HUNGARIAN LANGUAGE ENCLAVES AND DIALECT ENCLAVES IN ROMANIA
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Twentieth-century studies and publications in Hungarian linguistic geography have made the description of a number of isolated Hungarian language and dialect areas possible. These descriptions, however, had to ignore the eastern part of the territory where Hungarian is spoken, the Transylvanian region, given that it was only after 1990 that the publication of 'The Atlas of Hungarian Dialects in Romania' and other materials of linguistic geography had become feasible. Although the publication of those materials is not yet complete, the author thinks that it is now time to raise the issue, partly with the intention that its dialectological aspects be separated from sociolinguistic and ecolinguistic ones and also in order to propose, as a long-term research programme, the study of the Hungarian enclaves of the easternmost region. A fundamental characteristic of dialect enclaves is that they differ from surrounding areas in some of their relevant dialect-typological features. The regression of a formerly homogeneous dialect region (like the Mezoség region of Hungarian in Transylvania) due to the expansion of another language (Romanian, in this case) leaves scattered areas of the same type behind. These are enclaves in terms of their linguistic environment, but not in a dialectological sense. The consequences of demographic and intensive linguistic processes can be attested most clearly in fringe enclaves. As far as their origin goes, most fringe enclaves in Southern Transylvania exhibit features of the Székely dialect, as well as, to a lesser extent, those of the Mezoség dialect. Just like the Southern Transylvanian region as a whole, these include settlements whose Hungarian population is small and decreasing fast. The dialect of ethnic Germans around Nagykároly (Carei) who had turned Hungarian in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries retains some German traces, especially in phonetic/phonological and lexicological respects.
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