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In folklore research the notion and the meaning of “humour” are generally unclear and underdeveloped. Proverbs are usually considered as “witty”, therefore they seem to be “humorous”. But, in fact, the vast majority of proverbs are not humorous. “All proverbs” might be humorous in a specific context or usage, but this does not mean that the proverb texts themselves are humorous. The paper discusses a famous Hungarian proverb collection, published by Z. Ujváry, in which a single peasant informant, in each case with his own classification, wrote down 1,143 proverbs and sayings. Only 38 items (i.e. 3.5%) were labelled by him as “joking, ironic, mocking, malicious”, etc. The analysis of the proverb texts shows that only very few proverb texts (less than 1%) have a sense of humour. The author has used a modern Hungarian proverb collection as test material, and is convinced about the assumption: only a very small percentage of the proverb texts are humorous in themselves.

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In spite of the promising recent development of comparative musicology (also including the study of musical instruments) and of semiotics (also including musical semiotics), there is no summarizing attempt to describe and analyze the “signs on musical instruments” phenomena, i.e. carved or painted parts of the instruments. The zoomorphic and anthropomorphic construction and forms of musical instruments, and of their parts, is a wide-ranging field of study. The paper shows some examples of ancient and folk music instruments, by using the common (Peircian) terminology in describing their signs in the proper sense of the word. Animal shells used as bodies of instruments, snake- and dragon-formed instruments, amorous heads on string instruments, human heads and devilish forms of bagpipes, paintings on piano’s wooden cases, emblems or coats of arms of the builders of the instruments — just there are some cases of signs of musical instruments. There are further allusions to musical signs as well.

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A Brief Account of More than Two Hundred Years of Teaching

Folklore and Ethnography (Including Cultural Anthropology) at Hungarian Universities

Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
Author: Vilmos Voigt

Higher education, including “universities”, began in Hungary at the beginning of the 14th century. That system was disrupted by the Ottoman invasion in the first half of the 16th century. The present university system was launched by founding of a Jesuit university in Nagyszombat (1635), which later became the royal, then the state university of Hungary, and today is the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. There from about 1784 we can register teaching activity, which we understand today as directed towards folklore, ethnography, and later even towards cultural anthropology. From 1872 the “second” Hungarian state university was opened in Kolozsvár, which fled from there at the end of the First World War (and operated in Szeged from 1921 on), came back for some years during the Second World War, and was divided after the war again. By 1910 other state universities were created in Hungary, which work today in Debrecen and Pécs. Ethnography and folklore are now regularly represented there, in Debrecen from 1949 on, in Pécs from 1989 on. (But, of course, with some anteceding activities.) In Szeged the first professorship in ethnography (practically in folklore) was established in 1929, and after many years of interruption today there is a university institution of ethnography, folklore and cultural anthropology. A university chair for visual anthropology exists at the Miskolc university from 1982 on. At the recent ecclesiastical universities in Hungary there is no regular teaching on those topics. The report gives a brief history of the university institutions, focusing on their major directions, professors and chairmen including also references to university teaching of the other chairs close to folklore, ethnography and ethnology (cultural anthropology), as e.g. (physical) anthropology, geography, archaeology, Finno-Ugric studies, Oriental studies etc. The bibliographic references include the recent publications, with indications of other publications. Because the paper is the very first one of its kind, it could not be exhaustive or complete. The universities outside of Hungary (e.g. Cluj/ Napoca, Novi Sad, Bucureºti), where today we find programs on Hungarian folklore and ethnography, were not specially described in this paper. From the careful studies of research history in Hungary it is clear that at Hungarian universities - in the modern sense of the word - the teaching of folklore has about a 220 years old tradition. (See the facts about Dániel Cornides.) For “ethnology” (i.e. traditional cultures of the peoples around the world) we can refer to lectures from about 1873 (by János Hunfalvy). It was Antal Herrmann, from about 1898 (first in Kolozsvár, then in Szeged), who gave special university lectures on ethnography and folklore. Sándor Solymossy was the first appointed university teacher of “ethnology” (in fact of folklore) in Hungary (special lecturer in Budapest, professor at Szeged university 1929-1934). The full university institution of Hungarian ethnography and folklore was created in 1934 at the Budapest university, under the leadership of professor István Györffy. Today there is regular university teaching of folklore and ethnography in Budapest, Debrecen, Szeged and Pécs (to some extent in Miskolc too). Cultural anthropology (ethnology) has its university programs in Budapest and Miskolc (and to some extent it is represented at other universities too).

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The study of folk traditions may serve the development of ethnic and national identity. The history of such researches among the Finno-Ugric peoples in Russia proves that statement. The paper portrays the Finnish, Hungarian and Russian research history from the 18th century until today. The language, folklore and ethnography of Finno-Ugric peoples contributed much to the national identity of those peoples. Institutions in Finland, Hungary and Estonia served the same purpose. The attitude of the Russian state was impressive and it has changed several times. The role of the Pravoslav Church and its Kazan Priest’ Seminary deserves special attention. The paper is of summarizing character and in the bibliography only the most important publications are listed.

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Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
Authors: Béla Szakács, Nóra Bodosi-Kocsis, Sándor Varga, and Vilmos Voigt
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Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
Authors: Benedek Láng,, Ildikó Tamás,, Vilmos Voigt,, Judit Kis-Halas,, Tóth G. Péter,, and Gábor Vargyas
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Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
Authors: Katalin Paksa, Lujza Tari, Orsolya Gyöngyössy, Mária Domokos, Vilmos Voigt, and Sándor Varga
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