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Magyar Nyelvőr

Volume 124, Number 4

ISSN 1585-4515

October–December 2000



Keszler, Borbála
The Ninth Mother Tongue Conference. Marosvásárhely, 11–14 August 2000

This article reports on the ninth general assembly of the traditional mother-tongue movement known as the Mother Tongue Conference. This year’s conference was held in Marosvásárhely (Transylvania), to express the organizers’ solidarity with Transylvanian Hungarians and to consolidate the ties between the people of Romania and that of Hungary. – The report includes András Sütő’s address to the opening ceremony, as well as Csaba Kecskés’s beautiful prayer for the Hungarian language that the Unitarian priest offered at the oecumenic service on 13 August.

Gósy, Mária
The age factor of the mental lexicon

There are numerous things researchers know about the mental lexicon and there are many more to be explored. It is well known that the size of the mental lexicon and the strategies of lexical access develop as the speaker grows older. However, less is known about age-related changes in the operations of the mental lexicon. The present paper analyses the nature of phonetic word associations on the basis of various subjects’ data from children to elderly people.

Banczerowski, Janusz
On the structure and functions of text initial metainformational sentences

The aim of this paper is to show the place and role, within the structure of a linguistic text, of the type of sentences indicated in the title. The analysis is restricted to written texts. Text initial metalinguistic sentences are generally there to convey metainformation concerning the topic of the text and to situate it temporally and spatially, as well as with respect to the circumstances of the events described. Also, such sentences may specify the reason why the given text came into being, the aims and character of the text, the intentions of the speaker/writer, or the range of potential addressees; they may refer to the title of the text, they often identify the genre, etc. We can also find metalinguistic operators that introduce a text in some explicit manner, e. g. Let us begin with the following quote “…”. Meta-texts may furthermore serve to introduce some description in connection with the initial sentence of the text. Text initial metasentences, in addition to their basic delimitative function, contribute to text coherence. The highest number of meta-items that play a delimitative role and establish contact with the addressee are found in scientific texts.

Nemesi, Attila László
On the syntactic construction természetesen hogy…

There are some syntactic variables in present-day Hungarian that are not unanimously evaluated in the linguistic community of this country. One of these is the use of constructions of the type természetesen hogy ‘of course that’. Broadly construed, this involves a rather widespread range of phenomena. The paper, based on the previous literature on this issue, asks the question of how it is possible that native speakers of Hungarian use this type of constructions and what mental (analogical) linguistic processes may underlie the production of such linguistic forms. The author tries to argue that the appearance and growing incidence of this phenomenon is not in contradiction with the system of Hungarian grammar. In fact, it can be related to a number of morphological and syntactic processes, as well as general diachronic regularities, whereas its broader systemic context shows certain signs of an ongoing linguistic change.

Fehér, Erzsébet
Hungarian stylistics 1990–2000

This paper discusses the recent general upswing of style studies in Hungarian scholarship. To begin with, the author enumerates the internal and external factors that have contributed to the renewal of stylistics: the former include a continuous self-reflection of the discipline, whereas the latter are determined by the pragmatic turn of linguistics and the cognitive turn of the theory of science. She then presents a general overview of Hungarian stylistics in the nineties, emphasizing two of its characteristic features: a pragmatic attitude as part of the communicative paradigm of linguistics that makes it possible to investigate all dimensions of language use; as well as a text-based perspective that has entailed a reconsideration of the methods of stylisitic analysis.

Haader, Lea
Problems in the classification of subordinate clauses

The classification of complex sentences (multi-clause sentences involving subordination) is done according to disparate criteria in various earlier and more recent grammars. This is because subordinate clauses are simultaneously subject to, or part of, several systems of relationships. The paper lists the various possibilities of classification and argues for that based on the conjunction involved.

A. Jászó, Anna
Integration in the teaching of Hungarian language and literature

This paper gives an overview of the basic principles of mother tongue education and discusses one of those principles, integration, in some detail. Integration is a fashionable term, and one that has a number of different interpretations, a fact that makes the clarification of this concept an important task. The paper does not discuss the meanings of the term integration as used in political discourse and in the education of handicapped children; rather, it focuses on the way it is used in educational methodology. It emphasizes the fact that integration was the fundamental principle of the 1978 national curriculum. The skeleton curriculum of 2000 provides for the integration of modules and subjects (e. g., Hungarian and media studies) as well as for that of Hungarian grammar and literature; the former is seen as favourable by the author, the latter is not.

