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By Alexander Maxwell

At the flip of the 19th century, Hungary was once the location of a countrywide awakening. whereas Hungarian-speaking Hungarians sought to assimilate Hungary’s ethnic minorities right into a new proposal of nationhood, the country’s Slavs in its place imagined a proud multi-ethnic and multi-lingual kingdom whose electorate may well freely use their local languages. The Slavs observed themselves as Hungarian voters conversing Pan-Slav and Czech dialects -- and but have been the origins of what might develop into within the 20th century a brand new Slovak country. How then did Slovak nationalism emerge from multi-ethnic Hungarian loyalism, Czechoslovakism and Pan-Slavism? right here Alexander Maxwell provides the tale of the way and why Slovakia got here to be.

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Additional resources for Choosing Slovakia: Slavic Hungary, the Czechoslovak Language and Accidental Nationalism (International Library of Political Studies)

Example text

The monolingual national concept of ethnic Magyars ultimately came to be known as the Magyar politikai nemzet [Hungarian political nation]. Since all citizens of the country would be members of the Magyar nemzet, all were expected to consider themselves Magyarok and speak magyarul (“in the Magyar fashion”). This reasoning required a somewhat dishonest attitude toward Hungary’s non-Magyar population: the nation was to include all inhabitants regardless of language or culture, but was simultaneously defined in terms of Magyar language and culture.

By ugarskom we understand the whole kingdom, including all peoples [narode], who live there; namely slavjane, magjare, Germans, Vlachs, etc. ” This lexical differentiation struck such deep roots that modern Slovaks have forgotten its nineteenth-century origins. 24 Hojč also tried to introduce this lexical distinction into the Hungarian language. ” 26 This distinction, of course, would have undermined the rhetorical bait-and-switch upon which the Magyar politikai nemzet rested. ”27 Hungarian nationalists ignored the lexical differentiation cultivated in Slavic languages, but vigorously contested any attempts to make a similar distinction in German, the language in which it had first been drawn: German was the lingua franca of Habsburg interethnic communication and an important vehicle for political discussion.

Since all citizens of the country would be members of the Magyar nemzet, all were expected to consider themselves Magyarok and speak magyarul (“in the Magyar fashion”). This reasoning required a somewhat dishonest attitude toward Hungary’s non-Magyar population: the nation was to include all inhabitants regardless of language or culture, but was simultaneously defined in terms of Magyar language and culture. This contradiction dominated the thought of Gustáv Szontágh, whom János Varga considers the key figure in the invention of the Magyar politikai nemzet.

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