In this paper, the author poses three questions of historical phonology and gives explanations that are meant to be rational:
With respect to the Hungarian reflexes of Proto-Uralic/Proto-Finno-Ugric/Proto-Ugric word initial *p, *t, and *k, two reasons are suggested for the dual reflexes *p > H f ∼ b and *t > H t ∼ d: (a) the word internal (primary or secondary) voiced consonant triggered the assimilation (that is, voicing) of the initial consonant; (b) subsequently, due to an effort to eliminate homonymy, the closest congener of the initial consonant (that is, its voiced counterpart) replaced the original voiceless stop. It is also discussed why *k does not similarly have dual reflexes (k ∼ g) in Hungarian.
Concerning the phonological reality of Proto-Uralic/Proto-Finno-Ugric/Proto-Ugric *δ and *δ́, as well as the potential etymological correspondence of s-initial Finnic words with t-initial words of the other Uralic languages, it is proposed that *∧ and *∧́ should be assumed rather than *δ and *δ́, and the correspondence “Finnic s-∼ other Uralic t-” is explained by positing a PU/PFU *ϑ.
Reflexes in present-day Uralic languages of the PU/PFU word internal clusters “*l/*ľ /*r /*j/*δ (= *∧)/*δ́ (= *∧́) + (some vowel +) *m” are explained by the palatalisation and subsequent semivocalisation of the first consonant; the resulting semivowel either remained as it was, or underwent partial assimilation to the other consonant, or it was dropped: “C > Ć > j ≲ Ø ń”.
In the third and higher tens in certain Slavonic languages, e. g. in Slovenian and in Czech, ones are also expressed with the help of the structure used in German (e. g. ein-und-zwanzig), e. g. Slovenian ena-in-dvajset ‘21’ (~ dvajset ena ‘21’). Many scholars categorically explained it by the influence of the German language on the neighbouring Slavonic languages. The author doubts this point of view and demonstrates that in large parts of the Slavonic language area (a) apart from the common (dominant) “ten ‘ one” structure, among others, the “ten & one” structure does exist, (b) furthermore, “one & ten” is also found in Ukrainian dialects. Therefore, the structure corresponding to the one preferred in German could not be unknown in earlier stages of development of Slavonic languages, though as a result of German–Slavonic contacts, German as a language of high prestige in the borderland might contribute to the spread of the structure “one & ten” to some extent.
This paper deals with two ways of expressing possessive relationships, their morphological make-up and the possible circumstances of their emergence. One of these is the habitive construction (`X has Y'), whereas the other is the attributive possessive construction (`X's Y, the Y of X'). The former is a clause, whereas the latter is a phrase. It will be argued that both types of constructions may have emerged in the Uralic languages without the contribution of any foreign influence, but as far as the retention of the latter is concerned, foreign influence may have had a role in it in Uralic languages that were engaged in intensive Uralic--Turkic linguistic contacts.
Zsigmond Simonyi was the most influential Hungarian linguist of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. He acquired wide and deep professional knowledge at various universities in Hungary and abroad. His work was influenced by Neogrammarian ideas but his attitude to them was also critical to the necessary extent. This is demonstrated by the fact that he studied the contacts between Hungarian and the languages spoken in neighbouring countries in the wake of Schuchardt’s ideas. He was a Neogrammarian by education, but his views on historical linguistics were more modern, more akin to those of the younger generation of Neogrammarians. Thus, unlike most representatives of the classical Neogrammarian school, he did not restrict his attention to the phonological aspects of language change. Rather, he also studied larger units like phrases or sentences, as well as semantics. He attached special importance to discussing phenomena of the current spoken language, especially those of the various dialects, to keep track of linguistic facts as evidence for changes that have taken place. The enormous “Historical dictionary of Hungarian” that he co-authored with Gábor Szarvas has retained its value as a source of information to the present day, and continues to be an indispensable tool in research on etymology and historical linguistics.
As a successor of József Budenz, József Szinnyei was a dominant figure, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, of research on the Finno-Ugric languages in Hungary and of the associated teaching tasks at university level. He was an adherent of the Neogrammarian approach whose attention encompassed, in addition to the study of the other Finno-Ugric languages, Hungarian historical linguistics (especially historical phonology and the history of certain morphological formatives). In his research work as a linguist, historical studies were clearly dominant. His sphere of interest was centred upon the history of Hungarian, its Finno-Ugric background, and its comparison with related languages. In his comparative studies, he professed that language was continually changing but, since etymological studies could detect regular sound correspondences in the words of languages of the same family, sounds did not change randomly but in a systematic manner. He emphasized that sound law type changes could only be established on the basis of words that certainly, or at least highly probably, belonged together.
The paper sets out with an overview of preverbs and prefixes in the Uralic languages. It will be shown that most Uralic languages have separable preverbs and only a few have verbal prefixes. These verbal prefixes have been borrowed from Slavic. This means that preverbs never get morphologized in Uralic. We will informally call 'cohesion' the various positions of the preverb relative to the verb. The highest degree of cohesion is the case when the preverb is a genuine prefix; the next degree is represented by adverbial-like preverbs, which obligatorily occupy a preverbal position, and which form a kind of compound with the verb; a yet lower degree is shown by preverbs which can occupy both a preverbal and a postverbal position and some other elements can intervene between the preverb and the base verb; cohesion is greater if only clitical elements can occur between the preverb and the verb. The next stage is represented by the language in which in addition to clitics also some complements can occur in this position. Finally, cohesion is least strong in cases when practically any element can occur between the preverb and the verb. Cohesion should not be confounded with grammaticalization which plays an important role in the development of aspectual and aktionsart-meanings. In this case it can be shown for Hungarian that the development goes through the stages 'adverbial meaning ≯ adverbial meaning and aspectual meaning ≯ aspectual meaning ≯ aspectual meaning and aktionsart-meaning' for the old layer of preverbs and through the stages 'adverbial meaning ≯ adverbial meaning and aspectual meaning ≯ aspectual meaning and aktionsart-meaning' for more recent preverbs. In other words, preverbs may end up by having an aspectual and an aktionsart-meaning' but, as Hungarian shows, not all preverbs have reached this stage.