The linguistic image of earth/ground/land in Hungarian
The reconstruction of the linguistic image of the world as a language and culture specific phenomenon makes it possible to gain a possibly adequate idea of the categorisation of the world by humans and the conceptualisation of information thus attained. In this paper, the author presents the linguistic image of the notion föld ‘earth/ground/land’ in the Hungarian language. He makes use of the following aspects (or profiles): (1) how the earth (ground, land) is seen within the conceptual framework of space; (2) what properties are attributed to it; (3) the earth (ground, land) as an object on which some activity is going on; (4) land (estate) as an object that somebody possesses; (5) earth (soil) as a material used for some purpose; (6) land as a territory marked out for some utilisation; (7) the sacral nature of earth/land; (8) the lexeme föld as an element of the linguistic axiological system. The author is convinced that without reconstructing the linguistic image of the world it is impossible to adequately describe the semantics of natural language. Semantic theories based on the decomposition of meaning are inadequate because (a) binary oppositions have proved to be an insufficient tool in semantics; (b) leaving the context out of consideration has often led to unreliability of the analysis; (c) the universality of primary semantic features remains a debated issue.
The relationship between subject and predicate: subordination or coordination?
The aim of this paper is to clarify the issue raised in the title with respect to the subject/predicate relationship in Hungarian. In the relevant literature of recent years, the coordination view and that claiming the primacy of the predicate are represented side by side, in a mutually exclusive manner. The problem is based on the fact that two rather disparate subject/predicate constructions of Hungarian (Verbal predicate construction and complex predicate construction – where the latter subsumes both what are called nominal an nominal-verbal predicates) are treated by the relevant theories under the same heading.
The author first confronts the two views with the issue of the argumenthood of subjects. It is clear that, in the case of verbal predicates, the subject is a lexically specified argument, whereas in the case of complex predicates the subject can only be seen as a structural argument. That duality leads to contradiction in both views, albeit in two different ways. On the basis of four tests – agreement, question test, transformability, replacement by subordinate clause – the author then goes on to prove that the two types of subject/predicate constructions behave differently. The final conclusion that can be drawn from the tests is that the verbal predicate construction exhibits a fully grammaticalised subordinate syntagmatic relationship, whereas in constructions involving complex predicates two kinds of relationships are simultaneously represented: a logical predicative one and a grammatical one. The logical predicative one is concerned the subject and the nominal part of the predicate, and two different kinds of grammatical relationships are found between the copula and the nominal part of the predicate (a grammatical relationship of the morphological kind) and between the subject and that morphological construction (a grammatical relationship of the syntactic kind). Thus, the syntactic character realised in a complex predicate is not a lexically given property.
In sum, it is clear that, due to the differences between the two types of predicates, the subject/predicate relationship of Hungarian cannot be described in a unified manner, under the same set of theoretical assumptions.
Nép és nyelv
There is a dog in the garden
Analytic metaphors involving names of domestic animals include a conspicuously large number of compounds including kutya ‘dog’ as an attributive anterior constituent (along with those including ló ‘horse’). The author discusses such compounds in this paper. He also writes about the intuitive background of name giving and concludes that plants referred to by such compounds are frequently useless or even undesirable for the name giving community. They include weeds, toxic plants, and fruits that are not consumed with pleasure. The anterior constituent is an attribute of distinction. In contrast to useful, well-thought-of plants denoted by the posterior constituent alone, terms prefixed by kutya refer to wild-growing, inferior species. On the other hand, the anterior constituent may also refer to the fact that the plant in question is either an important medicine or else a seriously harmful poison for dogs.
Nyelv és iskola
On overlapping parts of speech
This paper discusses the issue of overlapping parts of speech as an instance of multiple part-of-speech affiliation. At postgraduate teacher training sessions, the question often arises why the recent university textbook Magyar grammatika [Hungarian grammar] does not refer to this category with respect to relative pronouns, relative pronominal adverbials, or postposition/adjectives. The author argues that these parts of speech do not simultaneously belong to pronouns and conjunctions, respectively adjectives and postpositions, that is, to basic parts of speech (content words) and relational parts of speech (function words), hence they do not instantiate overlapping parts of speech, either.
Nyelv és stílus
Parallel translations: an exceptional chance for stylistics
A comparison of two Hungarian translations of a poem by Sarah Kirsch makes it possible for the author to discuss the following issues: 1. The value (respectively, vagueness) of linguistic terms as used in stylistics, with special reference to connotation, frame of thought (frame, script, scenario, etc.), and implications. 2. The issue of evaluating perceptions resulting from the comparison: the possibility of inserting the categories applied into a hermeneutical framework. 3. The relevance of the results of text analysis for linguistic studies, especially in terms of ‘effectiveness’ and ‘primary meaning’.
Kossuth’s language and style on the basis of nine of his official letters from 1845–1846
The author summarises the main topics of the nine letters concerned. Then he lists Kossuth’s general characteristics that have a bearing on his style (political turn of mind, modesty and politeness, emotionality), as well as some more specific traits that influence his style more directly (lively intellect, logical thinking; an unparalleled method for convincing people and refuting arguments; ability to command a wide range of different styles; a good sense of literature and of linguistic innovation). He briefly discusses the factors that had an impact on Kossuth’s linguistic/stylistic talents (his studies, his career as a lawyer, his work as the editor of Parliamentary and Municipal Records, and his journalism in general, etc.). The paper then goes on to discuss the essence of official and epistolary style, as well as the way these are represented in the letters at hand: by the use of special terms (those coming from the Language Reform and those borrowed from other languages) and by grammatical properties (the pronouns ezen ‘this’ and azon ‘that’, a number of postpositions, some of them quite recently in use then, the use of plural nouns with quantifiers like sok ‘many’, incorporated (embedded) clauses, etc., and the terms of address and closing formulas used in the letters). The paper discusses the stylistic traits of Kossuth’s writings in general and of these letters in particular: their informality and naturalness, the frequent occurrence of maxims in them, the stylistic variety of lexical items and figures. Finally, the author characterises the literary language and orthography appearing in the letters. In conclusion, he states that the letters exhibit a polite, modest, and not overly complicated official style.
Semantic recurrence in Krúdy’s short story Sinbad’s Trip to Death
This paper examines recurrence – as a linguistic phenomenon that influences the meaning of a text – in a well-known short story by Gyula Krúdy. The author concludes that recurrence appears in a number of different forms and that these forms play various important roles in syntax. Therefore, recurrence has an essential function in the meaningful interpretation of a text, too. The author claims that this short story is built on the paradox of life and death. He also finds it important to point out that the stylistic and syntactic examination of the text not only makes it possible to provide new interpretations, but it also enables him to analyse this specific genre – intermediate between novel and short story proper – more precisely.
A Nyelvtudomány műhelyéből
An investigation of speaker height, weight, and age identification
The purpose of this investigation was to determine if listeners were capable of speaker height, weight, and age identification from recorded speech samples. A 16-second speech sample was recorded as spoken by 10 speakers, 5 females and 5 males. A master tape containing the randomly arranged recorded speech samples of all speakers was played to a group of 32 subjects for speaker height, weight, and age identification purposes. Results indicate that the subjects were able to identify the speakers’ age relatively well and that they were capable, with better than chance guessing accuracy, of identifying the height of the speakers as well. The data of this experiment suggest that the listeners’ estimation of the speakers’ weight is little better than mere guessing. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of speaker recognition research.
Szó- és szólásmagyarázatok