Influence of the Tartu-Moscow semiotic school on Hungarian ethnosemiotics

Mihály Hoppál’s guest lecture

GSCSA lecture

Tartu University

November 29, 2017

Jakobi 2-336, at 14:15 pm



(2017 TARTU)

In Hungary research into semiotics began in the late 1960’s. This departure and later increasing significance had a great deal to do with the fact that both linguists and literary scholars became acquainted with the achievements and publications of the Moscow-Tartu school of semiotics. Thus, e.g., the essays of Yury Lotman were published in Hungarian translation. Mihály Hoppál received grant in late 1969 to carry out research in Moscow and, under the guidance of V. V. Ivanov and V. N. Toporov familiarised himself with the work on semiotics published in Tartu. Next, upon returning to Budapest, in 1970-71 he and Vilmos Voigt jointly launched regular education in semiotics at Budapest University. As a result of a few years’ effort they developed a methodology they came to call ethno-semiotics which aimed to provide semiotic analysis of cultural phenomena.

1973 saw the publication of a whole volume of selected essays by Yury Lotman, with a concluding chapter by Mihály Hoppál. Another selection was published a decade later, which again presented the achievements of the Russian semiotic school in Hungarian: papers by V. V. Ivanov on linguistics and mythology were edited and annotated by Mihály Hoppál (1984). Besides these volumes a number of other major papers were translated and published in the journal of the Mass Communication Research Centre of the Hungarian Radio, Jel-Kép.

Summing up, it is fair to state that semiotic research in Hungary would not even have begun if it had not been for publications in Russia and Estonia and progressed along their lines even later – in other words, the achievements of the papers published there had a formative influence on the work of Hungarian researchers.

This event is organised by the Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts, supported by the Tartu University’s ASTRA project, PER ASPERA (European Union, European Regional Development Fund)