József Attila műkedvelő nyelvészkedése
Amateur pursuit of linguistics by Attila József
This paper returns to a topic which is only slightly explored nowadays, namely that of the writer’s relationship to his profession. Compared to linguists, it is generally
true that poets possess less knowledge of language itself; since literature (and particularly poetry) employs language and a work’s success depends upon the author’s
skill and creativity in employing language, I argue that poets acquire exceptional competences in the empirical and pragmatic knowledge of their language. These
abilities result in a unique phenomenon that can best be described as the ‘amateur pursuit of linguistics’. Through the example of the Hungarian poets Attila József and
Dezső Kosztolányi, this analysis will demonstrate how the somewhat pejorative labels of ‘amateur linguist’ or ‘linguistic dabbling’ comprise one of the indispensable
preparatory phases to creating a poetic work and, as such, deserve far more attention and regard on the part of literary research.