Dr. László Marácz, Professor of Linguistics, Amsterdam and Dr. Kornél Bakay, Professor of Archeology and Ancient History, Budapest
Recently Károly Rédei, Professor Emeritus of the University of Vienna, published the second edition of his book, entitled Őstörténetünk kérdései (Questions in Ancient Hungarian History). This book is a criticism of linguistic dilettantism. It was published by the Balassi Publishing House. It is hard to believe that the first edition, in 1998, was so successful that it necessitated a second edition. This book is exceptionally dry and boring and it repeatedly churns out the old Finno-Ugric theory. It is a very difficult book to read. In many instances, it offends good taste and is full of violations of scientific ethics. Rédei simply brands all those who oppose the Finno-Ugric theory, without regard to their position or ability, as representatives of “the intellectual and political underworld”. (p. 110)
We also doubt that such propaganda-type material could be successful in increasing the number of people who believe in the Finno-Ugric theory. Ágnes and Gábor Kapitány, in their book: Magyarország szimbólumok, (Symbols of Hungary), Budapest, 1999, write, on p. 43, that, of those questioned about the origin of the Hungarians in 1999, only 56.8% believed in the Finno-Ugric origin, down from 67.9% in the 1980’s.
Rédei’s book can be called strange and bizarre for several reasons. In the Communist Era, the author was appointed to the position of Chair of Finno-Ugric Linguistics at the University of Vienna. (His colleagues were appointed to the same position at the Universities of Göttingen and Groningen). From this position, Rédei attacked (and is still attacking) all those who proposed a different theory of the origin of the Hungarians. At the same time, he opposes the professional and amateur proponents of the research of Hungarian ancient history. He does this with the goal of proving that the only scientific theory of the origin of the Hungarians is the Finno-Ugric theory!
It is hard to imagine that, for example, Stephen Hawking, the world-famous physicist and professor of space-research, would dispute the research of amateurs who, in recent times, have written fantastic stories of space-research and filled the libraries with them. Hawking, who is the representative of scientific research, would probably just smile at them. But not Rédei, who actually embarks on a vicious campaign against those who are not willing to accept his Finno-Ugric dogma, especially against those who are unwilling to accept the major Finno-Ugric dogma, which is that the Hungarians are of Finno-Ugric origin. How dare they oppose the prestigious Academy of Science? How dare they propose a theory which is not the officially accepted one?
The serious intellectual confusion, reflected in their attitude, immediately reveals that they no longer feel that they are firmly established, and even they themselves are not convinced that they are on the right path. This is why any kind of different opinion, whether amateur or professional, causes them to be very aggressive. With ferocious indignation, they attack the theories of the Hungarian-Sumerian, Hungarian-Turkish or Hungarian-Celtic relationship. Rédei’s book is also bizarre because linguistic dilettantism was created by Finno-Ugric theory itself. This dogmatic Finno-Ugric doctrine was established a long time ago and the practitioners of this discipline declared that it was an irrefutable truth. This is why, according to them, there is no need to research further the possibility of a different origin of the Hungarian language. However, in recent times, a tremendous amount of new data have surfaced, which have really created a linguistic explosion, caused by modern technical advances. Above all, there is the World Wide Web where, by pressing a button, one can call up the dictionary of any language in the world.
Obviously, for the Hungarian proponents of the Finno-Ugric theory, time has stopped. They have become bogged down in the swamp of the peaceful era of the Kádár goulash-communism. They have not become aware of the very powerful opportunities offered by the new era. They regard the doctrines of Hunfalvy and Budenz as unchangeable and are unwilling to consider any other data or methods or let alone accept them, because they might disturb the surface of the waters of the Finno-Ugric theory. Not even the sober-minded, linguistically uneducated person would find this situation acceptable, because he knows that change is inevitable.
Although Mr. Rédei, on p.115 of his book, quotes the Greek philosophers: “Pantha rei” (Everything flows, changes), he does not apply this to the Finno-Ugric theory. Since the Finno-Ugric dogmas are unable to explain or resolve numerous questions, amateur researchers are looking in new directions and are beginning to research new possibilities. He who searches, will find! New books are appearing in large numbers. We recognize that they often offer provocative data and unusual theories.
Among the writers of these books, there are many amateurs, but these amateurs are just as expert as was, for example, János Sajnovits, whom the Finno-Ugric theorists glorify, who was an absolute dilettante in the field of linguistics. He was an astronomer who, in 1770, dared to state that the Hungarian and Lapp languages were identical. He found more than one hundred words which appeared identical, when comparing letters and sounds. He used the same methods that Rédei (on p. 120) accuses the amateurs of today of using. Rédei accepted from his Jesuit colleague, Father Miksa Hell, the suggestion that the Hungarians originate from Karjala (Karelia in Hungarian), which can be read as the state of Kar-jel. Its meaning in Hungarian is “férfi, erős karral” (man with a strong arm). Sajnovits supports this suggestion with the surprisingly amateurish statement that “on the crest of arms of the King of Karjala, can be seen two arms, one holding a sword, the other holding an arrow.” These are the forefathers and the great science of which of which the Finno-Ugric theorists are still so proud!
