Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Summary Details

Query:   Summary: Re: Linguist 15.2366, Hungarian Apologies
Author:  Fay Wouk
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Pragmatics

Summary:   A few weeks ago I posted a query about apologizing in Hungarian. The query was:

I have a question for native speakers of Hungarian, about the speech act of
apologizing. Most studies recognize three apology types, expressions of
regret, offers of apology and requests for forgiveness. Suszczynska (1999 -
Journal of Pragmatics 31
p. 1053-1065) suggests a fourth, forstalling anger. I'd like to know a bit
more about this.

If someone were to offend you by for example
a. saying something at a meeting that you interpret as a personal insult
b. forgetting an important meeting with you
c. running into your car and denting the door slightly
d. bumping into you in a department store
(situations taken from Cohen & Olshtain 1981)

and they said 'Please don't be angry' would you feel that they had
apologized to you?

If not, what more would they have to say in order for you to feel that you
had been apologized to?


I received replies from Hungarians Anna Fenyvesi, Katalin Balogne Berces,
Kornel Bangha, Tamas Biro, Szilvia Papp, and Katalin Mady, and all of whom
agreed that forstalling anger was an appropriate and common strategy in
apologizing, particularly for minor offences, although not all of them
thought it would be appropriate for more serious ones, such as damaging
s car. Most importanly, when ever an additional expression was suggested,
it was not another apology type, but rather a completely different
strategy, such as an explanation or offer of repair.

Additionally, Kim Schulte pointed out that the same strategy is also used
in Roumanian, and Michael Johnstone, who had spent a year in Hungary, noted
that the expression was used similar
ly to British English excuse me, before making requests, especially to

I am very grateful to everyone who responded to my query.


LL Issue: 15.2938
Date Posted: 17-Oct-2004
Original Query: Read original query


Sums main page