The essay written by Brúnó Schütz, student at the Bolyai Secondary School in Szombathely on the lecture titled Style, Norm, and Accuracy delivered by Tibor Tóth, research fellow of our Institute on June 19 2018 in the “Walk” (Press and Education) Camp in Kislőd is provided below.

Theory of meticulousness
Inspirations of a linguist on “cultural DNA”, i.e. the mother tongue

            How can we draw parallels between speech and sense?  Is mother tongue valuable enough to influence our behaviour? The lecture of the linguist, Tibor H. Tóth held in the Walk camp has confirmed for me that the answer to the above questions is YES.

            Mother tongue is the DNA of intelligence. The mind of each and every human being is a small flower garden where the seed of intellect is the omnipresent source of beautiful flowers of creation and talent. However, this seed can only be taken care of by the cultivation of the mother tongue, the soil of our garden. Communication is a human necessity and language is the only means to express the most complicated thoughts. Communication, however, will only be efficient if these complicated thoughts are expressed accurately, that is the information is clear, logical, concise and most importantly comprehensible. Even those should dress up in the robe of accuracy who do not mind appearing in front of their audience in a “clumsy linguistic housecoat”, as the linguist said. These people also express their thoughts clumsily and inaccurately.

            Let us examine the following sentence: “In the Walk camp, students showed a very positive and active attitude towards the tasks, they considered the obstacles not as a burden but rather as a major challenge that later had a significant influence on them.” At first reading the wording may seem natural but there is a problem. We have to avoid using words that are nondescript and do not bear a meaning in the Hungarian vocabulary (positive, active, challenge, significant). Inaccurately worded texts are like a weightless breeze that might fondle our face but then it dissipates and fades away leaving no memory.

            The media can manipulate the cultural DNA in a lot of ways, as it uses a simplified rather than a sophisticated language. Nevertheless, being exacting in the use of our mother tongue is the most efficient way of opposition. Thus, we should all avoid and refuse the “poetry” of nondescription and insensibility.

           A word uttered is like a jewel. However, this jewel can be not only a perfectly shaped diamond but also a piece of broken glass. Where linguistic illiteracy is widespread, there everybody is bandying about with broken glass. And we know that broken glass will lead to wounds, cuts and most importantly to misunderstandings. We have to shape the diamonds consciousl so that not only the content but also the form is appropriate. Sensibility should be filled with sense. Instinct should become knowledge, demand should become requirement and use should become effective.

          The survival of literacy and culture depends on the development of the mother tongue. Thus, the high level knowledge of the mother tongue and good communication skills are crucial for the achievement of success. We have to learn how to express our thoughts in an appropriate manner in order to be able to receive the gift of language skills.  As it was written by György Bessenyei in his proclamation titled Hungarians: “Every nation has become knowledgeable by using its own and never a foreign language.” 


Brúnó Schütz
Bolyai Secondary Grammar School
(Szombathely, Vas County)