We should mention Antal Reguly, whom the Finno-Ugric theorists glorify, who, as a student of Law, went to Finland and there, without any linguistic preparation, traveled to the land of the Voguls and Ostyaks. József Eötvös, in 1853, in the course of a lecture, called him a restless soul, a wandering traveler who, without any interest in linguistics and without knowing any of the Finno-Ugric languages, began to write about the Finno-Ugric theory. (Cf. to Péter Domokos: Szkitiától Lappóniáig, 1998) (From Scythia to Lapland) Why did they make a hero of Reguly, who, according to them, proved the relationship between the Hungarian and Finno-Ugric languages? Reguly diligently collected Vogul and Ostyak poems and legends and this was a nice collection but was not relevant to solving the question of the origin of the Hungarian language.
I was also the object of Mr. Rédei’s damning criticism. In 1984, I graduated from the University of Groningen, with a degree in General Hungarian Linguistics and, in 1989, I defended my doctoral dissertation on the subject of Hungarian sentence structure. The title of my dissertation was: “Asymmetry in the Hungarian Language”. I received an official Degree in Linguistics and worked at various American universities as a guest lecturer and researcher. Since 1992, I have been a professor at the Eastern European Institute of the University of Amsterdam. As a professional linguist, in 1985, I was co-author of the Nyelvtudományi Közlemények (Linguistic Publications””, the Scientific Review of the Hungarian Academy of Science (Volume 87). My research was conducted in the area of Hungarian postpositional phrases. It appeared on pp. 173-187. The other co-authors were László Honti, Tamás Janurik, János Pusztay, and Károly Rédei. The last one was the co-editor of this volume, along with Péter Hajdu. Based on all of this, it is very bizarre that, 18 years later, he places my name and my work among the “amateurs”. There could be two explanations for this. Either Mr. Rédei suffers from amnesia which, at his advanced age is a possibility, or simply he does not like what I wrote about the origin of the Hungarian language in my book: “The Hungarian Revival” (Magyar megújulás, Nieuwegein, 1995), or in my articles: “Finnugor elmélet tarthatatlansága” (The Indefensibility of the Finno-Ugric Theory) (Turán, 28/1998/5. 11-28), and “Módszertani elméleti irányelvek a magyar nyelv kutatásához” (Methodological Theoretical Principles in the Research of the Hungarian Language) (Turán, 29/1999-2000/ 6;23-35.) In these works I took a stand against the Finno-Ugric theory. I wish to note that when my colleagues, Kornél Bakay and István Erdélyi, resigned as editors of the Turán review, the scientific level of this review was no longer secure and, since then, I have not submitted any of my writings to it.
It obviously annoys Károly Rédei that I, a professional linguist, dare to challenge the Finno-Ugric doctrine. His book, which is under discussion, is an excellent proof of how these “scientists” work: They never debate the subject, but rather just brand the research, with which they disagree, as the work of amateurs, which should not be taken seriously. According to Mr. Rédei, not even I can advance a scientific argument. (p. 114) So he does not wish to have anything to do with my work. In the course of many pages, he repeats over and over the old Finno-Ugric clichés.
Naturally, I perfectly understand Rédei’s method and why he does not wish to debate my argument. It is because my statements clearly disprove the Finno-Ugric theory.
For example, it is very difficult to isolate the Finno-Ugric languages from the other Ural-Altaic languages, like Turkish and Sumerian and draw comparisons and vocabulary parallels within the Finno-Ugric group. According to the Lakó-Rédei Finno-Ugric dictionary, the Hungarian word “szem” (eye) belongs to the basic vocabulary of the Finno-Ugric people. At the same time the word “szem” has numerous identical forms in the Sumerian and Ural-Altaic languages: In Sumerian ši/ see /, Vogul sam/ eye /, Ostyak sem/ eye /, Votyak šin/ eye, face/, Zürjén šin/ eye, face/, Cseremiss šindza/ eye, face/, literary Mongolian sinjile/ to examine/, Kalmük šindzl/ to observe/, Kún syneta/ to observe/, Mordvin šelme/ eye/, Finn silmä/ eye/, Estonian silm/eye/, Kalmük tšilme/ blink/, Mongolian silibki/ suddenly glance/, Turkish sina/ face/, Osman symarla/ single out/. This kind of basic vocabulary comparison can be expanded according to preference. (Cf. Turán, 1998: 12-18)
It is of the utmost importance to note that there are no written documents in the original, hypothetical Finno-Ugric language. Thus, there is no documentation of the basic vocabulary, making it impossible to document the phonetic laws or the later hypothetical language groups such as the Ugor, Volga-Finn etc. Therefore it was necessary to create dozens of theories which have never been proven. It has never been explained why the compound-forming elements of the Finn group of languages are closer to the theoretical ancient language than are the compound-forming elements of the Hungarian language. The question is: Why is the theoretical ancient language not identical to Hungarian?
