The first Hungarian language magazine is one hundred and fifty years old

Hungarian version of the article: Százötven éves az első magyar nyelvvédő folyóirat

Written by: Pestbuda.hu

January 12, 2022 at 4:00 PM

One hundred and fifty years ago, on 12 January, 1872, the first issue of the Hungarian Language Guard magazine, edited by Gábor Szarvas, was published. In the 19th century, the paper took a stand in discussions of language renewal, opposing foreign turns. He also laid down rules for spelling and grammar, and he had great merit in learning about dialects and vernacular.

Following the strong German language influence at the end of the 19th century and the fight against excessive language renewal, the leaders of the Linguistics Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences decided to create a language-protecting, language-cleansing journal. Pál Gyulai, János Arany and László Arany elected Gábor Szarvas as editor after reading his study study entitled Hungarians. at the Catholic High School in Bratislava in 1866/67. Szarvas was transferred to Budapest with the help of József Eötvös, then in 1871 he was elected a corresponding member of the Academy and entrusted with the editing of the Hungarian Language Guard.

The Hungarian Language Guard was published in 1872 by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Photo: FSZEK Budapest Collection)

The first volume of the first year of the Hungarian Language Guard was published on 12 January, 1872. Gábor Szarvas published an article titled What do we want? "We want where fluctuating fund invested and established by improvising language reform brought against the rules for a market works, restoration of accuracy; where contact with foreign languages has cultivated frivolous terms, the promotion of purity; we want to facilitate the compilation of scientific Hungarian grammar that meets the requirements ...; and we want to achieve all this with the help of tools drawn from the life of the Hungarian language. - From this end we will research 1. the historical, 2. the vernacular; 3. Recent literature, especially the erroneous word forms and alienations in circulation, will be the subject of our excellent attention. ”

Gábor Szarvas, teacher, linguist, academic, the founder of Hungarian language education was the first editor of the Hungarian Language Guard (Source: mki.gov.hu)

The magazine was published quarterly to learn about language cultivation, vernacular, spelling and dialects. He also opposed violent language renewal and foreign turns, and clarified the boundaries of language renewal. Grammatical laws were also laid down by scholarly authors and great emphasis was placed on orthologist debates.

The second edition of the first volume of the Hungarian Language Guard in 1885 (Source: adt.arcanum.com)

Prominent representatives of contemporary Hungarian linguistics were grouped around the journal, such as Zsigmond Simonyi, an Esperantist, linguist, József Szinnyei, a linguist, Bernát Munkácsi, a Finno-Ugric linguist, and a Turkologist. Until the death of Gábor Szarvas, in 1895, he edited the Hungarian Language Guard, followed by Zsigmond Simonyi. 

The bust of Gábor Szarvas was inaugurated in 1899 in front of the building of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

During World War II, between 1940 and 1946, the operation of the Hungarian Language Guard was suspended. 

Until 1994, the Hungarian Language Guard was published by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as a journal of the Language Education Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and since 1994 it has been published by Eötvös Lóránd University.

Cover photo: The journal of the Linguistics Committee of the Hungarian Language Guard, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, was launched 150 years ago (Photo: adt.arcanum.com) 


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