Shifts of emphasis in language cultivation
The paper reviews the beginnings of the journal Édes Anyanyelvünk (Our Mother Tongue), its first editorial board, and its role in the context of language cultivation in Hungary. Two areas are discussed in detail: the propagation of knowledge on language, and the recognition of new phenomena in language (langue) and in everyday language use (parole). The paper also deals with novel areas of inquiry (the interdependence between language use and behaviour, spoken language research), supporting its claims by a number of articles from the journal. The author takes issue with widespread views that deny the effectiveness and usefulness of language cultivation.
Blurred borderlines between theme and rheme in translated Hungarian Eurotexts
The paper deals with the consequences of regressive focussing in the Eurotexts translated from English into Hungarian. Regressive focussing means that the verb of the Hungarian sentence fulfils the task of focus selection a posteriori. This may lead to undesirable consequences in translated Hungarian texts, managed by translators and editors with the help of special strategies discussed in the paper.
Translation and language norms
Descriptive linguistics has in recent years emphasised the equal value of all language varieties and has discredited prescriptivist attitudes to language use. However, descriptivist approaches are inappropriate where evaluation of language use is inevitable: in pedagogical contexts and where public language use by language professionals is involved. The present paper argues that the basis of evaluation for language use is communicative efficiency, and that the observation of language norms, representing habitual, unmarked language use, plays an important role in communicative efficiency. Relevance theory provides a convenient framework for the evaluation of various kinds of language use, including translation.
Nyelv és stílus
On the history of functional stylistics
The speaker began by talking about Ch. Bally, the founder of functional stylistics, and then he discussed how his students, J. Marouzeau and M. Cressot elaborated on Bally’s legacy. Following a temporary setback, stylistics underwent a new period of upswing, as the speaker demonstrated by two examples. First, he discussed the yield of a conference on stylistics held late in 1991 at Sorbonne (cf. Qu’est-ce que le style? Ed. by Georges Molinié and Pierre Cahné, Paris, 1994). Second, he noted the fact that M. Cressot’s Le style et ses techniques (1947) appeared in a 13th edition in 1991. Then he gave a detailed analysis of whatever Laurence James changed in that edition and what he added to Cressot’s original discussion. The talk concluded by stating that functional stylistics is capable of renascence and can absorb many results of more recent approaches without the danger of eclecticism.
A nyelvtudomány műhelyéből
Words, morphemes, suffixes
This paper is a rejoinder to István Pete’s two articles in previous numbers of this periodical, in which he intends to “redefine” the concept of the morpheme, and within it that of the zero morpheme. I take issue with him on several counts; primarily by argving his view that the morpheme can be defined as a theory-independent notion, and claim that, just as in the case of the phoneme and most other terms in linguistics, what we understand by morpheme depends on the theses, principles, etc., of particular theories. In a modular grammar, for example, it is the needs of the Lexicon, i.e., the idiosyncratic elements to be listed, the “listemes” of di Sciullo and Williams (1987), that determine the basic units, which then other approaches might call morphemes. The rest is a defense of the analyses put forward in Kenesei (2000) and criticised by Pete (2004a, 2004b).
On some characteristics of specialised languages and specialised texts
The special vocabulary and cognitive syntax of a concrete language for special purposes (= technolect) differ from those of general-purpose standard language in a number of respects. The latter has functions that are alien from languages for special purposes. The primary function of technolects is their instrumental function. In addition, they are characterised by cognitive and communicative functions. However, functions that lie at the heart of natural language, such as the expressive, impressive, and poetic functions, do not belong to the set of functions of technolects. Special vocabularies are characterised by the principles of (1) adequacy, (2) actuality, and (3) productivity. The degree of adequacy is determined by the quantity of special knowledge involved, whereas that of actuality is determined by its quality. Productivity means the potential predicted for the given special branch of knowledge.
Parts of speech in grammar
The paper surveys the role and localisation of words and word classes in earlier and more recent descriptive and historical grammars of various languages. Where and how word classes are discussed in the individual grammars reflects, of course, their role in sentence or text formation. The paper also investigates the background of the issue of word classes being discussed within morphology, or as a chapter of syntax, discusses cases where there is no separate chapter on (the history of) parts of speech in a given grammar, but rather these issues occur scattered in various places, and finally: the advantages of a unified and concentrated discussion of word classes as a separate chapter of grammar.
Changes in historical syntax – with a pragmatic background
This paper discusses the relationship between grammar and pragmatics from the point of view of historical grammar writing. Language system provides a set of possibilities of variation, the selection among which is mainly directed by pragmatic factors in that certain types of texts may prefer certain syntactic phenomena. In turn, syntax thus influenced by language use may become the source of new grammatical changes. That is how language use and language system are integrated: hence, no opposition between pragmatics and grammar is worth pursuing.
The Hungarian pronominal system in a functionalist framework
In this paper the author summarises the contents of her earlier shorter articles on the referential interpretability of pronouns. She gives a detailed account of the issue of pronominal deixis and coreference, and compares the various types she sets up with the functional subgroups of pronouns. Both typical and special cases are discussed. The examples she gives include data from the register of spoken language, too.
On the notion of context
The background of this paper is what is called the pragmatic perspective. The notion of context as referring to the communicational circumstances of utterances has a crucial role in this approach to pragmatics, too. The notion of context stands for both the system of knowledge related to the communicational circumstances of an utterance and the process of putting that knowledge to use, i.e., it has both structural and procedural aspects. The paper discusses the components of context as well as the process of creating context.
The 17th-century language reform and the Hungarian medical language
Up to the end of the sixteenth century, the language of science in Hungary had been Latin. Conscious care about the Hungarian language only started in the first half of the seventeenth century. The credit for pioneering is due to Albert Szenczi Molnár who, in his grammars and dictionaries, started Hungarianising the language of science. Later, in the mid-seventeenth century, a kind of language cultivation movement began to take shape in Transylvania.