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Pluricentric Languages and Non-Dominant Varieties Worldwide

Part I: Pluricentric Languages across Continents. Features and Usage

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Edited By Rudolf Muhr

This is the first of two thematically arranged volumes with papers that were presented at the "World Conference of Pluricentric Languages and their non-dominant Varieties" (WCPCL). It comprises papers about 20 PCLs and 14 NDVs around the world. The second volume encompasses a further 17 papers about the pluricentricity of Portuguese and Spanish. The conference was held at the University of Graz (Austria) on July 8th-11th 2015. The papers fall into five categories: (1) Theoretical aspects of pluricentricity and the description of variation; (2) Different types of pluricentricity in differing environments; (3) African pluricentric languages and non-dominant varieties; (4) The pluricentricity of Arabic and Asian languages; (5) The pluricentricity of European languages inside Europe (Austrian German, Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian, Hungarian, Belgium Dutch, French, Greek, Swedish, Russian).

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Language cultivation vs. pluricentricity: the debate on Hungarian language use outside of Hungary

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Abstract

The paper provides an overview of the debate regarding the Hungarian language use outside of Hungary, which mainly focuses on the pluricentric character of Hungarian. This debate started in the early 1990s with the question of whether Hungarian speakers in the countries neighbouring Hungary should necessarily follow the norms of standard Hungarian used in Hungary. This position was attacked by language cultivators who emphasised the importance of maintaining a homogenous standard variety of Hungarian in Hungary, which should then also be used by the Hungarian-speaking communities living in the neighbouring countries. However, the possible negative consequences of this ideology have been pointed out by a younger generation of linguists with a sociolinguistic orientation. This opposition of views has provoked a vehement debate on the issue of pluricentricity. In the paper, I present the evolution of the debate while outlining its background and identifying its consequences.

1.   Introduction: Hungarian as a pluricentric language

Nowadays, the pluricentric character of the Hungarian language is broadly accepted. As István Lanstyák (1998a: 236) claims, it is a fact that is independent of the attitudes toward the sociolinguistic situation of the language. In the mid-1990s, the issue of Hungarian’s pluricentricity was analysed in detail by Lanstyák in a number of studies (see, e.g., 1998a, 1998b, 1998c).2 These findings appear ← 357 | 358 → to be confirmed by the contemporary perspective of the theory of pluricentric languages (see Muhr, 2012).

The pluricentric character...

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