Sent: Friday, December 24, 2010 6:44 AM
Subject: The Hungarian language
By Grover S. Krantz
PETER LANG, New York – Bern – Frankfurt am Main – Paris, 1988.
American University Studies. Series XI. Anthropology and Sociology. Vol. 26.
(Krantz was the teacher of Physical Anthropology at Washington State University; he developed a model by which he studied the origin of the European languages.)
Page 10-11: “This would include, for example, developing Greek in its present area since 6500 B. C., and Celtic in Ireland since 3500 B. C. The antiquity of Magyar in Hungary may be equally surprising; I find it to be a Mesolithic speech that predates Neolithic entry.”
Page 11: “It is usually stated that the Uralic Magyars Moved into Hungary from an eastern source in the 9th Century A. D. I find instead that all the other Uralic speakers expended out of Hungary is the opposite direction, and at a much earlier date.”
Page 64: “The frontier of the full Neolithic economy continued to move eastward and eventually pinched out between the converging lines of the 120-day growing season on the north and the edge of deep soils on the south. These met on the western slopes of the Ural Mountains, and this point should have been reached about 1750 B. C. Beyond the 120-day season, both north and east, there would be the reindeer-based Uralic pastoralists. To the south, in the deep soils, would be the cattle-based Altaic pastoralists.”
(So, there you have it. This is the historic background of the relationship between the Uralic and Altaic people, and their language. The eastward expansion also supported by archeological finds.)
Page 72: “Uralic languages today are spoken across much of Northern Europe and Asia, and in Hungary. Within the U.S.S.R. the Uralic Altaic minorities are now distributed with the former mostly in the forest zone and the latter in the steppes. According to most authorities the original Uralic homeland was in the Ural Mountain area, hence the name. From this central location these people supposedly spread out in all directions to reach their present distribution, and entered Hungary in 896 A. D.
I find all of this highly improbable for various reasons. A geographically central location is no evidence that this is the original site of a language group. The reason for its spread must be demonstrated – it cannot be assumed to have expanded automatically, and equally, in all direction. The penetration of Central Europe in the 9th century by a northern Asian tribe is possible. But a population replacement, or even a language change, by such tribe within a well-populated agricultural region like Hungary at that time is clearly impossible. Any such claim should be accompanied by an explanation of the mechanism whereby this change might have been accomplished.
Given these objections the actual Uralic speaking distributions would allow only one alternative explanation – that the family originated in Hungary and spread out in the opposite direction. This poses no serious problem if the time for this is origin and dispersion is put at the earliest Neolithic. If this is true it means that Hungarian (Magyar) is actually the oldest in-place language in all of Europe.”
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Sir John Bowring British diplomat and linguist stated in his book titled Poetry of the Magyars, published in 1830: "The Magyar language stands afar off and alone. The study of other tongues will be found of exceedingly little use towards its right understanding. It is molded in a form essentially its own, and its construction and composition may be safely referred to an epoch when most of the living tongues of Europe either had no existence, or no influence on the Hungarian region."
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Arthur Custance quotes the Canadian Sir William Dawson from his book titled Fossil Men and Their Modern Representatives of 1883: “If we leave out of account purely imitative words, as those derived from the voices of animals, and from natural sounds, which necessarily resemble each other everywhere, it will be found that the most persistent words are those like "God," "house," "man," etc., which express objects or ideas of constant recurrence in the speech of everyday life, and which in consequence become most perfectly stereotyped in the usage of primitive peoples. Further, a very slight acquaintance with these languages is sufficient to show that they are connected with the older languages of the Eastern continent by a great variety of more permanent root words, and with some even on grammatical structure. So persistent is this connection trough the time, that pages might be filled with modern English, French, or German words, which are allied to those of the Algonquin tribes as well as to the oldest tongues of Europe, Basques and Magyar, and the East.”
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The Economist: The marvellous Magyar microcars
Dec 16th 2010 | BUDAPEST | from PRINT EDITION
“Such skill at innovative thinking could well be rooted in the complexity of the Hungarian language, which has three levels of formality, direct and indirect conjugation of verbs, and also demands rhyming vowel harmony. Saying anything in Hungarian demands an instantaneous series of mental calculations before a sentence can be constructed and a clear meaning communicated. A Hungarian, the old joke goes, is someone who enters a revolving door behind you but comes out in front. This inbuilt skill at seeking solutions to complex problems, and a talent for quick lateral thinking, proved vital for the Magyars during centuries of foreign rule and was especially useful under Communism.”