chapter  15
18 Pages

Literacy Acquisition and Dyslexia in Hungarian Vale´ria Cse´pe

Hungarian belongs to a small subgroup of the Finno-Ugric branch of Uralic (also called UralAltaic or Uralic-Zukaghir) languages, called Ob-Ugric. The nearest subgroups of the branch are Kanthy and Mansi that are spoken in tiny areas of Russia. Well-known relatives from the Finnic branch are Finnish (see Lehtonen’s chapter in this book), Estonian, and Saami. Hungarian is different from other European languages; it is also atypical among the members of the Uralic family and has no close neighbors. Its lexicon well reflects the country’s history, with loan words from Slavic, Iranian, Turkish, German, Italian, French, and English languages. The earliest literary pieces date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. During the 15th century, there was a literary renaissance, but it soon declined because of different historical events. Strong language-standardization efforts occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries, and, as a consequence of these changes, a century-long period of literary growth occurred. Because of the vigorous standardization efforts, the dialectical variations of the language have remained

minimal. The existing dialectical variations mainly involve differences between urban and rural versions of the spoken language.