Even the Finno-Ugric theorists recognize that the so-called phonetic laws have no natural scientific characteristics (cf. L. Honti – A. Gergely – L. Marácz: Magyar fordulat. Magyar tudomány, 1997/2, 241-243.), so what kind of characteristics do those theoretical phonetic laws have? Tendentious, accidental or conjured up? These questions have never been answered. There may not be any answers. The Finno-Ugric theory can be disputed but cannot be proven.
According to Rédei the voiced plosive consonants were not present in the ancient Finno-Ugric language – b, d, g. (p. 32). I ask how it is possible to conclude this, when there are no written documents in the theoretical ancient language. If this were true, then all root words beginning with b, d, and g would be missing from the Hungarian language and such monosyllabic words and their derivatives as: gör-, görbe, görcs, gördül, görnyed, görhes, bel-, belül, belső, benn, bennső, dar-, dara, darál, darab etc. would be missing. This almost unbelievable.
It is also a strange stipulation that the shorter Hungarian root-words developed from the theoretical two-syllable Finno-Ugric root-words, and that they are surely closer to the two-syllable Finno-Ugric root-words, e.g. the Hungarian szem, the equivalent of the Finn silmä: divided into syllables – sil-mä or silm-ä. This is also surprising because all linguists agree that the Finno-Ugric languages are agglutinative. This means that suffixes may be added to the root-words in order to create new words. If we find root-parallels, then the shorter root is the earlier form and the longer root is the later form, i. e. the derivative. The Hungarian roots are monosyllabic, the Finn equivalents are of two syllables. Then why would the Hungarian roots be derivatives of the Finn words? All this means that the Finno-Ugric theorists did not take into consideration the agglutinative character of the Hungarian language or that our language has monosyllabic root-words. Is it possible to base the origin of a language on such confused omissions?
In the Finno-Ugric studies, it is often stated with certainty, that there are 500 – 1000 Hungarian words, which are derived from the ancient Finno-Ugric language. (Rédei, p. 115) This statement appears to be scientific but is nothing more than a bluff. The actual number of these words is more like 419. The Finno-Ugric origin of the vocabulary of the Hungarian language cannot be stated with certainty, because the so-called ancient Finno-Ugric language is a hypothetical, reconstructed laboratory model. The reality is that there are some parallels between the vocabulary of the Hungarian language and the so-called Finno-Ugric languages. According to László Klima: Magyar nyelv, 1991, there are 212 parallels between the Finn and the Hungarian languages which may be considered certain. This number is just half of Rédéi’s bluff. Among these parallels, there are some which we find doubtful. For example, the Finn - kota, Hungarian – ház, or the Finn – kunta, Hungarian – had. We disregard these “cognates” because they have no connection, either phonetically or logically. The meaning of the Finn – kota is “tent” which is not identical to the Hungarian – ház , meaning “house”. If we disregard these doubtful word connections and take into account not the words, but the root-words, then the Hungarian-Finn word parallels remain well under 212. The Czuczor-Fogarasi Dictionary lists more than 2000 roots and 80 one-syllable affixes. According to this dictionary, the Hungarian language has 2080 basic word elements. The Finn parallels do not amount to even 10% of this number!
There is another explanation for the Hungarian-Finn word parallels, other than the hypothetical ancient relationship between the two languages, proposed by the Finno-Ugric theorists, but the Linguistics Department of the Hungarian Academy of Science has never seriously considered it. In this question, the distorted double-standard operates because, while the Finno-Ugric theorists are not obliged to try to disprove any alternative theory, other researchers have to refute the Finno-Ugric theory point by point. (Rédei p. 120)
Possible explanations of the word parallels: 1. There was an ancient Hungarian-European language, from which those languages, which show parallels with the Hungarian language, broke away. This explanation indicates that Hungarians were the ancient populace of the Carpathian Basin. This theory coincides with the view of the American professor, Grover Krantz, about the geographical development of the European languages. According to Krantz, Hungarians lived in the Carpathian Basin at least 10,000 years ago, and Hungarian is the European ancient language. 2. There could have existed a large Ural-Altaic language family, which was formed in the territory of Eurasia. This is the possibility mentioned by Sajnovits in the foreword of his book: Demonstratio, but the Finno-Ugric theorists never mention this possibility. 3. The Hungarian-Finno-Ugric-Turkish and Sumerian linguistic parallels were created by territorial proximity of these peoples. The Hungarian scholar Mátyás Bél already proposed this possibility in 1718, in his work: Tanulmányok a régi hun-szkita irodalomról (Studies from Ancient Hun-Scythian literature.) According to Mátyás Bél there were several ethnic groups living in Scythia. 4. The Hungarian-Finn word parallels are the result of accidental consonance, because any two languages have mutual phonetic similarities.
