This talk does not give a comprehensive assessment of Hungarian linguistics of the past few decades and its teaching at the university. This would not have been possible in a single talk. My aim this time is simply to provide a few ideas on how to improve both. To that end, I conclude by giving a few suggestions. First, in order to reinforce new directions and new disciplines, a well-thoughtout and appropriately formulated terminological dictionary of cognitive linguistics, pragmatics, and discourse theory should be complied. Second, historical linguistics should be given more coverage in order for future teachers of Hungarian language and literature, at any level of grammar education, to have the origins and past of the phenomenon they are teaching at the back of their minds. And finally, last but not least: higher expectations and more rigour would be needed.
the situation of linguistics in universities, new disciplines of linguistics, more space for historical linguistics, higher requirements needed
Nyelv és iskola
The majority of schoolchildren neither understand nor like Hungarian grammar, the teaching material that helps the apperception of their native language and the exercise of exacting language use. The reason, on the one hand, is the ill-considered nature of the core curriculum of this subject and, on the other, the inappropriateness of the grammar textbooks used in the schools. The paper gives a comprehensive, albeit sketchy, overview of the situation of grammar teaching in this country.
grammar teaching, textbooks, general education
A nyelvtudomány műhelyéből
The paper uses contemporary sources (reviews, prospectuses) to discuss the modern single-volume French dictionary known as Le Petit Robert, and compares its main lexicographic features with those of other French dictionaries of the time.
dictionaries, lexicography, Le Petit Robert (1967)
Network science (network theory, network research) is a novel discipline that can be seen as either a theory or a method, just like mathematics or semiotics. The theoretical background is primarily provided by phenomena pertaining to the natural sciences. As a method, it can be used by particular sciences in their own area of research. In the wake of mathematical graph theory and the basic principles of network research various phenomena, including human language, can be investigated in terms of the concepts of small world, scale-independence, embeddedness, and weak ties. The methods of network science are also appropriate for investigating syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic networks within language. These studies also have predecessors that are independent of network science. The paper introduces initial and recent network theoretical approaches primarily for linguists, including early and later linguistic research in this area, giving a more detailed treatment to patterns of natural-social-cultural-linguistic functioning. In this case, too, language appears to be fit for modelling phenomena of diverse types.
network science, network research, small world, scale-independence, embeddedness, weak ties, linguistic networks
The category of animacy (animate vs. inanimate) may be encoded in language(s), even though entities are not always classified in terms of biological criteria. Animacy distinctions are expressed by languages (i) lexically (by different words) and/or (ii) by grammatical means. In languages where such distinctions are elevated to the rank of a grammatical category, the position of an entity denoted by a noun in the animacy hierarchy (Silverstein hierarchy) may influence a number of things like morpheme order (word order), suffixation, definiteness, case marking, possible transformations, etc. Of the many issues arising with respect to animacy distinctions, the author primarily deals with the encoding of this category in the grammar of languages, based on data and facts of some European languages (English, German, Italian, Russian, and Hungarian). Contrary to popular belief, Hungarian can also be seen to exhibit certain regularities (tendencies) related to the distinction between animate and inanimate entities; accordingly, the author discusses grammatical (morphological and syntactic) consequences of the category of animacy in Hungarian in a separate subsection.
animacy, human ~ nonhuman opposition (with ‘animal’ and ‘inanimate object’ both under the latter term), animacy hierarchy (Silverstein hierarchy), lexical encoding, grammatical encoding
The study explores the referential interpretation of narratives (cf. Georgakopoulou 2011) through a case study of computer-mediated narrative discourse, a thread of Hungarian stories on an online discussion site. From a social cognitive perspective (see Tomasello 1999, Sinha 2005, Verschueren 1999, Croft 2009), we interpret narrative discourses as joint attention scenes whose interacting participants contribute to the intersubjective construal of referential scenes (including narrative ones) by directing and following each other’s attention. Our key concern will be to examine (i) what directs our attention and how it does so during the processing of narratives, and (ii) how particular modes of directing attention invite particular modes of conceptualization. The thread we use as corpus is entitled Beégésem története ‘The story of my embarrassment’ (http://forum.index.hu/Article/showArticle?t=9017476 and la=125481821). It contains 26.276 posts at present, from which we selected 200 posts from the same period of time, by a variety of contributors, adding up to 216 narratives in total. Our present concern is to identify genre-specific construal patterns of internet-mediated storytelling and give a methodological foundation for quantitative studies of this kind. The starting point of our empirical study is that the production and interpretation of narratives depends on the discourse participants’ ability to construe both (i) the physical and social worlds of the stories in which the actions and situations unfold, and (ii) the associated mental worlds in which the agents’ active consciousness is being traced through time (see Tátrai 2015). In this presentation, we focus on how the mental worlds of the story’s characters are construed, which exhibits genrespecific features. We observe (i) that a story can only be interpreted as a matter of embarrassment if its participants (the undergoer and the witnesses) mentally process it as such, and (ii) that the construal of embarrassing stories can fit into various narrative schemes that are based on divergent ways in which the participants’ perspectives are organised.
