From ‘Hungarus’ Patriotism to Linguistic Nationalism

  • István Fried


As is well known, the Habsburg Empire and, within it, eighteenth-and nineteenth-century Hungary, was characterized not only by the coexistence of peoples of different mother tongues, but, even more so, by the fact that linguistic boundaries within it were not always clear-cut: several regions were of mixed linguistic background, and cultural movements based on the mother tongue of different peoples often joined together (Fried 1994, 1996a). In earlier eras, the literate multilingual elites participated in several different cultures at the same time. Languages were assigned prestige not solely according to the social positions of their speakers, but rather individuals switched from one language to the other based on the given domain of life (family, public sphere, church, science, literature etc.), and each domain was characterized by a certain language (Fried 1996b). As long as the use of Latin was universal in the spheres of religion and learning as well as in the government (both in the diet and at the level of county administration), the use of the various vernacular languages was confined to the family domain and to certain groups. Up until the 1760s, literature was not separated from science in Hungary: Latin was the language used in universities and in the first works on aesthetics, and the development of a mother tongue literary system was not considered to be necessary.


Eighteenth Century Mother Tongue Literary History Slavic Language Late Eighteenth Century 
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