirág ‘Mollucela laevis’, vidrafa ‘Salix’, etc.

Hegedűs, Attila
Introducing the Dialect Atlas of Szilágyság

The material for a Hungarian dialect map of Szilágyság (or Sylvania, a Hungarian-inhabited area in Romania) was collected by Gyula Márton between 1971 and 1975. The manuscript was then edited into a dialect atlas proper by Attila Hegedus in 1998–99 (to be published in 2000). The first part of the present paper describes the principles of collection and data recording, the area of collecting, the authenticity of the material collected. The editor, utilising his experience with the Hungarian Dialect Atlas of Romania, implemented a computer-based atlas compilation method. Thus, on the basis of the nearly 750 maps now completed, the phonological, morphological, and lexical characteristics of the dialect area can be outlined. The coherence and internal diversity of the area can be studied. With the old and new varieties being both included, the synchronic dynamism of the dialect becomes apparent, and the atlas can also become a reliable source for the study of dialectal changes.

Bańczerowski, Janusz
The mechanism of word cooccurrences and the linguistic image of the world

Knowledge of the image of the world as it is encoded in a given language may be of great help in understanding the mechanism of word cooccurrences. On the other hand, the study of collocations in a broad theoretical framework may deepen our knowledge of linguistic categorisation and the axiological system of a language. The linguistic image of the world and the mechanism whereby words cooccur are interdependent. This idea is exemplified by the author via an analysis of a number of Hungarian set phrases like lyukas emlékezet ‘defective (lit.: leaky) memory’, elveszítette a türelmét ‘he lost his patience’, felrúgta a munkáját ‘he quit (lit.: kicked over) his job’, megszakította (vkivel) az ismeretséget ‘he broke off all relations (with sy)’. The author also points out that the study of collocations may provide useful information concerning the workings of the axiological system of a language. This point is confirmed by a number of attributive constructions analysed in this paper.

Nyomárkay, István
A Wendic translation of Imre Szalay’s Hungarian grammar

This paper introduces a Wendic (dialectal Slovenian of the Mura area) translation of Imre Szalay’s grammar. Two issues are discussed in particular: the part-of-speech classification based on the Latin/German tradition, and the nominal case system. With respect to the structure of the grammar itself, see Nyomárkay: A Serbian translation of Imre Szalay’s Hungarian grammar, Magyar Nyelvőr 123 [1999]: 335–340.

Szili, Katalin
Transitivity in Hungarian Morphosyntactic aspects of transitivity

This paper spells out Hungarian-specific characteristics of transitivity, the use of verbs with direct objects, and discusses them in a larger context. The levels of analysis chosen (morphological and syntactic), both separately and in conjunction, confirm that the presence of a direct object, its grammatical features, its determinerlessness or otherwise, and the type of determiner it includes, are factors that fundamentally determine the structure and aspectuality of the sentence. The author traces the way the synthetic forms of the two verbal paradigms came into being and defines the transitive verb phrase as the result of the interdependent and coherent processes of grammatical relation marking and agreement. She discusses the full range of problems that the distinction between definite vs. indefinite objects presents for foreign learners of Hungarian and gives a grammatical classification of those two types of direct objects. The strict correspondence between direct objects and preverb–verb combinations and the processes of grammaticalisation that preverbs undergo are scrutinised. The paper reveals a mutual dependence between direct objects and perfective situations, one that requires further study but is probably existing. In particular, the author claims that perfectivity depends on two interrelated factors: external boundedness that makes an event goal-oriented, mainly embodied in a direct object involving a determiner, and the use of a perfectivising preverb that signals reaching a limit or the internal boundedness of a particular event.

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