The Finno-Ugric theorists have never refuted these possibilities and still do not attempt to refute them, so we can rightly use Rédei’s words as a self-characterization of the Finno-Ugric theory: “monomániás fixa ideától vezérelve s ábránd képeket, lázálmokat kergetve gyártott elmélet” (p.7) “monomaniacal theory, driven by a fixed idea, imaginary pictures and feverish dreams”. The Finno-Ugric theory “a theory, which attempts to prove a preconceived goal, is a violation of scientific ethics.” (p. 59)
After so many doctrines leading to a dead end, we consider it justified that Hungarian Linguistic Science return to the traditions of our great Hungarian predecessors -- Ferenc Kresznerics, József Engel, János Nagy, Pál Csató, Gergely Czuczor and János Fogarasi. These linguists studied the roots as the central element of the Hungarian vocabulary. These are lexical elements which, without any affixes, have a phonetic and semantic identity. This was the true revolution of the Reform Age of Hungarian Linguistics, “the Quantum leap”, which, after the suppression of the 1848-49 Hungarian Freedom Fight, Hunfalvi and his colleagues successfully sabotaged. Pál Hunfalvi, already in 1851, in the Akadémia Értesítő (Academy Report), denied that the Hungarian language even had root words. With this statement, not only did he put the research of the Hungarian language on a side-track but as Rédei’s book witnesses, he led it into a dead-end.
The main purpose of the linguists of the 21st. century must be to bring to light the true inside structure of the Hungarian vocabulary, whose central element is the root. Mr. Rédei’s biased, one-sided attribute is that he regards this urgent scientific duty as a “language game”. (p115) Until we have completed this work, we can scarcely state anything definite about the origins of the Hungarian language.
What is already sure is that Hungarian ancient history and Hungarian consciousness of self cannot be built on the less than 10% Hungarian-Finn word parallels in the Hungarian vocabulary. Those who, by every possible means, are propagating the Finno-Ugric theory are doing none other than forcefully finnizing the Hungarian language and culture, just as Florián Mátyás stated in 1858.
László Marácz AGAINST THE FORCEFUL FINNIZATION OF THE HUNGARIAN LANGUAGE Dr. Kornél Bakay’s answer to Károly Rédei
It is without a doubt a sad, disheartening situation for an older professor to realize that he is aging out of the teaching field. (Mr. Rédei from 1974 to 2002, has been able to enjoy the advantages provided by the University of Vienna.) Slowly his creative work is diminishing. The time is ripe for him to become a critic. This profession does not require an outstanding talent or diligence. It is enough to have a professional background in order to criticize and brand others.
Károly Rédei was born in 1932 and his book, which appeared in 1998, was published again in 2003. The new edition is not more detailed or more objective, not even more enjoyable to read than the one which appeared five years earlier. In Turán 28 (1998) No. 5. (p.3 -10), I wrote my opinion of the Budapest Finno-Ugric Pamphlet No. 10 (which was later republished in the Szeged Hungarian Ancient History Library No 11. in 1999). Now the Szeged Hungarian Ancient History Library has republished Rédei’s book, with the Balassi Publishing House, volume 18 and it has only been expanded by a ten-page epilogue and rewritten footnote section. Therefore, really I should only express my opinion of this new section.
I find it very difficult to force myself to undertake this task, not only because the writer is intent on fault-finding and with his increasingly dull brain, he lashes out at everyone and alienates me, but more importantly because, by my standards, he is not a serious researcher. He just quotes from uncorrected and unchecked short newspaper articles written by his opponents and triumphantly points out all the misprints and clerical errors. (Szeremisz instead of Cseremisz, lett instead of liv, and Mári instead of Mari.) Meanwhile, he has not even read my book : Az Árpádok országa, (Árpád’s Country) a professional monograph (512 pages) published in 2000 (supported by the Millennium Government Commission) and reprinted in 2002, in which every statement or hypothesis is supported by literature and research. He handled my other book in a similar manner: Östörténetünk régészeti forrásai (The Archeological Sources of Hungarian Ancient History) Miskolc, 1997-98, in 2 volumes. Yet Károly Rédei constantly emphasizes the basic law of research, that firstly one must disprove the mistaken theories. (2003: 48, 92) He diverges from the views of most well-known researchers and, if he reads statements that he does not like, he does not judge them on their merits (for example, the recent findings of the Finn and Estonian researchers: K. Wiik, A. Künnap, K. Julku, Meinander) but uses inappropriate adjectives about them, often without even reading many of them. He does this not only to my research work, but also to his own linguist colleagues. For example, he has never mentioned anything about the Italian, Angela Marantonio: The Uralic Language Family. Facts and Statistics published by Blackwell Publishers, Oxford-Boston, 2003, Volume 35 in the series of the Philological Society (p. 335). When he is pressed, because he has no knowledge of the subject, (for example, the Sumerian language and the archeology of Mesopotamia), then Mr. Rédei asks for help from outsiders, such as Michaela Weszeli (2003: 140.), and that is really untypical for a linguist. In his pieced-together compilation of the Sumerian language, (published in 2003, 84-91.) he quotes outdated small Hungarian handbooks (like those of 1976 and 1977) and also one published in 1959 and one in 1982 (which was republished in 1994). As an archeologist, I usually use information from the following researchers: A. L. Oppenheim: Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization. Chicago, 1964.; H. W. F. Saggs: Mesopotamien: Assyrer, Babylonier, Sumerer. Zurich, 1966.; Barthel Hrouda: Der Alte Orient. Geschichte und Kultur des Alten Vorderasiens. Munich, 1991.; W. von Soden: Einführung in die Altorientistik. WBG Darmstadt, 1985.; G. Rachet: Dictionnaire de l’Archéologie, Paris, Robert Laffont, 1983.; A. Deimel: Sumerische Lexikon. I-III. Rome, 1928-1937.; A. Falkenstein: Archaische Texte aus Uruk. Berlin, 1936.; M. I. Thomsen: The Sumerian Language. An Introduction to its History and Grammatical Structure. Copenhagen, 1984.; A. Sjöberg: The Sumerian Dictionary. Philadelphia, 1984; Fr. Ellermeier: Sumerisches Glossar I. Sumerische Lautwerte 2. Nörten-Hardenberg, 1979-1980.; W. von Soden-W. Rölling: Das Akadische Syllaber. Rome, 1976.
