News & Announcements

Hungarian as a Heritage Language in the U.S.

Saturday, March 26, 2022
from 9:30 am – 1:40 pm EST / 3:30 pm – 7:40 pm CET
Virtual Conference

Zoom: TBA
Presented by the Hungarian Program and the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Cleveland State University

HUNGARIAN AS A HERITAGE LANGUAGE IN THE U.S.

PROGRAM

Time (EST)

Time (CET)

Opening

9:30 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.

3:30 p.m. – 3:40 p.m.

Dr. Allyson Robichaud, Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Cleveland State University

Dr. Antonio Medina-Rivera, Chair of the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Cleveland State University

 

 

Presentations and Discussion

9:40 a.m. –

10:10 a.m.

3:40 p.m. – 4:10 p.m.

Dr. Miklós Kontra, Department of Hungarian Linguistics, Károli Gáspár University, Budapest, Hungary

Notes on Hungarian-American Bilingualism Research

10:10 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.

4:10 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.

Dr. Endre Szentkirályi, Nordonia High School, Macedonia, Ohio

“Hi, Jancsi, how was magyar iskola?” – Third-generation Parenting in Cleveland

10:40 a.m. –

11:10 a.m.

4:40 p.m. – 5:10 p.m.

Dr. Mónika Fodor, Department of English Literatures and Cultures, Institute of English Studies, University of Pécs, Hungary

Constructing Hungarian American Ethnic Identity in Intergenerational Memory Narratives

11:10 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.

5:10 p.m. – 5:40 p.m.

Dr. Janka Szilágyi, Department of Education and Human Development, SUNY Brockport; Dr. Tünde Szécsi, Elementary Education Program Coordinator, College of Education, Florida Gulf Coast University

Why and How to Maintain the Hungarian Language: Hungarian American Families’ Views on Heritage Language Practices

 

 

Break

 

 

Presentations and Discussion

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Dr. Tünde Szécsi, Elementary Education Program Coordinator, College of Education, Florida Gulf Coast University; Dr. Janka Szilágyi, Department of Education and Human Development, SUNY Brockport

Translanguaging in Family Communication: Hungarian American Parents’ Perspectives

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Katalin Pintz, Department of American Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

Returning to the Ancestral Homeland: The Identity and Language Use of American-born Hungarians from New Jersey

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Gergely Szabó, Doctoral School of Linguistics, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary; Information and Knowledge Society Doctoral Program, Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain

Whose Heritage? A Social Approach

 

 

Closing

1:30 p.m. – 1:40 p.m.

7:30 p.m. – 7:40 p.m.

Dr. Antonio Medina-Rivera, Chair of the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Cleveland State University

Dr. Krisztina Fehér, Visiting Lecturer of the Hungarian Program at the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Cleveland State University

Abstracts

Dr. Miklós Kontra, Department of Hungarian Linguistics, Károli Gáspár University, Budapest, Hungary

Notes on Hungarian-American Bilingualism Research

In 1967 John Lotz, who was born in Milwaukee but mostly raised in Hungary, called attention to the lack of research on Hungarian-American bilingualism at a time when monographs and PhD dissertations described in great detail the bilingualism of Norwegians, Greeks and Polish people in the US. When I became associate instructor in Hungarian at Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1978, I embarked on a Project on Hungarian-American Bilingualism in South Bend, IN. As a result, 80 hours of Hungarian speech and 60 of English were recorded, and a book appeared in Hungarian in 1990. Not much later, in 1995, I was involved with the publication of Beyond Castle Garden: An American Hungarian Dictionary of the Calumet Region, compiled and written by Andrew Vázsonyi. In this talk I will deal with some important issues concerning fieldwork in South Bend and will offer a brief characterization of the differences between Hungarian-American bilingualism in the 1980s and today.

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Dr. Endre Szentkirályi, Nordonia High School, Macedonia, Ohio

“Hi, Jancsi, how was magyar iskola?” – Third-generation Parenting in Cleveland

Heritage language maintenance in Hungarian communities is often a struggle, as each successive generation succumbs to the inevitable forces of assimilation. Newer immigrants think that these forces won’t apply to them, but sometimes later find their own children speaking more and more English and less and less Hungarian. What are the factors that can slow down this assimilation process? What are the factors that allow a community to maintain the Hungarian language into the third generation, ie for those children whose parents and maybe even grandparents were born in the USA, far from Hungary? A detailed analysis of the Hungarian community in Cleveland can shed light on the broader context of Hungarians abroad. Qualitative research done with members of the community show the specific factors that influence language maintenance, and how a group can use the power of community to maintain a strong ethnic identity, to live in two worlds simultaneously: one Hungarian and one American. Put simply, this paper shows how the Hungarian diaspora can maintain its language, culture, and traditions, and how parents can pass on their language and their culture to their own children despite assimilating forces. In sharing the results of his research, the author helps illuminate what it really means to be Hungarian in Cleveland.

