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Research Group for Hungarian Usage


     Chair: Erzsébet Heltainé Nagy, senior research fellow


     Phone: (36-1) 3214-830/124

     Helpline: (36-1) 3214-830/250 or 123



The research topic which received priority at the Department of Normative Linguistics recently and continues to do so at the present is the investigation of the issue of normativity. The project Normative linguistic studies on present-day verb usage, which was supported by the National Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) and finished in 2002, constituted the beginning of a long-term research program. The outcome of the previous stages of research is a basic corpus of the size of 255 MB, with data on the language of the press from the Hungarian National Corpus (created at the Department of Corpus Linguistics at the Institute). So far the corpus has been analyzed as part of the search for the most important variables determining the present-day uses of verbs, and particular instances of verbal derivation, inflection, arguments, and the behaviour of  prefixed verbs have been studied on the basis of empirical data. The basic corpus is also accessible to other researchers, and it is suitable for grammatical, semantic and lexicological investigations as well.

A volume summarizing the results of an investigation of the typological and stylistic properties of scientific texts is currently being published by the institute.

A monograph was published by Erzsébet Heltainé Nagy at the institute in 2000On the topic of the cultivation of language by writers in the second half of the 20th century, in the series Studia et dissertationes. (The Hungarian title is Írói nyelvművelés Magyarországon a XX. század második felében.)

The dictionary of names by János Ladó and Ágnes Bíró containing 2606 male and female first names, which provides information about the origin, meaning, related forms and nicknames belonging to each name, was published in 1998.

A new project launched by the department in 2003 is the investigation of linguistic attitudes towards codified linguistic forms. In the first phase of the research, colleagues will perform a survey among university and college students with the help of questionnaires. All researchers at the department will participate in the project.

The research topics pursued individually by the colleagues at the department include stylistics, language planning, language strategy, discourse analysis, text typology, onomastics, theoretical and practical aspects of professional languages, and the investigation of minority language use.

The department also contributes to the fulfillment of certain expectations of the public for linguists, which are related to the cultivation of linguistic culture or to raising of the level of education about language. To accomplish these tasks, colleagues at the department operate a help line on every working day of the week, and answer questions asked by the public over the phone, in writing, or electronically about grammatical correctness, spelling, name-giving, name change, or other domains of language use. The colleagues also take part in disseminating knowledge about language: they give lectures during The Week of the Hungarian Language and participate in programmes produced by Hungarian Radio.

The department also serves the public by giving professional advice on debatable questions related to the registration of births and marriages to help the enforcement of the modification of the law-decree No. 17 of 1982 concerning birth certificates, marriage procedure, and name-bearing, which came into effect on 15 December 2002, as well as on the issue to what extent certain words of foreign origin are to be considered naturalized in Hungarian for the enforcement of law No. XCVI of 2001, which came into effect on 1 January 2003 on the necessity to publish commercial ads, shop names and certain notices of public interest in Hungarian.