Károly Rédei’s style is shocking and the adjectives which he uses to describe his colleagues would not even be used in a tavern, eg. “crazy” (2003: 132.), “uneducated, ignorant” “stupid” (2003: 100), “maniacal” “hallucinating”, “charlatan” (2003: 103-104.), “hallucinating charlatan” (2003: 104-105.), “extremist demagogue” (2003: 111.), “illusory hallucination” (2003: 139) “extreme foolishness” (2003. 132) and “suffering impostor” (2003. 120). It is not just stupidity but simply degradation to call several of us “fascist” (2003. 17.), “criminal” historians (2003. 120.) and “members of the scientific underworld” just because we have a different view from his and that of his comrades.
He seems to enjoy greatly degrading and mocking his colleagues who are members of the opposite camp – as he did in the Communist era as a member of the National Postgraduate Degree Granting Board. It did not matter whether they were amateur historians or well-qualified scientific researchers. He lumps together Zoltán Paál, Elek Plessa, László Grespik, József Torgyán, Gyula László, Kornél Bakay, Gyula Mészáros, Ferenc Kemény, István Kiszely, László Szabédi, László Marácz, and Géza Balázs, believing that with this unethical action, he can, with one blow, strike down all his opponents.
Károly Rédei does not regard me as a scientific opponent because – he says – my topics and methods are unprofessional. (2003. 61.) Even so, I will propose some professional observations, but first I will quote János Makkay, my archeologist colleague’s words: “Károly Rédei is not in the position to judge my archeological research, either to approve or disapprove of it, since his knowledge of archeology and ancient history is not sufficient to do so. Whoever reads his last book can easily determine that his knowledge on these subjects is very limited. In spite of this, the title of his volume is: Questions about our Ancient History.” (Magyar Nyelv 95, 1999, 254)
First of all, I would like to comment on the nature of “true science” and the idea of “scientific scholarship”.
The methods of the research of ancient history are not really any different than those of historical science. (2003: 18.) Moreover, we must emphasize the harmony between the different areas of science. This does not mean that the social sciences and within them, historical science, can be compared to the natural sciences. It is more than stupidity to compare the fictive, artificially created Finno-Ugric basic language with electricity. (2003: 77.) The research of ancient history is built primarily on scientific hypotheses and will continue so in the future. Theoretically every established hypothesis is of equal value. They are not equally substantiated. The mutual agreement of researchers and especially the judgment of those in high positions have enormous influence on decisions about careers and appointments. (2003: 75.) They have no influence on historical truth or on how many researchers or which researchers actually make certain statements. Hasselblatt’s view is that certain statements will not become more probable or more convincing if they are continuously repeated and published in different languages. Mr. Rédei quotes Hasselblatt (2003: 131.), but he does not apply this statement to the Finno-Ugric theorists whose dogmas are “everlasting fundamental truths”, which they certainly are not!
Let us see some of the themes of Professor Emeritus Károly Rédei’s, which are supposed to be scientific truth and which are every one of them fictitious theories – the Uralic basic language; the Samoyed-Uralic relationship (which is strictly based on the “intuition” of Kai Donner); the Uralic Age, 6000-4000 BC; the location of the Uralic ancient homeland; the existence of the Finno-Ugric primitive language; the location of the Finno-Ugric ancient homeland; the Finno-Ugric Age, 4000-3000 BC; the Ugor Age, 3000-500 BC; the so-called Ugor ancient homeland in the Ural-Volga-Kama territory; the Magyars’ separation from this territory in A.D. 500; the so-called Magyar ancient homeland in Baskiria; the Magyar-Turk relationship which varied from close-knit to loose-knit depending on the era; the location of the so-called Indo-European ancient homeland; and so on.
What unfounded statements he makes, as a linguist, about the languages of the ancient peoples! He can make these unfounded statements because there is no definite knowledge of these languages. There is no indisputable proof or intelligible language remains of the language of the Scythians, Hsiungnu, Huns, Avars, Pechenegs, Kazars or Kabars! Not even to mention that Rédéi has no basic knowledge of the elements of the archeological research of Eurasia. The same can be said about the Carpathian Basin, Inner and Central Asia or the ancient East.
