I. A magyar mint idegen nyelv
Formulaic sequences and common ground in Hungarian intercultural communication in the oral proficiency exam
Assuming that the discourses produced in the Conversation task of the Hungarian oral proficiency exam are special instances of intercultural communication, this paper investigates discourse-segments between non-native speakers of Hungarian with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds but with a prior acquaintance with each other, produced during the ECL language exam. In a socio-cognitive approach (Kecskes 2013/2014), the study focuses on the interaction between the egocentric and cooperative features of this special type of intercultural communication, and on their relation to actual common ground. The use of formulaic sequences (Wray 2002, 2008) is also investigated in regard to the discourse process, and special emphasis is placed on the role of the interlocutor.
The Hungarian pro-drop possessive construction and the definite article
The paper focuses on a lesser-explored phenomenon in Hungarian linguistics, i.e. the use of the definite article before Hungarian pro-drop possessive constructions. First a theoretical background is outlined for a framework of definiteness, familiarity, alienability, and subject–object asymmetry, and then, the findings of a corpus-driven research are presented. The results show that the (non-)appearance of the definite article can be attributed to a fine interplay of various factors, where the stronger often override the weaker. Our data suggest that pragmatic-like issues such as voice (narrator’s text vs. characters’ dialogue), listing (enumeration), and salience (e.g. the ambiguity of the antecedent) play a major role in the appearance or vanishing of the definite article before Hungarian pro-drop possessive constructions. Of secondary importance are semantic issues related to alien-ability, namely mental-spiritual states, +human feature, and body parts; and last come the grammatical aspects of (preverbal or postverbal) sentence position, focus category, and having adnominal dependents (e.g. adjectives or determiners). It is also marked that lexical constructions may annul any of the above factors.
Focal points in the development of conceptual fluency and metaphoric competence in Hungarian as a foreign language: insights of a small-scale study
Marco Danesi (1986) argues that in addition to high communicative and verbal competence, second language learners must also gain metaphoric competence in order to achieve native-like proficiency in the target language. Furthermore, he suggests that conceptual fluency, which he divides into three sub-competences, is just as teachable and learnable as any other linguistic competence (Danesi 1995). With these claims in mind, the present paper, based on the insights drawn from a small-scale empirical study, an error analysis, attempts to sketch out possible focal points in the teaching of conceptual fluency in Hungarian as a second language
Those verbs with a prefix! The use of corpora in the teaching of Hungarian as a foreign language
This article presents a possible classroom approach to verbs with a prefix, through the use of corpora. Language learners are considered to benefit significantly more from observing the behaviour of real-life utterances than from memorising abstract rules for their use. This is all the more relevant as the precise meaning of certain lexical items – and the way they are used by native speakers – cannot always be captured satisfactorily with rules alone. Examples taken from large linguistic databases and processed with simple statistical tools are, however, capable of providing first-hand information about the use of such items in real-life situations. Not only does an example-based approach allow us to analyse the occurring forms of words, but it also makes possible the observation of the context(s) in which they are used. The study of lists of examples, therefore, enables learners to refine and expand their understanding of how language actually works. The present paper focuses on Hungarian verbs with a prefix since they seem to present extreme problems for language learners. As a matter of fact, in lack of a comprehensive linguistic description, prefixed Hungarian verbs are a frequent source of error for learners trying to employ them. For the present purpose, two verbs with similar meanings (eljön and megjön – lit. arrive) have been selected to illustrate the relevance and usefulness of the proposed corpus-based analysis. The method presented is aimed to provide Hungarian as a foreign language teachers with practical tools to help their learners build real-life linguistic experience and understand the insights that can be gained from the use of corpora.
„Megjött a tavasz” and „Eljött a tavasz” (‘Spring is here’) What is the difference?
Both Hungarian sentences “Megjött a tavasz” and “Eljött a tavasz” mean ‘Spring has come’, with no obvious difference in aspect or function. This paper uses the cognitive framework of image schema, focusing, foregrounding and activation to investigate whether there is any pragmatic difference between the two sentences. Historically, both verbal prefixes meg and el evolved from adverbial elements indicating direction of movement – "back" and "off" respectively. This movement consists of a starting point, a path, and an end-point. It is argued in the paper that the perfectivising function of the verbal prefixes today originates in the central image schema of movement and emerged through metonymical extension, end-point focusing and path backgrounding. The verbal prefix meg has almost entirely grammaticalised by now, and it solely focuses on the end-point of the process. On the other hand, the verbal prefix el has not yet grammaticalized completely, and it does not only focuses on the end-point, but also on the path of the movement. The paper offers an analysis to show how this line of explanation can account for the subtle difference in the use of the two prefixed verbs.
II. Nyelv és kultúra
A Hungarian Reform-era Conservative on the Hungarian language and culture: Aurél Dessewffy
Count Aurél Dessewffy (1808–1842) was an eminent member of the Hungarian aristocracy and a prominent figure in the Reform Movement of the 19th century in Hungary. He pursued a wide range of activities: he was a writer, a publicist, an editor, and a politician; he played an important part in the Hungarian Conservative Party, and he was a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and a co-founder of the Kisfaludy Society. He spoke eight languages and was one of the most learned men of his time. He took an active part in the political and academic struggles for the Hungarian language. He believed that speaking Hungarian was a compulsory element of patriotism for the politically active Hungarian aristocracy, and he advocated his views on this at various platforms from politics to journalism and pedagogy. He was deeply concerned about the false image of Hungary and Hungarian culture so prevalent outside the country at the time. He put enormous efforts into the task of forming a positive image of Hungary through his travels, his political connections and his foreign publications.
The German and the Italian prologue of the Hungarian Bard
The theme of the paper is highly relevant with the looming 100th anniversary of the first performance of Béla Bartók’s opera Bluebeard's Castle, which originally took place at the Royal Hungarian Opera House in Budapest on May 24th in 1918. The paper takes a special approach to the archaic Prologue, interpreting it as a symbolic key to the opera in its entirety. It is shown how the Prologue makes the many layers of possible connotations – corresponding to various psychological, sociological, aesthetic-metalinguistic and philosophical-cognitive interpretations – more easily accessible to the recipient, and how it focuses on the inner stages of the soul. Accordingly, it is argued that in any staging of the world-famous opera outside Hungary, it is a sine qua non for the success of the show to open with the prologue of the bard. The intertextual and metalinguistic-phatic references in the varying quality Italian and German text-versions also point to the importance of the prologue