social cognitive linguistics, narrative discourse, joint attention, genre of embarrassment, narrative scenes
In this paper, the development of kindergarten children’s ability to shift perspectives, the role of the egocentric point of departure, and the influence of theory-of-mind abilities on children’s performance were investigated. The results showed that the presence vs. absence of theory-of-mind abilities were of significant influence on the success of taking perspective. We can state that the relation of age and performance is also significant: around age 5.5, we encounter a developmental leap that is still missing in the age groups 3.5–4.5 and 4.5–5.5. We also found a correlation between age and error types. Egocentric errors, direction errors, and speaker-centric (i.e., Bunny-centric) errors show medium strong negative correlations with age. Egocentricity also has a correlation with task performance: the better the child’s performance, the fewer egocentric errors were found in his/her speech production. However, statistical analysis failed to reveal significant difference across types of perspective; the reason might be the low number of participants in the individual groups. Further investigations, modifying the present procedure at some points, and involving a larger number of subjects, may support or refute these results. In order to obtain more accurate results, I intend to carry out a more thoroughgoing investigation where the background of the participants will also be taken into consideration. The degree of egocentrism, as well as the ability to switch perspectives, may be influenced by certain sociological variables like number of siblings, the time of entering kindergarten, the child’s actual speech conditions and the pace of native language acquisition.
perspective structure, perspective shifting, egocentrism, theory of mind
In the area of health care – despite the application of evidence based therapies – patients’ low level of adherence to the therapy continues to raise difficulties. Behind the problem of non-adherence, psychological reasons can be seen to exist; their exploration and resolution can be fostered by appropriate communicative strategies on the part of medical experts. The application of Motivational Interviewing (MI) for increasing patients’ level of adherence appears to be a promising development in medical care. Furthermore, the legitimacy of the appropriate use of communicative strategies suggested by the method – (open) questions, behaviour indicating reflective listening attention, and giving information – is supported by the linguistic literature studying medical communication via conversation analysis. The paper summarizes pertinent literature in Hungary and abroad concerning the classification and use of questions in general and also specifically in medical communication, as well as possibilities of conveying information/diagnoses. Another central aim of the paper is to point out that patient-centred procedures and shared decision making can be facilitated, and patients’ satisfaction and motivation can be improved, by relying on therapists’ enhanced communicative skills. Linguistic studies based on pragmatic insights and using the method of Conversation Analysis may appreciably contribute to the improvement of those skills.
adherence, Motivational Interviewing, medical communication, patient-centred health care, Conversation Analysis, types of questions, conveyance of diagnosis
The present study deals with the perception of time-compressed and normal speech in a group of 10 congenitally blind individuals and of a sighted control group. According to the latest results about the auditory perception of blind people, it is clear that they show enhanced perceptual sensitivity for the identification of speech sounds, and those blind individuals who use Text-to-Speech systems in their everyday life, are able to understand ultra fast speech at a speed of 20–22 syllables/s. In contrast, the normal tempo of human speech is 4–5 syllables/s. I used two texts from two different scientific papers; I recorded them and the speed rate of the second text was manipulated by a Praat script. My hypothesis was that blind individuals would be more successful at the perception of the time-compressed text. Results show that blind individuals performed a bit better both at the explicating questions and at the true/false questions after the time-compressed text; however, the difference was not significant. To gather further information about the speech processing of the blind, it is necessary to investigate more sight-impaired informants.
early blindness, speech comprehension, time-compressed speech, Text-to-Speech systems, neuronal plasticity, embodiment, cognition
Professional linguistic mediators, i.e., translators and interpreters, are ‘career language users’, as their job consists in switching back and forth between two languages. High-level bi- or multilingualism is but a prerequisite of translating and interpreting successfully. In fact, linguistic mediators do not simply use several languages for their own purposes in their private lives or in their jobs; rather, they use their competence in two or more languages in order to satisfy other people’s communicative needs. Translators and interpreters are conscious language users; their multilingual mental lexicon involves stronger direct links between pairs of words (of identical meaning) and they have to establish a large number of permanent links for pairs of source language and target language items during their work. When they actually do interpreting, they only activate their target language lexicon and exclude source language lexical items from their speech production.
linguistic mediator, bilingualism, mental lexicon, translating and interpreting to language B.
Szó- és szólásmagyarázatok