According to Rédei, the Scythians surely spoke an Iranian language. The Huns, Avars, Kazars, Kabars, Pechenegs all spoke a Turkish language. The Kushans were of unknown origins. Although we have no knowledge of the language of the Kazars, he states that the Magyars adopted Turkish loan-words from the Kazars, with whom they lived for 200-300 years.
Let us examine the question of the Pecheneg language. It has been stated for centuries, that the Pechenegs had a decisive victory over the Hungarian ancestors, the Magyars, and this resulted in the Magyars fleeing from the Pechenegs and establishing themselves in the Carpathian Basin. The unbiased research of scholars has proved that at the end of the ninth century, there was no Pecheneg attack against our ancestors, the Magyars. (Őstörténetünk régészeti forrásai II. Miskolc, 1998, 316-317. – Archeological sources of Hungarian Ancient History II -- Magyar Nyelv 94/ 1998/ 140-141, 149 – 97/2001/ 10-14.) Linguists believe that the Pechenegs, (Kangars ) spoke a Turkish language. (cf. A. M. Scserbak).
Linguists bring forth linguistic data to show that the Scythians, Pechenegs, Huns, Kazars, Avars, Turks, Magyars all had writing, but it was in the runic script!
Constantine Porphyrogenitus, the Byzantine Emperor, in the middle of the tenth century in his work: De Administrando Imperio (On Imperial Administration), in Chapter 38, names eight territories of the country of the “Pacinakia” Pechenegs, in Greek writing: Erdim, Csúr, Jula, Külbej, Karabaj, Tolmács, Kappan, Csaban, and the names of the princes of these territories: Bajcsa, Küel, Kerkutaj, Ina, (Ipaosz?), Kajdum, Koszta, Jazi, and Bota. Finally he lists the names of the castles: Aszprom, (Fehér), Tun-kataj, Karakna-kataj, Szalmas-kataj, Szaka-kataj, Jaju-kataj, Banamuni, Tejgua. It cannot be denied that the Pechenegs were able to write. In the ninth century (obviously earlier too, at Lake Aral, in the Syr-Darja territory, in the territory next to the Oguz Turks, and in the territory near the Magyars, between the Volga and the Lower Danube) the runic alphabet was used, but the decipherment of the runic script was very problematic. We can read these writings in Turkish and in Hungarian, since the letters were classified as the Pecheneg runic script. The runic scripts found on the gold vessels of the Nagyszentmiklós Treasure, on the water-bottle of Novocserkaszk, on the Majackoje castle, on the bull’s skull at Eliszta and the stick-runes of Acsiktas are in the opinion of Gyula Német, Sz. I. Malov and in my opinion too, more likely to be Hungarian runic script than Turkish, but it is still possible that they could be Turkish. The Turkish linguists, based on some remains, consider the following words to be Pecheneg words: ertim = előkelő, fényes (illustrious, shining); baj = gazdag (rich); bal = méz (honey); balcsár = harci balta (battleaxe); boka = bika (bull); boró = szürke (gray); bulla = tarka (multi-colored); burlik = krétás (chalky); jabdi = világos, ragyogó (clear, bright); jazi = alföld, styep (plain, steppes); jaju = ellenség (enemy); jula = gyula (prince, Julius); kapaja = agancsosszarvas (antlered stag); karamán = sötét (dark); kataj = erőd, vár (stronghold, castle); kulin = csikó (colt); kurkut = rémület, ijedj meg (fear, get scared); kegen = haragos, bősz (angry); küel = kék (blue); külbej = méltoságnév (name of a rank); küre = kovács tűzhely, kohó (smith’s fire, furnace); kücsüg = öcs (younger boy); ormán = erdő (forest); pitik = irás (writing); szaka = hegyoldal (hillside); szalma = elhagyott (deserted); szuru = szürke (gray); tolmács = tolmács (interpreter); tat = vad (wild); pogány = pogány (not Muslim); temir = vas (iron); tivan = héja, ölyv (hawk, buzzard); kabuksin = kérges (calloused); kara bej = fekete bég (black bey – Turkish governor); kara-köl = fekete tó (black lake); kopon = vadkan (wild boar); cselgü = szablyacsapás (sword-stroke); csopon = pásztor (shepherd); csúr/ súr/ = méltóságnév (name of a rank); (from the Russian quoted work p. 108)
Professor Emeritus Rédei meets with no success either in advocating the Magyar-Turkish relationship, because almost every statement he makes is based on outdated information. (2003: 56-67). The international linguistics still classify the Turkish, Mongolian, Mandzsu-Tunguz, Korean and Japanese among the Altaic languages. (I note in parentheses that it is not an empty statement to speak of the possible relationship between the Hungarian and Japanese languages. /2003: 47, 51, 132-133/, since the late Lajos Kazár found similarities in 600 word groups and 35 inflectional similarities between the two languages (Cf. Magyar Nyelv, 92/1996/127). The research of Hungarian-Japanese affinities as started by Klaproth in 1823 is certainly not useless and is definitely not unscientific!)
