14th Meeting Szeged, 1971

The 14th meeting of the PIAC was held in Szeged, Hungary, from August 22 to 28, 1971. A programme of this Meeting can be found here. There are some minor differences between Proceedings and programme. Some authors whose articles have been published in the Proceedings cannot be found on the programme, and vice versa. Neither Proceedings nor programme contain a list of participants.

Oliver Corff, September 03, 2022



The 14th meeting of the PIAC was held in Szeged, Hungary, from August 22 to 28, 1971, under the Presidency of Professor Louis Ligeti, with Professor A. Róna-Tas as Organizing Secretary.

The central topic of the meeting was “Historical relations among the Altaic Languages,” but papers dealing with other, non-linguistic subjects were also read.

The following resolutions were unanimously passed at the closing session of the meeting:

Proposed by the Secretary-General: “The PIAC assembled on the border of the Tisza, in the charming City of Szeged, wishes to put on record its appreciation of and gratitude for the generous hospitality and excellent organization which characterized its 14th meeting.

“On the Institutional level thanks are due to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the József Attila University, and the City of Szeged.

“On the more important, personal level the 14th meeting of the PIAC is deeply indebted to its President, Professor Louis Ligeti, and to Professor Róna-Tas, on whose shoulders the organizational tasks rested. Mrs. Eva Szilágyi’s charm and efficiency helped to solve many problems, unavoidable at any scholarly gathering. Thanks are due also to the Rector of the József Attila Uni­versity, Professor Ferenc Márta, who took more than fleeting interest in our meeting, and to Professor Peter Hajdú, holder of the chair of Finno-Ugric Studies at the University, who was instrumental in the establishment of Altaic Studies at Szeged; to Dr. Géza Bethlenfalvy, to the students working under Professor Róna-Tas, and to many others too numerous to be mentioned by name. They acted with kindness, generosity, and efficiency, upholding the very best human and scholarly traditions of the PIAC.

“Be it therefore resolved that to the aforementioned institutions and persons our sincere appreciation and gratitude be conveyed and put on record.”

Proposed by Sir Gerard Clauson (London): “As our Secretary-General has already said, we have come to the end of an-other session of the PIAC. We have spent four happy days in delightful surroundings, meeting old friends and making new ones. We are enormously indebted to our Hungarian hosts for their generous hospitality.

“But we have also another debt to pay. Once again our proceedings have beer guided discreetly and in the background by our Secretary-General, Professor Denis Sinor.

“I have known Denis for many years. He is one of my dearest friends, and I have unbounded admiration for his energy and his courage.

“His energy is enormous, he is like the juggler who keeps half a dozen balls in the air and never lets one of them fall to the ground. Not only has he produced the whole series of distinguished scholarly works which Dr. Schütz enumerated in this room yesterday, when he was admitted as an Honorary Fellow of the Kőrösi Csoma Society. He has been the inspiration and driving force behind many new developments connected with our discipline and for these we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to him. I think that probably his favourite brainchild is this PIAC. It is entirely due to his energy and devotion that we are still able to meet one another year after year. ”

And then his courage. He had a very severe heart attack last year, but still came to Strasbourg to supervise our proceedings. Since then he has had another severe heart attack, but here he is again. As the English poet said, “beneath the bludgeonings of chance, his head is bloody but unbowed.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my privilege to invite you to pass a vote of thanks to our Secretary-General. It would be an empty gesture to ask whether there is any opposition to this motion. Will you cast aside your customary scholarly reaction and express your gratitude and affection to our Secretary-General in the traditional manner?”

(Source: Permanent International Altaistic Conference Newsletter  No. 7, April 1972, pp. 3–4)

A detailed report: “XIVth International Forum of Altaicists” with a strong focus on the debate around the Altaic hypothesis was written by E. I. Fazylov and published in Sovetskaya Tyurkologiya 1971 (5), pp. 129–133.