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Dr. Mónika Fodor, Department of English Literature and Cultures, Institute of English Studies, University of Pécs, Hungary

Constructing Hungarian American Ethnic Identity in Intergenerational Memory Narratives

The recent shift in narrative and memory studies embraces the powerful impact of inherited family experiences on identity construction. In doing so, it brings novel ways to understand narratives about ethnic identification. In this talk, I suggest a narrative memory-based discourse analytic approach to selected samples of intergenerationally transferred stories to reveal how the memory-based storytelling plays a strategic role in ethnic identity construal. The accounts come from a database of qualitative life interviews I conducted with eighteen second- or later-generation European Americans, most of them Hungarian Americans. While the narratives are retold by descendants of Hungarian American immigrants born decades after the events in the story had happened, storytellers use them to reposition themselves and justify their ethnic choices.

The analysis approaches the sample stories from the aspects of content, narrative structure and performative elements. Some of the most critical features of the fragmented or barely known ancestral memories when retold in the descendants’ life stories include restructured Labovian narrative structure, embedded conversational narrative, and the strategic placement and evaluation of past events. The approach to intergenerational memories explains how these remembrances emerge as an essential structural part of life stories about ethnicity and identity, explaining choices and agency in our inexplicable wish to come to terms with our past.

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Dr. Janka Szilágyi, Department of Education and Human Development, SUNY Brockport
Dr. Tünde Szécsi, Elementary Education Program Coordinator, College of Education, Florida Gulf Coast University

Translanguaging in Family Communication: Hungarian American Parents’ Perspectives

This presentation reports on a phenomenological study that examined Hungarian American parents’ views and practices related to translanguaging in family communications. Translanguaging in classrooms has been a widely researched topic in the framework proposed by Garcia and Wei (Garcia, 2009; Garcia and Wei, 2014). Recently, another space for translanguaging, the family context, became an interest of investigation (e.g. Lee, et al., 2021; Wilson, 2021).

We included 12 families who had children aged 12-17 with at least an intermediate level of proficiency in Hungarian. We used examples of children’s written communications and semi-structured interviews with questions related to language use, parents’ reaction to translanguaging, and their perceptions of why and how translanguaging occurs in oral and written family communications. We used thematic analysis to find themes that emerged related to our questions. The findings indicated that most families found the use of translanguaging natural and positive, and these families used supportive and constructive behaviors when translanguaging happened. Such flexible language practices were attributed to several factors, including a lack of language proficiency to discuss complex thoughts, assurance of comprehension, and comfort. Only a few parents rejected the practice of translanguaging, expressing monoglossic language ideologies. Although the findings are not generalizable, the significance of this study is the insight into parents’ views and practices in a minority language community that is not well-researched about the topic of translanguaging. Because parents are the main stakeholders in language maintenance, their views and practices are essential for proposing directions and resources for language preservation.

References

  • Garcia, O. (2009). Bilingual education in the 21st century: A global perspective. Wiley- Blackwell.
  • Garcia, O., & Wei, L. (2014). Translanguaging: Language bilingualism and education. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Lee, H., Pang, M., & Park, J. (2021). Translanguaging and family language policy: An investigation of Korean short-term stayers language practice at home. Journal of Language, Identity & Education,
  • Wilson, S. (2021). To mix or not to mix: Parental attitudes towards translanguaging and language management choices. International Journal of Bilingualism, 25(1), 58-76.

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Dr. Katalin Pintz, Department of American Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

Returning to the Ancestral Homeland: The Identity and Language Use of American-born Hungarians from New Jersey

My presentation will focus on a qualitative study that formed a subchapter of my Ph.D. dissertation about the identity maintenance and transnational relations of Hungarians living in the surroundings of New Brunswick, NJ. Between 2011 and 2017, I interviewed ten Hungarian Americans who were either born or raised in New Jersey and who chose to live in Hungary for an indefinite period of time. The interviews took place in Budapest and one of them took place over Skype. Previously, I had already interviewed four of them in New Brunswick as a part of my master’s thesis in 2008. Although not all of my informants belonged explicitly to the New Brunswick community, they all had some form of connection to it.

From a sociological point of view, my questions to the interviewees were the following: to what extent were they able to integrate into local Hungarian culture? Did they experience any shift in their identity after moving to Hungary? Did they join the local Hungarian scouts? From a sociolinguistic point of view, I investigated whether there was any shift in their language use, especially with their children and whether there were any noticeable changes in their speech pattern after moving to the ancestral homeland.

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Gergely Szabó, Doctoral School of Linguistics, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary; Information and Knowledge Society Doctoral Program, Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain

Whose Heritage? A Social Approach

Bilingualism, heritage language, and community have long been key terms in the sociolinguistic study of migration and diasporas. However, even well-established concepts require some theoretical and practical revision from time to time: what exactly do we mean by them, where is the focus, what is missed out, and what are the implications of our scholarly interpretations? In this presentation, by drawing on a social and constructivist approach to bi/multilingualism and diasporization, I will outline what are the research topics that can adequately be addressed, and what are the research questions that have so far remained invisible for sociolinguistic inquiry due to ideological loadedness of these terms. Instead of mere theorization, I repurpose interactional data from interviews and ethnographic observations conducted in 2016 for my MA thesis with the aim of highlighting how the perspective of the speakers can contribute to the study of language and society. At the end of the talk, I will also deliver some methodological reflections and provide a brief overview on some new research trends in sociolinguistics, especially on studying digital diasporic connectivity and the rise of collaborative methods, that might have the potential to give fresh impetus in bilingualism and heritage language research.