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Megjelent Heltai Pál Hungarian–English Constrastive Linguistic Studies című egyetemi jegyzete.



Chapter 1. Contrastive Linguistics

Chapter 2. Crosslinguistic Influences

Chapter 3. The Sound Systems of English and Hungarian

Chapter 4. English–Hungarian Grammatical Contrasts: The verb Phrase

Chapter 5. English–Hungarian Grammatical Contrasts: The Noun Phrase

Chapter 6. English–Hungarian Grammatical Contrasts: Pronouns and Adverbs

Chapter 7. English–Hungarian Lexical Contrasts

Chapter 8. English–Hungarian Phraseological Contrast

Chapter 9. English–Hungarian Text-Building Contrasts

Chapter 10. English–Hungarian Pragmatic Contrasts

Chapter 11. Linguistic Contrasts in English–Hungarian and Hungarian–English Translation

Chapter 12. General Differences Between English and Hungarian





Contrastive linguistics (CL) set out as applied linguistics, designed to help language teaching. Subsequently, the usefulness of contrastive linguistics for language learning and teaching was challenged, and with the emergence of the communicative approach in foreign language teaching (FLT), it fell into disfavour and disuse. On the other hand, it developed into a sort of theoret­ical linguistics, trying to achieve academic respectability by using various linguistic frameworks.

Yet there is no denying that linguistic contrasts between English and Hun­garian may impact the learning of English by Hungarian learners, and there is no doubt that being aware of the differences between the mother tongue (L1) and the foreign or second language being learnt (L2) can help learners in acquiring L2. Hungarian teachers of English can also benefit from conscious knowledge of English–Hungarian contrasts (Heltai 2016).

The aim of this book is to make Hungarian students of English acquainted with some of the linguistic contrasts between English and Hungarian that may impact their own and their prospective students’ learning of English. It does not offer a full-blown course in CL as such: it will not provide a compre­hensive picture of the history of CL or the various theoretical ramifications of the discipline or a systematic comparison of English and Hungarian grammar. Its purpose is to highlight some English–Hungarian contrasts that may cause difficulty in learning and may lead to errors, explained in the framework of contrastive linguistics.

The first two chapters of the book give a summary of the most important principles and concepts proposed by classical contrastive analysis, highlight­ing those that have retained their relevance for FLT over the years. Then we look at English–Hungarian contrasts at the levels of phonology, syntax, vo­cabulary and phraseology, discourse and pragmatics, and examine the role of contrasts in translation. Since this book is not a theoretical treatise, the number of in-text references is limited. Much of the material included is based on the author’s own teaching and translating experience.

The book follows three principles: (1) in describing the contrasts at the var­ious levels of language it always refers back to the basic theoretical concepts presented in the first two chapters, (2) it illustrates the contrasts through practical examples to be discussed with the students, usually at the start of a chapter, and (3) it provides exercises for the practical study of English–Hun­garian contrasts. In this way it may help students improve their own English by focusing on some trouble spots in their English-language communication.

Exact reference to the sources of some example sentences and short texts are not given. Most of these sentences and texts come from newspapers that have ceased publication long ago, like Esti Hírlap.

Since the book covers contrasts at several linguistic levels, it may provide a good opportunity for students to recapitulate or complement some of the material covered earlier in their linguistics courses at the university – pho­netics, syntax, lexicology, pragmatics and translation, showing the relevance of these disciplines for foreign language learning and teaching and providing an integrative framework through the study of CL.


Heltai, Pál. (ed. Tímea Kovács). 2021. Hungarian–English Constrastive Linguistic Studies. Budapest: L’Harmattan, Károli Könyvek.