Testing linguistic awareness among learners of Hungarian

Judit Navracsics, G. Sáry, Szilvia Bátyi, Csilla Varga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Hungarian is a non-Indo-European language, and like other Finno-Ugric languages is agglutinative, which means that word meanings are modified by adding different and multiple endings or suffixes to the words, rather than using prepositions. It differs greatly from Indo-European languages, and thus it is considered ‘unlearnable’ for most speakers of European languages. Hungarian is a language island in the middle of Europe surrounded by Germanic, Neo-Latin and Slavic languages. In spite of its uniqueness, it has survived many centuries, and even now the Hungarian language has 15 million speakers worldwide. It may play different roles in its speakers’ lives: a first language, a heritage language, a language of the environment and a foreign language. In our study, we examine the language attitude of students of Hungarian with different linguistic backgrounds and we take into consideration their linguistic repertoire. The subjects of the study are citizens of other countries living temporarily in Hungary: Erasmus students, who have no Hungarian history in the family and learn Hungarian as a foreign language while staying in Hungary, and students of Balassi Institute with some Hungarian background in the family and who are learning Hungarian as a heritage language. By means of a questionnaire, a language decision task, a semantic rhyming and a phonological rhyming test, we study their attitude to the Hungarian language. We analyze the motivating factors for their stay in Hungary and their linguistic awareness. Our goal is to make Hungary more attractive for non-Hungarian speakers and motivate them in learning the Hungarian language and culture, and thus to contribute to the language maintenance activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-128
Number of pages18
JournalSecond Language Learning and Teaching
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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