In regard to the formation of the Turkish language, there is a very serious point of view that there is an obvious connection between the Sumerian and Turkish languages, but let us return to Rédei’s contention that there is a connection between the Hungarian and Turkish languages.
Almost all of his statements are unfounded. The ancient homeland of our ancestors was not in Baskiria. No source mentions anything about the supposed aggression of the Sabirs, and it is only a theory that the Kazar language was a Turkish language. Yet more and more texts written in runic script are being discovered. The written remains which mention the Pechenegs have been declared to be Kazar writings (Magyar Nyelv, 80/1984/13.), and most researchers wish to classify them as Turkish writings. This is still only a theory, nothing more. The Kiev letter, hoqurüm (oqurim) = I read it. This is very important, but not even this proves that the Kazar language was a Turkish language. However, if it was, then was it Chuvash or Turkic? The origin of the Turks has not yet been able to be determined by means of linguistics because there are no definite Turkic remains before 600 A.D. There are no sources earlier than the seventh century which talk of the origins of the Turks. (Magyar Nyelv, 94/1999/ 386 skk.) Instead of linguistic conjecture, only archeology and anthropology can give reliable answers. Obviously not even the Turks came from nowhere.
Based on the geographical names which appear in the sources (Kem = Jenyiszej, Afu = Abakán, Kin-san = Altaj = aranyhegy etc.) we should look for the Turkic “ancient homeland” in the valley of the Minuszinszk and the territory of Altaj, that is, in the historical Magna Scythian land, where the Ripe/Rife = Ripaeos Montes, = Imaus/ mountains are found which are identical not to the Urals but the Altai Mountains. The Southern-Siberian and Inner-Asian archeological excavations have brought to light that the Scythian-Hsiungnu-Hun-Turkish cultures have common origins and common roots! From the third millennium BC., in these territories and in the territory of Northwestern China (Russia), the majority of people were of the Europid race., (the Afanaszjevó, Okunyév, Andronovo, Karasuk, Tagár, Tastyk cultures, as well as the Scythian-Hun-Pazyrik, Bulán-Kóbi remains), who possessed a characteristic civilization.
According to recent information, the people of the Andronovo culture, from the second millennium B.C. spoke an Iranian, Altaic and possibly an Ugric language. From 700 BC. on, the people who used pit-grave burials, catacomb burials and mound burials intermingled with the partly Mongoloid people, who migrated from the south, with the knowledge of metal-smelting. (Karaszuk 1600-900 BC) This culture was called Din-lin by the researchers. Their territory extended to the Urals territory (Szintasta, Arkaim, Galics, Szuhanyiha). The Din-lin people were Europid people with fair-skins, black hair and blue eyes (Bej-si), who lived in the territory of Ordos.
In the Taklimakán Desert (Zaghunluq, Lopnor, Kroren, Szubesi, Jingpen) up to now more than 500 preserved mummies, with intact clothing and organic materials, have been found by the Chinese archeologists. (Wang Binghua). They have been dated to between1400-400 BC. Most of them were Caucasian and Turanian type Europid people.
The populace who developed the Andronovo Culture from the beginning of the first millennium BC., changed from agriculture and animal husbandry to nomadic stock-raising and this change made it possible for them to work the territory where the climate had become colder (Altaj, Tien-san, Hákászia, Minuszinszk-valley, and Fergana). The Indo-Iranian ethnic group was probably a part of this populace but the majority was supposedly ancient Ugrians (Ardzsan, 9th and 8th centuries BC).
The pre-Scythian Tagar culture (between the 8th and 5th centuries BC.), and the Scythian Tastyk culture (between the 5th and 2nd centuries BC) are directly connected to the archeological findings in the Carpathian Basin.
The Scythian-Hun-Avar-Turk-Magyar peoples’ cultural, religious, economic, and partly ethnic and genetic relationship is not a figment of the imagination and is not a castle in the air (2003:18.), but is a hypothesis, based on hard facts from archeology and anthropology. (This is not an empty hypothesis and there is no such thing as a full hypothesis but there are many empty heads.) That the Turk-speaking Hun-Bulgar-Onogurs and the Ugor-Magyar-speaking Hun-Sabir-Magyars were bilingual is a realistic supposition, (Magyar Nyelv, 83/1987/ 448-454; 94/1998/78/91.), and more likely than Károly Rédei’s naive statements (2003:62).
The remains of the Avar language in runic script, that is names of ranks, (found at Szarvas and Nagyszentmiklós), can also be read in Hungarian. (Boila, Csabis, Csupán, Csúr, Jabgu, Tegin, Sád, Canizauci – this word is not taken from a comic page – 2003: 142. Kagán, Katun, Kapkán, Jugurrus, Tudun, Tarkán). Personal names (Baján, Bokolabra). None of these has been proven because they are foreign words. (Magyar Nyelv, 82/1986/129-151.)
