At the initiative of some of our colleagues, most of Hunnect’s staff participated in a 10-session orthography course in the last trimester of 2022 held by Dr. (and we even learned that Dr. should NOT be capitalized in Hungarian) Györgyi Zs. Sejtes, Director and Pedagogist at Juhász Gyula Teacher Training Primary School, Primary Art School and Teacher Training Kindergarten of the University of Szeged. As we wrote some time ago, we believe that it is important to keep ourselves as up-to-date as possible, whether in the field of language or in IT, as the rapidly changing demands of our profession make this essential.
Naturally, this course was not mandatory (mainly because it was held on Tuesdays before working hours), but precisely because of this we thought it was important to record all the sessions so that those who were absent could watch them and prepare questions about what was taught for the next session. What’s more, new colleagues will also be able to watch these from now on.
Of course, this is not to say that a 10-session course has suddenly turned us into masters of orthography; the aim of the course was to use real texts to see which spelling issues are the most problematic for our staff and to find answers by applying the relevant rules.
There was a number of vivid discussions in the group about linguistics. We realized that even the 12th edition of The Rules of Hungarian Orthography does not cover all questionable cases faced by Hungarian speakers, and even analogies based on the rules cannot always be applied to a given problem. Without going into extreme details, it is interesting to note that fifteen one-meter sausages and one fifteen-meter sausage can be easily confused in written Hungarian, and even the correct spelling does not really help in telling them apart. In cases like this, language users should be able to indicate the difference in writing. But we have to admit that even the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is composed of human beings, and they cannot take everything into account.
One thing is for sure: It is never a bad thing to have a Dictionary of Orthography at hand (or at least a smartphone with internet access) to quickly look up points you are uncertain about. But if you don’t find the answer, don’t worry: You can write a letter to the Academy, so that in the 13th edition they can include answers to hitherto unanswered questions. That might give you peace of mind when hunting for a piece of sausage in the supermarket.