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Attempts at creating a new concept of literature •

(The Hungarian literature in Slovakia between the two world wars)

Hungarian Studies
Author: Zsófia Bárczi

Abstract

Using the term Hungarian literature in (Czecho-)Slovakia has been a problem for literary historiography specialised on reflecting on this corpus since the emergence of minority Hungarian literatures defined by geopolitics. Since the twenties onwards, the texts of the belletristic corpus have been asking, from time to time, about the relationships among space and identity, and providing answers from approaches heroic to ironic. The relationships of identity and space are reflected vigorously not only in belletristic representations but in the literary criticism that reflects on them and in literary historiography as well. In my study, I am going to follow the process having taken place in the literary-historical narrative between the two World Wars, which aimed to transform the geopolitical factors associated with identity into a constructed space through articulating the experience of intermediacy and reflecting on the “as-if” state of the intercultural existence of Hungarian literature in Slovakia.

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Abstract

The present study aims to map the reading comprehension skills of the primary school students in Hungary and Slovakia and to see what differences there are in the reading habits, self-assessment and actual performance in reading comprehension between the two groups.

A total of 240 survey respondents from the two countries and belonging to two age groups participated in this phase of research. The survey consisted of two parts. The first part was a self-completed questionnaire consisting of 23 questions, in which the students' sociological background, language use, reading habits, and subjective opinions related to the assessment of reading comprehension skills were assessed. The second part was a reading comprehension test, which consisted of three sets of texts and questions adapted to the cognitive abilities of the two age groups.

An analysis of the answers shows that there is no significant difference between the self-evaluation of students in the two countries regarding their reading comprehension skills. There is however a difference between the reading habits of Hungarian students in Hungary vs. in Slovakia in both age groups, and a significant difference between the results of the reading comprehension test in the groups of students from the two countries.

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This study overviews the most recent digital methods used in Slovakia Hungarian dialectology. Slovakia Hungarian dialectology started out by using the most modern digital methods in 2010 at Nitra/Nyitra university, creating regional dialect databases, first for the Žitný ostrov/Csallóköz region and then for the whole Slovakia Hungarian dialect region. Recording and processing data has been carried out with the help of the Bihalbocs software developed by Domokos Vékás and Fruzsina Sára Vargha in Hungary. The present paper first provides an overview of digital methods in dialectology and its results for Hungarian dialects, and then summarizes the results of the Nitra/Nyitra team so far, illustrating the diversity of digitized dialectological data. It discusses the findings of publications reporting on the results of this research, including maps showing the geographical and social distribution of linguistic phenomena and acoustic phonetic analyses of data aligned with sound files. Important output of this research also includes recently published audiobooks of Slovakia Hungarian dialects. The paper outlines further avenues of research based on the most recent findings.

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The present paper addresses the issue of the interrelatedness of Slovakia’s minority language policy and the bilingual name semiotic landscape; more specifically, the name semiotic landscape of settlements populated by Slovakia Hungarians and the way Slovakia’s laws regulating name use affect visual proper noun use in the country. The name semiotic landscape constitutes an integral part of the linguistic landscape, comprising proper nouns and extralinguistic signs referring to, or accompanying names in name plates, signage in public spaces, and on various other surfaces. The name semiotic landscape is a component, an aspect, and a consequence of language policy and name policy. The way minority proper nouns can be displayed in public spaces is regulated by laws approved by the state. Some areas (such as personal name plates, business cards, and names of private institutions) are unregulated, and the forms of proper nouns can be chosen freely. This paper seeks to answer the following questions: to what extent are minority language rights implemented in visual name use in settlements populated by Slovakia Hungarians, whether Hungarian name usage is spreading, and to what extent do signage and name plates contain proper nouns in a Hungarian form. In bilingual societies, proper nouns and other signs in the minority language increase the prestige of the minority language and have the function of marking ethnic identity. In this paper, the proper noun semiotic, place name semiotic, and institution name semiotic landscapes are investigated for various proper noun types in Slovakia Hungarian settlements.

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Abstract

The paper discusses the post-1990 historical developments in Central Europe as a specific instantiation of postcolonialism, particularly in the linguistic domain. After the severe communist rule and Soviet military occupation in most countries (which enjoyed a non-typical colonial status), this region was freed, but many socio-cultural features of culture, language policy, language use, and everyday communication activities show that many forms practiced during the colonial period are still maintained. These remnants show a certain postcolonial way of life in the region. The paper first surveys the literature, discussing the validity of the notion of postcolonialism for the given period in Central Europe. In the second part, general postcolonial features pertaining to the Hungarian language community are introduced. These features are detailed first focusing on the developments in Hungary, then on the minority Hungarian communities across the border around Hungary. Factors are presented including communicative systems, language policy, language variants, reflection, and self-reflection on the language community and identification, language rights, and public education, with attention paid to adherence to colonial schemas and the quick transition to postmodern communication forms.

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Abstract

The 1Sg forms of ik-verbs are identical in the definite and indefinite conjugations in Standard Hungarian. The use of nonstandard forms can evoke discrimination despite the fact that it has been well-known for a long time that by the 18th century the ik-paradigm survived only in some eastern and western dialects of the language (Simonyi, 1906a, p. 14; Brassai, 2011, p. 253; Benkő, 1992, p. 213). In the early 19th century the language revival movement revived the disappearing ik-conjugation (Révai, 1806) and made it part of the educated, literary, and later standard variety.

The present paper demonstrates how a paradigm that almost completely receded became the tool of language stigmatization as a result of the actions of those with linguistic power, and shows, on the basis of a questionnaire based study, to what extent the ik-paradigm is present in the language use of 14–19-year-olds at the beginning of the 21st century.

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The present study showcases the achievements of Slovakian Hungarian prose in the past three decades. It shows the changes in the literary institutional system brought about by the change of regime in 1989. It devotes detailed attention to the careers of Lajos Grendel and Alfonz Talamon; furthermore, it highlights some characteristic poetics and uses of language which resulted in intriguing works by Gábor Farnbauer, Attila Győry, Daniel Levicky Archleb, Zsófia Bárczi, József Gazdag, Norbert György, and Péter Hunčík. It also touches upon the experiments of the younger generation of prose writers such as Zoltán Szalay and Pál Száz.

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In my study I deal with the transcultural liteary-spacial position of contemporary Slovakian Hungarian prose. I have selected the works for interpretation from the representative writings of the last five years (Katarina Durica: Szlovákul szeretni [To love in Slovak]. Libri, Budapest, 2016; Anikó N. Tóth: Szabad ez a hely? [Is this seat free?]. Pesti Kallgiram Kft., Budapest, 2017; Pál Száz: Fűje sarjad mezőknek [Grass grows on meadows]. Pesti Kalligram Kft., Budapest, 2017). Due to their diversity in genre, language and subject, these works provide a cross-section of contemporary Slovakian Hungarian prose. The peculiarity of the corpus is that it reflects on the hibridity, inter- and multiculturalism typical for Central-European literature (cf. Welsch, 1999), and it also demonstrates translocality, multiculturalism, multilingualism and the experience of using multiple language varieties.

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Abstract

The present paper investigates the bilingualism of municipal offices of Hungarian dominant settlements in Southern Slovakia, focusing on communication in these offices in relation to the relevant legal regulations, specifically on the language of signage outside and inside the offices, the language choice of oral and written communication in administration, and the language of official means of communication. Throughout the paper, the author points out issues that make the practical application of legal regulations difficult, and comments on the basic conditions of the asserting minority language rights.

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