THE HUNGARIAN LANGUAGE AND THE EUROPEAN UNION
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The author first makes four basic claims. (1) The fate of languages is determined by that of the communities of their speakers. (2) The competitiveness of a society includes linguistic competitiveness. (3) Changes in the lives of linguistic communities entail changes first in the status of their language, then in their language use and the individual speakers' competence, and finally in the system of the language. (4) Knowledge-based societies have better chances for the future than other societies. Consequently, the responsibility of the intelligentsia is great (also) in maintaining the social competitiveness of the linguistic community. The actual topic of this paper includes four issues: (a) the general language-policy situation of Hungarian today; (b) the dominance of English and related worries; (c) the European Union and Hungarian; and (d) the Hungarian spoken by minorities in neighbouring countries. Two problems are given more detailed treatment: (1) that of the updating of specialised languages, and (2) the future prospects of mother tongue use by Hungarian minorities. The author discusses the former problem because specialised languages are what make a language complete and competitive, hence their development carries great significance with respect to the survival of a language and is a timely problem today due to the propagation of English in the various special fields; and he discusses the latter problem because one third of native Hungarians live in a minority situation (as a consequence of the 1920 peace treaty of Trianon).
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