Report on the inaugural meeting of the Budapest Research Centre for Linguistic Theory

14 December 2015

The Budapest Research Centre for Linguistic Theory (BRCLT, ‘bracelet’) or, in its Hungarian name, the Nyelvelméleti Kutatóközpont (NYEKK) was founded in October 2015 as a platform for all theoretical linguists in the Faculty of the Humanities at ELTE. The centre is an initiative of the staff of the Department of English Linguistics (DELG), and is housed in the School of English and American Studies.

The language of communication in the centre is English.


The centre aims to be:

    1. of external funding opportunities, tracking down calls for applications, promptly alerting the linguistic research community within ELTE to emerging funding possibilities, and providing expert guidance to researchers submitting grant proposals
    2. of record keeping, offering assistance in the cumbersome process of uploading information regarding research output onto government databases
    3. of event organisation, providing a framework for lecture series, reading groups, workshops and conferences, and thereby enhancing the local and international profile of theoretical linguistics at the university
      → the centre will immediately start up a regular lecture series at the beginning of 2016; see below for more details
  2. an UMBRELLA
    1. joint ventures in (under)graduate teaching, providing an infrastructure for crosslisted courses offered to students in the various academic departments featuring theoretical linguistics in their curriculum
      → three cross-listing initiatives have already been taken in response to this; see below for details
    2. for supervision of graduate student research in theoretical linguistics, enhancing the participation of staff from multiple departments in the supervision of individual students
    3. for interdepartmental research projects, stimulating collaboration between staff members from separate departments
  3. a BEEHIVE
    1. for the influx and exchange of graduate students and visiting scholars
    2. for postdoctoral researchers from within and outside Hungary, funded by research grants acquired by (groups of) staff members participating in the centre
    3. for all manner of ‘buzz’ that can be generated and attracted by a nationally and internationally prominent centre for theoretical linguistic research

The research centre is there specifically for the entire theoretical linguistics community at ELTE, including undergraduate students, MA and PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and regular staff. It does not interfere with the activities of the Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; but collaboration between the centre and the institute is straightforward, thanks to the presence at ELTE of several staff members with an Academy affiliation.


The research centre will not itself be able to offer money because it receives none from the university. But by achieving aim (1) it will generate funds for research and for the recruitment of postdocs and other temporary researchers.

The tudományos bizottság of the student union at ELTE has a limited amount of funding available from which the centre may be able to benefit, for instance if it needs paper for printing handouts at workshops or conferences. Mihály Horváth represented the student union at the inaugural meeting of the centre, and can be contacted for details.

Through its first externally funded research projects, the centre plans to be able to appoint a scholar who, as part of his/her job, will serve as the day-to-day manager of the centre, taking charge of the mail server for the centre and the process of uploading researchers’ output data onto government databases (see (1b)).

Mail server

An email account for the research centre has been created by Péter Szigetvári, who is also the manager of the server for the time being. The addresses (which can be used interchangeably) are:

Lecture series

The research centre will organise talks as part of a regular lecture series. Suggestions are requested for a standard day and time for the lectures. Talks will be scheduled on an ad hoc basis at first.

Early in the new year, the centre will make an immediate head start by hosting two talks by acclaimed international scholars:

Cross-listing of classes

Initiatives for the cross-listing of classes have been taken already for the following courses:

More such initiatives will be warmly welcomed.

Reading groups

A weekly syntax reading group is already in place, hosted at the Research Institute for Linguistics of the Academy. Everyone on the centre’s mailing list will henceforth receive its announcements.

The KAFA sessions on phonetics/phonology at the Institute, organised by Dr Katalin Mády, will also be open to all members of the centre. If there is a mailing list for these sessions, one of the phonology/phonetics colleagues should arrange for its announcements to be distributed via the centre’s mailing list as well.

Initiatives for reading groups on other topics within the centre are encouraged.

Research resources

The centre will seek out opportunities (through grants or other means) to enlarge the collection of books and journal subscriptions in the area of theoretical linguistics housed in the library of the School of English and American Studies.

The centre’s independence

An important question that will be taken up in conversation with the administration, but for which no answer is available at the present time, concerns the independence of the research centre. This question is particularly important in connection with the centre’s aims mentioned in (1). It will be clarified with the dean whether the centre will be able to play a direct role in the administration of external grants, or whether recipients of such grants will continue to have to deal with the Faculty.

Budapest, 16 December 2015

Marcel den Dikken
Mark Newson
Péter Szigetvári

last touched 2015-12-20 22:38:19 +0100