Among the Huns and Avars there could have been and probably were people belonging to the Turkish and Mongol races, who spoke the Turk and Mongol languages, although some linguists deny that the Huns spoke a Turk language. (Magyar Nyelv, 59/1963/53-66.) The three Hun words which remained in the writings of Priscos and Jordanes, (strava, kamosz, medosz) are surely not of Turk origin, nor are words which start with “l”, “r” or “v”. The Asian Hsiung-nu also belonged to the great European race, although the small number of linguistic remains, which have been found to this day, are hardly understandable because of the distortion in the Chinese writing.
About the Sumerians, I note only that, compared to the fabricated, reconstructed Uralic Finno-Ugric basic language, the Sumerian cuneiform remains are authentic, although we still do not know how the cuneiform syllables and words were pronounced at that time. There are very few linguists who believe that the Sumerian people were assimilated into another people, but it is true that we do not yet know whence they came to settle between the two rivers, maybe from India, maybe from the southeastern territory of the Caspian Sea. The early Stone Age cultures in Mesopotamia, which had no ceramics, were not the predecessors of the Kengir (Sumerians). The Sumerian writings were the most important development of mankind. The idea of writing spread from here first to Egypt, then Elam, later to India and toward China. What Károly Rédei wrote about the Sumerians can be called anything but up to date. He is still reiterating the statements that were made thirty years ago.
The most recent linguistic research explains the formation of languages and the question of the relationship of languages very differently from the research of that time. It is more and more probable (through DNS examination) that, already in the Upper Paleolithic Age, there were people living in the Carpathian Basin, speaking an Ugor-Magyar language. As the ice-cover melted, a large group of them moved north and northeast and they could have given their language to those who were originally called Indo-Europeans, the ancient Finns. The ancestors of the Finns obviously did not migrate to their present homeland from the east, from the territory of the Urals. The observations of the Finn archeologists should be taken into consideration.
Contrary to the accepted prehistoric east-west migration, it is more probable that the migration took place from south to north. That this was the direction of migration is being shown in recent times. Some of the groups of the Hungarian ancestors, arriving from the south in the seventh century AD, settled in the territory of Baskiria (the Magyars of Julianus). The majority of the Magyars lived in the more agreeable territory of Kazaria, whence they moved, at the beginning of the ninth century, to the territory between the Don and the lower Danube and from here, at the end of the ninth century, to the Carpathian Basin.
The Hungarian language is radically different from the Vogul and Ostyak languages in phonological, morphological, lexical and syntactical characteristics. This is now accepted by many linguists, most recently, the Italian, Angela Marcantonio, who criticizes Péter Hajdu “in a friendly way”. (Magyar Nyelv, 91/1995/129.) She demonstrates that the Finno-Ugric theorists raised one hypothesis to the level of scientific truth and they neglected to prove it. (Marcantonio, 2003: 270.). This is why the Finno-Ugric theorists’ preconceived attitude led to a circular argument. (“This can lead to a circularity of argument.” Marcantonio. 2003:269) József Budenz’ linguistic comparisons were totally unsatisfactory. (“We saw that his comparative corpus is unsatisfactory in modern terms.” Marcantonio. 2003: 270) Today, linguists do not accept 81% of Budenz’ contrived linguistic comparisons. Marcantonio states: “There was never a unified Uralic language and not even a Uralic language family.” (Marcantonio, 2003: 271, 274.) “In this review, I have examined the Uralic languages at all relevant levels of language. I have failed to uncover any evidence at all to support the notion that these form a unique genetic family!” (Marcantonio. 2003: 273-274) We can only speak of linguistic groupings and the close connections between them, like Finn, Magyar, Obi-Ugor, Samoyed etc. “Hungarian should be classified as an Inner Asian language. This classification would be consistent with the testimony of the historical sources.” (Marcantonio. 2003: 275)
The methods used for linguistic comparison up to the present time are therefore outdated and manipulated because, for example, if there are certain basic linguistic elements lacking, the Finno-Ugric linguists say that they are lost. If they find contradictory elements, then they state that they reflect a language which has died out. If even this still does not help, then they speak of accidental similarities. (2003:66, 89.) Angela Marcantonio poses this question: “Where did the process go wrong? How is it possible that a community of scientists can base its work, for over 100 years, on a fundamental belief in the U-node, which is simply not supported by the evidence, and indeed is contradicted by a good body of evidence?” (Marcantonio. 2003: 277)
Marcantonio finds the explanation in the influence of Darwinism, but it is now sure that we have to break away from the paradigm of the Ural-Finno-Ugric linguistic relationship. “I believe that a shift in the paradigm can no longer be delayed.” (Marcantonio. 2003: 278) However “it is in the interest of those who are sitting in the stronghold of the Finno-Ugric theory that their ‘truth’ remains unchanged.” (Péter Király: Magyar Nyelv. 96/2000/67.)
This article appeared in the Hungarian monthly magazine KAPU vol. XII.2004.02., pp. 35-41