The author is the editor of the Integrated Hungarian Language and Literature Program (sections 1–12); she interprets the notion of integration as follows: 1. It is practice classes (as opposed to those introducing new material) that integrated organization is best suited for; this is what her program advocates. 2. In her view, integration is primarily a matter of method: in all areas of mother tongue education, one has to opt for a method that supports, or at least does not hinder, the teaching of other areas. For instance, reading has to be taught by a method that also supports the teaching of spelling; sentence analysis has to be done by a method that also develops the pupils’ reading comprehension, etc. In other words, the oft-quoted dictum that any method may be good for its own purposes is wrong. 3. Integration also means the link-up of literature and grammar, primarily by means of literary examples used for grammatical analysis. 4. Integration between school subjects is also a possibility.

Integrated education means a particular attitude to knowledge and teaching methods: the view that everything is connected to everything else.

Kiss, Jenő
On a mother-tongue ‘index of approval’ of speakers of a Hungarian dialect

Linguistic attitudes and stereotypes influence language use, therefore their investigation, both synchronically and diachronically, is or may be important. For instance, which version of their mother tongue speakers consider ‘nice’ and which they consider ‘ugly’ is an issue worth investigating. The author presents and analyses some results of a questionnaire study conducted in 2000. The subjects ranged between 29 and 60 years of age and were inhabitants of a dialect dominant Hungarian village (Mihályi, North-Western Hungary). Written answers given by parents of 11–14-year-old schoolchildren are summarized and discussed in this paper. The most important insight gained from this study is that the majority of subjects considered the usage of their own neighbourhood to be the nicest of all.

Rácz, János
Clover and nose in botany

This paper describes the history, geographical distribution, and etymology of some anthropomorphic and zoomorphic terms of phytology. It discusses the motivation of Hungarical botanical nomenclature and documents changes of meanings over the past few centuries in herbaria and botanical handbooks. The first part involves botanical terms based on the word here ‘clover’, a word of Uralic origin. The second part deals with terms – these are mainly metaphorical compounds – based on another item of the ancient vocabulary, orr ‘nose’. The motivation for these names was the resemblance between some part of these plants and a nose (or a bird’s beak). The author also gives foreign-language parallels, classical sources where appropriate, loan translations, and co-names with respect to the Hungarian plant names discussed. The identification of the plants involved is facilitated by the Latin binomial (genus/species) terms as they are used in the contemporary literature of botanics.

Nyomárkay, István
The linguistic representation of the world in terms of foreign words in a Croatian drama and its Hungarian translations

The linguistic representation of the world reflects the human interpretation of surrounding reality. Following a general introduction, the paper investigates the appearance of the former Austro-Hungarian (kaiserlich und königlich) world view in Miroslav Krleza’s play ‘Agony’ (U agoniji), with special reference to the function of foreign words.

Tolcsvai Nagy, Gábor
Cognitive Grammar in Text Linguistics

The paper gives a draft of the theoretical basis of cognitive linguistics (mainly the ones worked out by R. Langacker and G. Lakoff), and outlines the possibilities set by this theoretical basis for text linguistics (discourse analysis in the sense of the Handbook by van Dijk). The second part of the paper gives some examples, where cognitive categories are fundamental in the modelling of text in general. The categories mentioned are: structure and process, universe of discourse, viewpoint (with different vantage points), reference, foregrounding and backgrounding, discourse topic and discourse focus, conceptual schemata, implicit and explicit information.

Maitz, Péter
On desiderata of the historiography of language with respect to the history of German in Hungary

The author raises, in connection with the history of the German language in Hungary, some current theoretical problems and desiderata in the historiography of language. He shows that the reason for the lack of scientific interest taken in the developments of the past few centuries and especially of the 19th century is the fact that the systematic nature of language has been overemphasized. This shortcoming may be amended by adopting a socio-pragmatic view of language which has already been established in synchronic linguistic description. He specifies the subject matter, the methods, and the aims of a socio-pragmatically oriented version of historical linguistics and goes on to outline the topics that should serve as the basis of the historiography of language in the 19th century.

H. Varga, Márta
Complex derivational suffixes?

The author seeks an answer to the question of whether the technical term ‘complex derivational suffix’, generally accepted and used in historical linguistics, is applicable to the description of certain clusters of derivational suffixes also in descriptive linguistics. She is looking for the answer primarily in the sections on derivational suffixes in classical descriptive grammars (The System of Present-day Hungarian, Present-day Hungarian, Hungarian Grammar) and in descriptive grammars based on novel insights and results of modern linguistics (New Hungarian Grammar, A Structural Grammar of Hungarian), as well as in Debated Issues in the Classification of Hungarian Suffixes by Magda T. Somogyi. She intends to contribute her claims and considerations towards a definition, to be formulated later, of clusters of suffixes that can be, or are to be, interpreted as complex derivational suffixes from a descriptive point of view, as well as to a classification of their various types.

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