The paper characterises the intellectual trends fertilizing Dezso Kosztolanyi's linguistic thinking via five recurrent ideas found in his writings: (1) language is a manifestation of the soul of a community; (2) all languages are equally beautiful - diversity is an asset; (3) linguistic beauty is relative; (4) one's mother tongue is the first among equals; and (5) language is a game, language is action. With respect to the first thesis, the paper enlarges on the opinion held in the literature and claims that although the poet's strong belief in the unity of language and soul can be traced back to Humboldt's tenets, it is more closely attributable to the irrational philosophy and psychological trends of the early twentieth century. His thoughts with respect to the equal beauty of languages and to linguistic relativity are akin to the major claims of Franz Boas, the founder of modern cultural anthropology, and Edward Sapir, the pioneer of linguistic relativism. His ideas on the role of language can be associated with Wittgenstein's late works but they also show the poet as a forerunner of present-day pragmatics, exhibiting as they do a number of components of its view of language.
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