Print this Page
Print this Page

In 2014, a new Hungarian Language Strategy Institute was set up under the Prime Minister’s Office.

Show all Profile-News...

Hungary/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.5 Language issues and policies

The ethnic cleansing during and immediately after World War II, the century-old deficit in mother tongue teaching of minorities, followed by the callousness of the communist decades, the disappearance of closed communities and the growing uniformity caused by mass communication have all contributed to the process of linguistic assimilation.

In 1995 the government ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in respect to Croatian, German, Greek, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, and Slovene, but not to Romani (as opposed to Romania or Serbia for instance in this last respect). In fact only a minority of Roma people speak a Gypsy dialect.

In an effort to counterbalance these factors, the national public television broadcasts 4 regular weekly programmes in 7 minority languages and combined programmes for 6 more cultures - these all carry Hungarian subtitles. The average length of all these is 16 hours per month. As a unique media service, the Hungarian Radio's 4th channel (MR4) broadcasts 12 hours (from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) in the same 13 minority languages each day: two hours in Croatian, German, Romanian, Serbian and Slovak, and half an hour for the rest. There is a special programme for Roma of 57 minutes every week day.

Hungary has not had an official language policy; in 2014 however the new Hungarian Language Strategy Institute was set up under the Prime Minister's Office; the institution is to follow modern European language policies such as the Finnish, Polish, Icelandic and Estonian models.

The practice of bilingual street-signs is increasing in villages of mixed ethnicity.

The structure of public support for minority cultural activities has changed several times lately. Since mid 2012 this support is handled by the Human Resource Support Management (EMET).

Chapter published: 08-11-2016

Your Comments on this Chapter?