Notes on the concept of „grammaticality"
Attempts at defining „grammaticality" by stable rules face the problem that the conditions of applying those rules are unstable and changeable.
The communicative space that forms the background of linguistic expressions keeps changing as linguistic activity unfolds and that changeability crucially affects the evaluation of any expression that is based on its focusing in the given space. The division of linguistic expressions into correct and incorrect ones on the basis of how they relate to the established rules means that „ungrammatical" expressions invariably violate some codified constraint. The focusing of linguistic expressions in the communicative space is never stationary, as it has to be adapted to variable circumstances, context, and content, as well as to the variable mental status of the language user.
The claim that language is a mechanism based on an axiomatic rule system that only allows grammatical expressions to be generated reflects a Utopian endeavour to create some kind of ideal order in it. If „untypical or incorrect" linguistic phenomena are taken to fall outside the range of pre-established rules, even the idea of linguistic system is undermined.
On the system of spelling compounds as one or two words
This paper surveys the system of spelling compounds as presented in the current (11th) edition of Rules of Hungarian Orthography. Various problems are identified on the basis of an analysis of the chapter of the rulebook concerning the principles of spelling compounds. The presence and proportions of grammatical and spelling-specific considerations in the relevant rules are discussed. Problems are pointed out with respect to the content or phrasing of individual rules, or to the specific examples occurring in them. The author is a member of the Hungarian Language Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, working at present on the preparation of the 12th edition of Rules of Hungarian Orthography. In the framework of that larger project, the author presents suggestions as to how the problems noted could be overcome, and presents a new version of the relevant chapter that she wrote with that aim in mind.
Nyelv és stílus
Once more on Kazinczy's views on stylistics
The author has two reasons for returning to the study of Kazinczy's views on style. First, both linguistics and stylistics have progressed substantially during the past two or three decades. On the other hand, in the course of editing his recently published Encyclopaedia of Figures, he had the occasion to examine Adelung's and Révai's stylistic views in detail. In this paper, he first enumerates a number of reasons why Kazinczy's attention was drawn to stylistics in the first place. He then emphasises that Kazinczy thought the most important issues were general stylistic requirements, as well as stylistic phenomena permeating the whole of a literary piece, also known as text-stylistic phenomena. He thought the fundamental requirement of style was what he called adequacy: the accurate expression of thoughts and feelings. Incidentally, he regarded both language and style from the point of view of belles lettres. His most important criteria of assessing a literary piece were taste and the example set by the best writers. He was aware that linguistic and stylistic polyphony (Vieltönigkeit) was a prerequisite of adequacy. He also saw the importance of stylistic registers, nuances, and periods, as well as the stylistic value of phenomena pertaining to individual levels of language.
A quantitative method of characterising prose style
(Gyula Krúdy's three novels and ten short stories from 1913)
The introductory section of this paper discusses the possibilities and limitations of the application of quantitative methods in stylistics. The author, backing up a dictum by Fónagy (1999), opines that statistical methods are indeed very appropriate tools in characterizing individual writers' styles.
The core part of the paper compares three novels written in parallel by Gyula Krúdy in the first months of 1913 (A pajzsos ember [The Man with the Shield], Mákvirágok kertje [A Bunch of Scamps], A vörös postakocsi [The Crimson Coach]) and ten of his short stories, published in the same year, in terms of the length of the linguistic units (syllables, words, clauses, sentences, and paragraphs) making them up. The corpus consists of 54 120 running words (tokens). The results are summarised in tables, while the detailed data are given in the Appendix. On the basis of six characteristic measures (1. word length in syllables, 2. clause length in words, 3. sentence length in clauses, 4. sentence length in words, 5. paragraph length in sentences, 6. paragraph length in clauses), the author draws up the 'stylogram' of each of the four subcorpora (the three novels and the set of short stories). The figure shows that the hexagons illustrating the individual subcorpora are geometrically related as similars.
The syntactic and textological analyses are complemented by those of the proportions of the three main parts of speech (adjectives, nouns, verbs) and of the frequency of linguistic figures. The proportions of adjectives vs. nouns, nouns vs. verbs, and adjectives vs. verbs, as well as that of the number linguistic figures vs. the number of clauses, are good indicators of the style of each subcorpus.
The morals of the quantitative analysis based on a total of ten criteria are summarised as follows. Krúdy reached a turning point in his writer's career in 1913, increasingly finding his real voice. (The author hypothesises that this turning point took place in The Crimson Coach and especially in the short stories written subsequently.) That 'genuine' Krúdy style is characterised by increasingly structured sentences and texts (growing proportion of clauses per sentence), increasingly saturated clauses and sentences (growing number of words in both), as well as an increasingly static and picturesque way of seeing things, and a growing number of linguistic figures.
A nyelvtudomány műhelyéből
On the prose rhythm of everyday speech
Most studies on prose rhythm deal with issues concerning the rhythmicity of artistic/rhetorical prose as part of the rhythmics of poetry and/or literary prose. However, the domain of inquiry into linguistic rhythm also includes the rhythm of everyday speech, or 'speech rhythm' for short. Speech rhythm includes, albeit not in the same artistic order and not with the same degree of expressivity, all components whose regular recurrence makes a poem a poem: articulatory rhythm, based on the alternating durations of syllables including short vs. long vowels; stress-based rhythm, produced by the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables, words, or roughly isochronous stretches of speech containing more or less material; structural rhythm, based on the alternation of sentences with parallel structure; and overall text rhythm that comes from the proportions of various constituents within the structure of the text.
What provokes wrong word access
One of the characteristic features of spontaneous speech is the occurrence of disfluency phenomena. Due to the covert nature of the speech planning process, one can only rely on surface phenomena in looking for the causes of a given disfluency phenomenon. It is, however, an open issue whether the same surface phenomenon is invariably caused by the same functional disturbance or whether different disturbances necessarily lead to different types of disfluency. Wrong word access and its subtype, false start, may also have a number of different causes that may also underlie other surface phenomena. On the basis of a corpus-based study, the following such causes have been found: phonetic similarity, grammatical correspondence, semantic similarity, meaning condensation, confusion of idioms, as well as possible effects of the speech situation. These causes do not form distinct groups; they often occur together, reinforcing one another, and their results may be other types of errors (contamination, grammatical error, etc.) as well. Thus, very complex disturbances of function and implementation can be seen to underlie cases of wrong word access, ones that may also play a role in producing other disfluency phenomena.
Szó- és szólásmagyarázatok
A Nyelvőr hírei