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Mercator Budapest

Mercator Budapest/ The Research Institute for Linguistics was founded in 1949. Its primary tasks include research in Hungarian linguistics, general, theoretical and applied linguistics, Uralic linguistics, phonetics and the preparation of a comprehensive dictionary of the Hungarian language. Among the basic research areas of the institute we find researches on sociolinguistic and minority language use, focusing on the linguistic aspect of the cultural diversity of states within the EU as well as ones outside it.
The Institute coordinates common researches on Hungarian linguistic minorities living in the neighbouring countries; it promotes dissemination of relevant knowledge to the general public, to politicians and language policy stakeholders.

Based on the results of the achievements of domestic and international projects on multilingualism and minority language issues within the past 15 years, in 2008 Research Centre for Multilingualism has been established. The Centre wishes to continue all the researches started earlier. The main profile can be focused in four different fields:

  • comparative sociolinguistic research on linguistic minorities;
  • sign language and Deaf community issues;
  • Romani sociolinguistics with special focus on gypsy communities in Hungary and within the region;
  • coordination of Eastern Central European networks such as Hungarian language centres within the Carpathian Basin and the resulting network of one of the most important long-term projects, called Dimensions of Linguistic Otherness about the relation of research, identity and language, about the role linguistic attitudes and ideologies play in language shift, about the dimensions of linguistic otherness, the possibilities of maintaining minority languages, the effect of EU enlargement on minority language use and the challenges of ‘European citizenship’. 

Head of the Centre, Csilla Bartha has been involved in the development of the Sign Language Law, which was adopted on the 9th of November, 2009 and recognizes sign language finally as an “independent and natural” language. Sign language became the 14th minority language that is used in Hungary besides Armenian, Bulgarian, Croatian, German, Greek, Polish, Roma, Romanian, Ruthenian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian and Ukrainian.

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