Summary The assimilation of the Jewish minority (as well as the German and Hungarian ones) was widely discussed in Czechoslovakia after 1918. The situation was more pressing in the Slovak part, especially due to a large population of mostly orthodox Jews in Carpathian Ruthenia. Their political, economic, and social emancipation was in the beginning stages compared with other parts of Central Europe. Gejza Vámoš (1901-1956) addressed the forms and conditions of Jewish assimilation in Slovakia in his novel Odlomená haluz (Broken Branch, 1934). Vámoš himself came from a Hungarian-speaking Jewish family and was an eager adherent of assimilation. His novel was set in Upper Hungary (Slovakia) during the last years of the Austro- Hungarian Monarchy, but he dealt with assimilation from the perspective of the contemporary Czechoslovak Republic. He discussed the degree of assimilation in different regions of Central Eastern Europe, and claimed that it was more successful in the southern than in the northern part. He also focused on the differences between Jews in Hungary itself and in Upper Hungary. Vámoš wished to show that the precondition of successful assimilation is for the Jews to forsake their outdated religious and mercantile practices. Jews should be proud of their historical tradition and intellectual heritage, but they should strive to adopt the culture, as well as the (secular) worldview and mentality, of the nation they are in. This general doctrine of assimilation is exemplified by the story of a Jewish boy who unexpectedly changes his identity and, taking his non-Jewish father's name, also accepts his father's worldview. This narrative line contains obvious features of Bildungsroman: a change of attitudes and perceptions, along with the mixing of the races, could lead to a new, united mankind. Vámoš believed in the power of education and the natural sciences. His theory of assimilation encompassed various ideological sources, such as social Darwinism, modern Jewish Messianism, as well as ideas on nation-building (including Masaryk's). Vámoš probably wished to act as a mediator in relations between Slovaks and Jews, and to break with the tradition in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Slovak literature of portraying Jews negatively. Nevertheless, his book - in spite of its vision of a united mankind and its praise of Jewish heritage - contained numerous negative stereotypes of Jews. When excerpts of the novel were published, several lawsuits were brought against Vámoš. The discussion of Broken Branch was centered round several questions: What role would this book play in the contemporary political situation in regard to Judaism? What is the nature of the relation between reality and fiction? What are the limits of artistic freedom? The reaction to the novel showed the political polarization of Slovak society in the 1930s, and contributed indirectly to Vámoš's decision to leave the country in 1939.
Research devoted to childhood as a social-cultural phenomenon has become more active in present-day science. Scientists study some peculiarities of the perception of child and childhood by society in different historical epochs, try to fix childhood limits and to define age periods within child age, and make a conclusion that in many cases, periods of man's life are correlated with social roles of people rather than with biological age, and they were formed under the influence of social institutes developing together with the evolution of society.
The present paper analyzes lexical means used in written records of the Ukrainian language in the 16th-18th centuries to denote child age and express the concept of an age differentiation of childhood. The written records of the Ukrainian language of different genres in the mentioned period were the sources of the research: e.g. business language records, P. Berynda's dictionary, religious texts, sermons, and poetic works.
Lexical units expressing child age to denote childhood as an age period of man's life and general names originating from colloquial language and taken from Church Slavonic were used to denote children. Written sources confirm an active use of hypocoristic forms.
The lack of a clear classification of childhood into separate age periods is seen in the system of children's names. Most of the general names denoting children did not represent an age gradation of childhood and only some words were special names of a child expressing an age characteristic: those were the names of a newly-born child and a baby.
Some adjectives combination with nouns to denote children indicated a relative age characteristic (little, minor) but the contexts in which phrases with the adjective little were used did not give a reason to distinguish between a little child and a young man.
In several sources, a seven-year period was classified as a special stage in a child's life, first of all, due to religious practice. According to Christian tradition, a child was considered to have no sins until the age of 7 since he or she cannot distinguish between good and bad. After that, he or she had to shrive. In secular practice, the age of 7 became the time when a child would be sent to an educational institution. The texts of pedagogical orientation prove the synonymy of common names denoting children with special names of the individuals who get education.
A differentiation according to an age characteristic “adulthood” vs. “minority” can be seen clearly, which is explained by the legal status of an adult and, correspondingly, is expressed by the corresponding lexical denotations. The vocabulary denoting this age period is mostly represented by sources written in business language.
One can see that lexical semantics, with help of which child age is marked in records of the Ukrainian language in the 16th-18th centuries, gives a general concept of childhood common for Ukrainian and European social communities of that time.
Atkine, V. (1997): The Evenki Language from the Yenisei to Sakhalin. In: Shoji, H. — Janhunen, J. (eds):
Northern Minority Languages: Problems of Survival
. Osaka (Senri Ethnological Studies 44), pp. 109
The EU Stabilization Conference (1995) provided for the observation of minority rights within the context of human rights (Point 5).
See Balogh, András (1998) Integráció és nemzeti érdek (Budapest: Kossuth
Authors:Judit Ács, Katalin Pajkossy, and András Kornai
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