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Magyar Nyelvőr

Volume 126, Number 1

ISSN 1585-4515

January–March 2002



Bańczerowski, Janusz
Metainformational verbs describing the patterns of receiving information, the effects it makes on the receiver, and the state of the memory of the information receiving device

For a receiver to take in information (s)he needs a certain disposition that is mainly dependent on the kind of information to be received and the amount of noise occurring in the channel of transmission. The communicative activity of the receiver does not start when information is directly transmitted to his/her receptors: it starts a lot earlier. The receiver has to get disposed to receiving information and has to select the channel through which information will flow to him/her. Such disposition, with respect to the kind of channel, is reflected by verbs whose semantic structure can be described as follows:


The content of the metainformational surplus can be demonstrated mainly by an analysis of Hungarian verbs referring to the visual and auditory channels.

Linguistic utterances serve a number of functions in the process of communication. They do not only transmit the fundamental information but they also make various effects on the receiver so that (s)he changes his/her state according to the intentions of the sender. In order to do that, they employ various metainformational verbs. In the present paper, five types of such Hungarian verbs are analysed.

Szili, Katalin
The pragmatics of requests

The paper discusses some universal and language specific features of Hungarian speakers’ strategies employed in asking for something on the basis of 199 questionnaires (51 adult subjects and 148 students). The investigation of context external factors corroborated the hypothesis that Hungarian speakers rather sensitively follow the actual changes in social distance in selecting individual ways of requesting: familiarity between speakers entails a more direct wording, a higher frequency of imperative forms belonging to strategy 1 [cf. points (a) in tables and figures], whereas unfamiliarity favours the use of less direct, more conventional forms [strategy 7, cf. points (b)]. The data furthermore reveal that the authority of the partner usually makes the requester employ indirect forms of asking less frequently than the distance between them [cf. points (c)].

The author gives a thorough analysis of the way context internal factors, especially the importance of the request and the degree of the impositive role of the requester modify the norms of behaviour dictated by social distance (situations 2, 5 and 6). A comparison of the data obtained with those coming from the CCSARP survey has also revealed a number of specific features of the behaviour of Hungarians when asking for something, including a higher frequency of direct imperative forms and a more balanced use of conventional patterns.

B. Fejes, Katalin
The place of a sentence in the coreferential organisation of a poem

The interpretation of Attila József’s Ars poetica strongly depends on what compositional role the reader assigns to one of its sentences. This paper explores that role by analysing the coreferential organisation of the poem and comes to the conclusion that the sentence is in a concessive relation with its immediate antecedent, i. e., the correlation between the two sentences is organised not only by opposition but also by subordination.

Gáspári, László
Grammatical organization of rhetorical-stylistic constitutional units
Commentaries on Gáspár Nagy

On the basis of examples from Gáspár Nagy’s poetic language the author illustrates that there is manifold correlation between the grammatical structures constructing the figures and their rhetorical-stylistic reading. The system of complex figures, itself a linguistic product, affects its own grammatical structure, assigns the possible readings of the underlying grammatical structure and controls its semantical-pragmatical manifestation. Therefore the semantically defined grammatical status and the grammatically determined semantical function may equally be present within the figures.

Rácz, János
Compounds involving names of birds in the terminology of botanics

This paper discusses Hungarian botanical terms involving the noun madár ‘bird’ and individual names of birds, going from domestic to wild fowls. The author emphasises word historical and word geographical aspects (the first attested occurrence of the plant name in written documents and regional variation respectively, but without mentioning dialectal variants) as well as the psychological background of naming habits.

The anterior constituent madár often expresses smallness, lightness, deviant amount. For plants that yield fruit, madár or madárkás ‘birdy’ means ‘consisting of small pieces’ (grapes, berries). But it may also allude to the habitat of wild fowl, meaning ‘(growing in a) field, meadow, forest’ or else to the fact that the fruit of the given plant serves as food for birds.

D. Mátai, Mária
The history of Hungarian postpositions and postpositional adjectives

This paper discusses the development of Hungarian postpositions and postpositional adjectives through the periods of the history of that language: postpositions from Old Hungarian onwards, and postpositional adjectives from Middle Hungarian to the present day. (Postpositional adjectives constitute the youngest Hungarian part of speech that arose during the period of Middle Hungarian.) – In the course of the investigation, the author’s attention is primarily directed at the syntactic structures within which postpositions came into being, i. e., the way in which that word class was augmented by new items. She also looks at the issue of what types of words (in terms of part of speech and morphological structure) were reinterpreted as postpositions and of whether postpositions are attached to case-marked or non-case-marked nouns (or other types of words), depending on the antecedent structure. It is only occasionally that she refers to the issue of the remarkably rich array of functions of postpositions that differ from period to perod, too. The latter topic is rather covered by the exercises that follow the discussion of each period. The paper includes exercises because it is based on the relevant parts of the forthcoming university textbook entitled Hungarian Historical Linguistics.

Elekfi, László
The Morphological System of Hungarian: ongoing work since the publication
of the Dictionary of Hungarian Inflections

1. A larger body of data collected and systematized in parallel with the compilation of the Dictionary of Hungarian Inflections (DHI, published in 1994) is being electronically recorded at present. A selection of the entries of that data store will serve as the Hungarian morphological database component of a two-way machine translation program (English to Hungarian and Hungarian to French).

2. An Errata section is provided for DHI, with explanations of the individual errors, as well as with an overview of the abbreviatory, editorial, and typographical conventions followed.

3. Based on critical remarks made by a young linguist, further problems and shortcomings of DHI are discussed. These shortcomings are partly due to the fact that the length of that dictionary was severely restricted since it had originally been intended as a supplement to the single-volume Concise Hungarian Explanatory Dictionary.

Pete, István
Phonetics * Phonology or Phonematics?

There is no accepted superordinate term (hyperonym) to cover the various branches of study of the lowest level of language. The author proposes the term ‘phonematics’ for that purpose. He distinguishes seven fields of phonematics: 1. phonetics: a) articulatory phonetics, b) acoustic phonetics, c) auditory phonetics, d) paradigmatic phonetics, e) sound symbolism; 2. phonology/phonemics: the study of a) phonological paradigms, b) phonotactics, c) phonological alternation; 3. syllabics; 4. accentology; 5. intonology; 6. orthoepy; and 7. sociophonematics.

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