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Linguistic Justice, van Parijs, and Esperanto

Abstract

In the European and world-wide scenario of linguistic justice offered by van Parijs (2011), it is argued that we need one lingua franca only and that the only suitable candidate is English. In order to sustain his argument, the author has to reject three known alternatives against the English-only scenario. The second alternative is Esperanto. Van Parijs argues that there are some inner defects in the Esperanto language, and therefore Esperanto is not suitable for the role of world-wide lingua franca. This paper offers counterarguments based on the evidence of facts, showing that if nowadays Esperanto is only a lesser-used language the reason is not in the inner traits of the language, rather in geopolitical decisions. I argue that in the most probable global scenario English still plays the actual major role, but along with other cultural languages being regional lingua francas.

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Maxi-Min Language Use A Critical Remark on a Concept by Philippe van Parijs

Abstract

Philippe van Parijs explains in Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World the concept of maxi-min language use as a process of language choice. He suggests that the language chosen as a common language should maximize the minimal competence of a community. Within a multilingual group of people, the chosen language is the language known best by a participant who knows it least. For obvious reasons, only English would qualify for having that status. This article argues that maxi-min is rather a normative concept, not only because the process itself remains empirically unfounded. Moreover, language choice is the result of complex social and psychological structures. As a descriptive process, the maxi-min choice happens in the reality fairly seldom, whereas the max-min use of languages seen as a normative process could be a very effective tool to measure linguistic justice.

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Methodological Issues in Monitoring the Hungarian Audiovisual Media in Romania

Abstract

The programme which was planned for more stages started in 2010 and undertook the monitoring of Hungarian news programmes (since 2011, cultural programmes have also been monitored) of national audiovisual media from different regions. The aim of monitoring these programmes is to study the strength of samples as to what extent professional speakers, reporters observe the norms of vernacular language and to what extent their use of language acts as part of sample language in a regional, bilingual, and dialectical environment.

In my study, I present the methodological questions of media monitoring (the aspects of sampling, the requirements regarding content and form in processing documentary material), paying attention to the differences between Romanian and Hungarian media-monitoring programmes.

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Name Geography beyond Borders
A Review of the Volume Ferenc Vörös (ed.) From Linguistic Geography to Name Geography
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On Linguistic Abilities, Multilingualism, and Linguistic Justice

Abstract

The notion of linguistic justice should be related to the concept of linguistic ease, by which we mean the full social and communicative freedom of concern of the speaker in a given social interaction involving the use of language(s) present in the society, according to the social norms of use. To acquire an acceptable degree of linguistic ease, the knowledge of at least one L2 is considered important. But the acquisition of a L2 is interfered by the previous linguistic skills of the learner/speaker who, in many cases, does not have a suitable competence even of the languages of the society in which he/she lives.

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Phenomena of Linguistic Interference in Old Hungarian Texts

Abstract

The analysis of interference is a popular topic in sociolinguistics, and the researchers addressing it investigate the phenomena of interference with a special regard to mother tongue texts of speakers living in a linguistic minority. In order to analyse the phenomenon, one needs to be clear about the identity of the author of the particular text, in addition to the linguistic environment, the circumstances in which the phenomenon appears, etc., and this is particularly difficult in the case of historical texts. The most frequent interference phenomenon in Old Hungarian texts is the occurrence of Latin elements in the utterances of Hungarian mother tongue speakers; nevertheless, we can find other linguistic interferences as within the regions inhabited by Hungarians the speakers came in contact with and learned the language(s) of several communities with other mother tongues. In this study, I analyse Romanian words and phrases that appear in the texts of Hungarian-language testimonies given by Romanians living in Transylvania; these linguistic elements cannot be classified as regional borrowings in the Hungarian lexicon, and if they can, they were used by the Hungarian speakers for a very short period of time. Thus, my paper analyses phenomena of interference that are connected to mother tongue elements appearing in a foreign language text.

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Why Should We Prevent a Global Anglo-American Life-World? A Democratic-Deliberative Answer

Abstract

Should English be promoted as a worldwide lingua franca for justice-related reasons? Philippe Van Parijs answers affirmatively in order to promote global distributive justice. In contrast, I argue that a rapid expansion of English could lead to one undesirable consequence that ought to be prevented: the globalization of an Anglo-American life-world that impoverishes democratic-deliberative debates. Inspired by John Stuart Mill, I will defend the idea that the more dominant the Anglo-American life-world is, the less diversity of life-worlds and, therefore, the less diversity of substantial voices in the global democratic-deliberative process there will be. It might be that more voices could be heard (because of the lingua franca), but with less substantial diversity of opinions. In that sense, the life-worlds (and language as an access key to them) have an instrumental value that enables plurality and better deliberative discussion. For that reason, I contend that there is a pro tanto reason to prevent the expansion of English as a lingua franca.

Open access
Beyond Assimilation and Integration: The Shift to ‘National’ and ‘Transnational’ Inclusion

Abstract

One of the key concepts of the MIME (Mobility and Inclusion in Multilingual Europe) project is, obviously, ‘inclusion’. However, precisely describing what the concept means is not as straightforward as it may seem. It has been used in different contexts in scientific literature. This paper attempts to contribute to the enfolding MIME-framework by critically reflecting upon the definition of ‘inclusion’. Drawing upon theories of acculturation, three core concepts in minority literature, namely ‘assimilation,’ ‘integration,’ and ‘inclusion’ will be examined, and their differences demarcated. In the light of recent developments, such as transnationalism, it will be determined which concept is best suited to analyse contemporary accommodation processes of minorities in their countries of residence. After examining the trade-off between mobility and inclusion, a central topic in all MIMErelated research, some general conclusions about ‘inclusion’ and diversitymanagement will be drawn.

Open access
If Yes, Why Not? Minority Language Use and Accommodation of Minority Language Rights in Slovakia

Abstract

This article gives an overview of the actual situation of language rights in Slovakia, focusing mainly on the minority language usage. The status of minority languages in Slovakia is still a politicized question and a series of conflicts arose especially between Slovak political elites and the representatives of ethnic Hungarians because of the controversial legislation of minority language rights. Slovakia was subjected in the field of minority protection and heavily criticized during the adoption of the State Language Law. Strict regulations on the use of state language have negative effects on the use of minority languages as well. In spite of the fact that in 1999 the Law on Use of Minority Languages was adopted and Slovakia ratified all of the international agreements in this field, the problem of minority language usage was not solved. This legal vacuum motivated the Hungarian civil sphere to take alternative actions in order to ensure bilingualism and promote the use of minority languages in official communication. Summarizing the legal accommodation of minority language rights, this paper is devoted to examine a recently less-observed civil activism supporting the use of regional languages in Slovakia.

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Illegal Immigration and Fight against Illegal Migration in Member States of the European Union

Abstract

In the modern world, processes of migration are expected to contribute to economic development, the interchange of progressive technologies and knowledge as well as the blending of cultures. Solving the problems linked to migration processes is an important task to be accomplished by various state policies of European Union member countries. Both internal and external reasons explain why such policies are treated with much consideration nowadays. The present paper describes the development of European Union regulations on immigration and asylum, while tackling certain - primarily legal - aspects of immigration policies, too. Its conclusion based on the discussion of processes and legal provisions relates to the possible future of Europe.

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