Tenets and principles of structuralism vs. cognitivism in linguistics
In this paper, the author tries to draft a comparison of the main characteristics of the two paradigms of linguistics mentioned in the title. The comparison is based on the following criteria: philosophical foundations, categories, definition of language, synchrony vs. diachrony, semantics and semantic analysis, the interpretation of pragmatics, semantics, and grammar, and the definition of concepts and meaning.
Keywords: structuralism, cognitivism, comparison, philosophical foundations, categories, language, pragmatics, semantics, concepts, meaning
The prevalence of analytic expressions in current Hungarian
Present-day Hungarian usage is characterised by a simultaneous emergence of certain opposite tendencies that partially counterbalance one another. Such a pair of tendencies is the parallel use of compressed (synthetic) vs. expanded (analytic) expressions. This paper discusses the analytic tendency, presenting both older and more recent examples, the latter mainly gleaned from web pages.
In the realm of phrasal syntax, a phenomenon that can be seen as a step in the analytic direction is the use of postpositional constructions (involving, e.g., felé 'toward', belül 'within', keretében 'in the compass/course of') rather than case-marked nouns. The paper devotes some space to what are called "recent postpositions" (e.g., alkalmával 'on the occasion of', érdekében 'for the sake of', segítségével 'with the help of', vonatkozásában 'with respect to') that are gradually developing, from nominal heads of possessive constructions with concrete meanings, into function words (postpositions). Their spreading use cannot be blamed since they express certain more abstract adverbial circumstances in a more accurate manner than the relevant case markers or older postpositions do.
In clausal syntax, the use of periphrastic constructions like választ ad 'offer an answer', kérdést intéz (valakihez) 'ask (somebody) a question', javaslatot tesz 'come forward with a suggestion', engedélyt ad 'grant permission', segítséget nyújt 'give (somebody) a helping hand', vádat emel 'level an accusation (against somebody)' rather than simple verbal predicates represents an analytic tendency. The earlier literature used to draw a distinction between necessary and acceptable periphrases like these and what were called "sprawling" or "long-winded" expressions that can be replaced by simple verb forms without any loss of meaning, e.g., használatát végzi 'make use of it' = használja 'use it'. However, in certain special contexts, especially in legal texts, such replacement is not feasible (e.g., házkutatást foganatosít 'execute a home-raid', magánindítványt tesz 'start a (private) prosecution (against somebody)'). Hence, these cases should be accepted as facts of language and one should stop criticising them.
The synthetic and analytic tendencies mutually complement and balance one another. Synthetic expressions fit in well with the typological character of Hungarian; but changes that point in the analytic direction also contribute to the versatility, adaptability, and stylistic polyphony of this language.
Keywords: analytic tendency, postpositional constructions, periphrastic constructions, typological character of Hungarian
Nyelv és stílus
Folk conceptualization as a value that creates meaning and forms style in István Sinka's poetry
Taking a functional-cognitive approach, the study reviews the issue of folk conceptualization as a factor that creates meaning and forms style – a value component that is still felt to be significant within the Hungarian speaking community. The study examines its operation in the context of István Sinka's poetry, based on internal components of meaning and the external language horizon, foregrounded in Sinka's poems, and it emphasizes the role of sensus communis in questions of meaning and style. The study discusses the interpretation of conceptualization, and outlines the historiography of the issue, including its precognitive results. It examines the manifestations of conceptualization: (a) meaning specification in the domain of nouns and noun phrases; (b) topological and spatial dimensions (inside–outside); social spaces (concrete–abstract, ahead– behind); (c) meaning structures of verbs as categories of motion in time and space; (d) personal names as conceptual structures, linguistic units that stand in the foreground of attention. Indirectly, the author also tries to establish how the issues and results of cognitive semantics can be drawn into the examination of literary style.
Keywords: folk conceptualization, objectivity, symbolicity, generality, meaning specification
A nyelvtudomány műhelyéből
On the nature of comparison
The author of this article makes twenty remarks about Gábor Székely's book Egy sajátos nyelvi jelenség, a fokozás [Comparison: a unique linguistic phenomenon]. He agrees with Székely regarding the main types of the comparison of adjectives in Hungarian, but offers some corrections and additions to his statements on morphological, lexical and syntactic types of comparison, mainly from a typological point of view.
Keywords: comparison, negation, comparative gradation, non-comparative gradation, adverb of degree
Remarks on the evolution of the Hungarian legal language
The evolution of professional languages is a long process, sometimes taking centuries. Isolated attempts can be seen in 17–18th century dictionaries, both in Hungary and in other Central European countries, but organized work that proactively interfered with the evolution of language only started in the 19th century, especially in its second half. By this time, neologistic movements had born crystallized results, enabling experts to focus on practical details like the definition of general legal and administrative terms in Hungarian. German had a major influence on the emergence of the legal terminology of specialized areas. The appearance of Hungarian legal terms exhibits three patterns: (1) direct, internal patterns; (2) the adaptation of foreign – primarily Latin – terms; and (3) loan translation. The principle of concept-based term formation and terminological classification, as well as the necessity of terminological standardization, first appeared in the early 19th century in the works of Sámuel Pápay. However, early efforts for the renewal of the Hungarian legal language were mostly characterized by individual attempts and debates between legal experts and linguists. The first professional dictionaries were merely vast collections of synonyms, hardly contributing to the organization of legal language. Today's linguistically and conceptually adequate legal terminology was standardized in the 20th century, with the publication of legal encyclopedias in which definitions were also provided.
Keywords: history of legal language, language reform, specialized dictionaries and handbooks of legal language, concept-based term formation