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Péter Medgyes : English – the ersatz language of communication, A state-of-the-art survey of the teaching and spread of english in Hungary

This paper aims to demonstrate (a) various aspects of the teaching and learning of English, (b) the spread of English in present-day Hungary. After giving a brief historical overview of foreign-language education and language use, the author mentions some of the changes that have taken place since the collapse of communism in 1989. In the light of statistical data, he shows the proportion of English, relative to that of Russian, German and French, in various types of school. Although Hungarians have long recognized the importance of English, the scope for learning it remains limited, mainly because of the acute shortage of English teachers. In spite of the fact that English-language instruction receives a great deal of national and foreign aid, the number of English speakers in Hungary is still very low. Nevertheless, the English language is ubiquitous these days. It is visible on graffiti, pos¬ters, street signs and job advertisements; it permeates the language of science, technology, business, pop culture and the mass media. Hunglish, the hybrid of Hungarian and English, is a constant source of amusement and irritation. The author ends the paper by posing a dilemma: Is the spread of English a curse or a boon? To what extent are English teachers to blame or to thank for advancing the English language?

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 92. Number 4. 263-283. (1992)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Medgyes Péter, Angol Tanárképző Köz¬pont/Centre for English Teacher Training, Ajtósi Dürer sor 19. H–1146 Budapest


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia