The role of metalinguistic structures in the modification of meaning
In this paper, some Hungarian metalinguistic operators are investigated, operators that participate in the modification of linguistic meaning. In particular, the metalinguistic (meta-informational) operators concerned are of the following kind: pontosan fogalmazva ‘exactly speaking’, tudományos szempontból ‘in scientific terms’, a tudósok szerint ‘as scientists claim’, általában véve ‘generally speaking’, valószínűleg ‘probably’, feltételezhetően ‘presumably’, alapjában véve ‘basically’, bizonyos szempontból ‘in a certain respect’, szerintem ‘in my view’, komoly (mértékadó, hiteles) források szerint ‘according to serious/relevant/authentic sources’, mintha ‘as if’, feltehetőleg ‘presumably’, állítólag ‘supposedly’, etc. Such operators indicate differences among central vs. peripheric representatives of a category; include in a category items that do not properly belong there; make comparisons between items belonging to different categories; indicate subjective interpretations of the world view presented, etc.
Linguistic standards of the media
The phenomenon of „broadcasting vocalisation” has been described by media specialists in a number of countries. In Hungary, a dual media system (public vs. commercial media) came into being after the political changes of 1990. As a consequence, the language of the media underwent serious changes, too. Meanwhile, numerous Hungarian linguists were involved in a debate about linguistic standards. The author thinks that linguistic norms for the media can be determined. Their characteristics include the following points. They should be based on a common standard variety of Hungarian (used both inside and outside Hungary); they should involve a standardised spelling/pronunciation relationship; they should be both descriptive and prescriptive at the same time; and they should be traditionalist and include aesthetic aspects, too.
Language use in court
The present paper deals with legal language in its Hungarian and English variants. The author gives a brief description of typical words and constructions found in written legal documents and in the spoken language of the courtroom, and pays special attention to the linguistic strategies used in court by lawyers and witnesses.
Issues in the language of musicology
In this paper, the author first discusses general characteristics of the language of musicology. Then, he summarises the history of musical terminology: Greek and Latin musical traditions, and the features and innovations of (Italian) Renaissance and Baroque, (German) Classicism and Romanticism, and those of the music of the 20th century. He investigates the origins and development of the theoretical terminology of musicology proper as well as those of practical terms pertaining to music (names of instruments, musicians’ jargon, etc.). However, he does not discuss terms referring to popular and folk music, the terminologies of non-European traditions, or obsolete terms. For lack of specialised literature connected to this topic, the author relies on the musicological literature, on books on professional language in general, as well as on linguistics handbooks.
Nyelv és iskola
This paper is a chapter from the forthcoming university textbook “Hungarian Grammar” (Borbála Keszler ed., Magyar grammatika. Budapest: Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó, to be published in 2000). It is a detailed study of the central constituent of the sentence: the predicate. After a description of the concept and function of the predicate, the part-of-speech specification of words used as predicates and the structural make-up of (simple, complex, double, and accumulated) predicates are discussed. In terms of semantic properties, the author primarily discusses what she calls ‘qualifying’ and ‘identifying’ predicates. She gives some advice with respect to the analysis of the latter type. The section on the relationship between subject and predicate explores the logical and grammatical relationship of those two constituents and provides theoretical evidence that the subject is a complement of the predicate, i. e. that the relationship between them is that of subordination. This is where agreement is also discussed. The introduction of the subject complement is followed by that of the direct object, adverbial, and attributive complements. The last section of the paper describes predicates involving an existential verb or copula, predicates whose recognition and classification is usually a problem for analysts.
The author characterises derivational affixes in terms of several criteria used in the international literature and gives a specific interpretation of the most important concepts related to derivation. These are: (i) productivity, (ii) frequency of occurrence, (iii) the function of derivation, and (iv) synonymy. She then devotes separate sections to general problems connected with derived words (like ‘How can you decide if a word is derived or not?’ or ‘In what cases does the segmentation of a form into stem and suffix constitute a problem?’), to morphological problems of derivational suffixes (like the issue of simple vs. complex derivational suffixes or that of non-alternating vs. alternating suffixes), to the classification of derivational suffixes in terms of the part-of-speech character of the base and of the derived form (verbalising, nominalising, participalising suffixes), as well as to the ordering regularities among derivational suffixes. Finally, she gives an overview of all productive derivational suffixes of present-day Hungarian.
Nyelv és stílus
Figures of speech as ‘irregularity’ and ‘regularity’
On the basis of the historical overview presented in the previous two papers (see Magyar Nyelvőr 123 (1999), pp. 292–302 and 395–403) and his own studies, the author comes to the conclusion that the ‘irregularity’ or ‘regularity’ of figurative speech are relative, rather than absolute, categories. In this respect, too, descriptive and expressive figures are to be distinguished. Both types are natural in their own settings (descriptive figures in everyday practical communication, expressive figures in poetic or literary discourse) and ‘irregular’ or special in that of the other type. Therefore, in abstracto, figures are both ‘irregular’ and ‘regular’ at the same time.
A nyelvtudomány műhelyéből
On classical and modern interpretations of sound changes
The Neogrammarians were the first scientists who dealt with the problems of sound changes. The present paper starts with their statements, some of which have been confirmed by modern psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic investigations. This study provides an overview of some types of sound changes and also reflects on their presumable reasons.
On the phonological status of secondary stress in Hungarian
The phonological significance of Hungarian secondary stresses has been denied recently, on grounds that no phonological rule has been found that is sensitive to their presence or absence. This is what the present article challenges. The most important claims of the article are the following: (a) those secondary stresses which appear in word-initial position are assigned at an earlier stage than the word-internal secondary stresses; (b) the latter kind of stresses, which have been reported to appear on certain (usually odd-numbered) syllables after the primary stress in Hungarian words, are the result of a postlexical rhythmical process; (c) they are, contrary to common beliefs, a property of phonological phrases (multisyllabic intonation contour carriers) and not of words; (d) the arguments against the phonological significance of Hungarian secondary stresses do not hold; (e) there is a phonological rule, viz. Contour Insertion, which requires secondary stresses, and so secondary stresses do have a phonological status in Hungarian.
Is Hungarian a ‘male language’?
In some languages, gender is an important grammatical property of nouns and related words, marked by distinct forms. In German, for example, all nouns are either masculine, feminine, or neuter. Grammatical genders often do not coincide with natural genders, a biological rather than linguistic classification. In Hungarian, there are no grammatical genders, but natural gender distinctions are made in many words referring to males and females (e.g. ‘widower/widow’, ‘hero/heroine’, ‘god/goddess’). Other male/female noun pairs show no morphological connection (e.g. ‘father/mother’, ‘bull/cow’). Some aspects of the use of such words is often claimed to reflect a male-oriented view of the world, going back to the time of the Bible. Many masculine words also refer generically to males and females. This fact has been claimed to foster sexual discrimination and lead to a denigration of the role of women in society. The paper argues against this opinion.
Szó- és szólásmagyarázatok
A Nyelvőr hírei
A Nyelvőr postájából