Original of: Ungarisch: 'kép'
Essentially, the noun kép is used in Hungarian synonymously to the German noun Bild. In case of English the situation is a bit more difficult since there is a slight difference between the meaning of the terms picture and image. The meaning of the Hungarian kép might refer to both English terms, but in case of image as it refers to mental phenomena there are other affixed words in use as well.
Etymologically kép is rooted in the Old-Turkic word ki:b. The Old-Turkic word originally refers to mould, model in a concrete sense. It shortly gained metaphoric meaning ‘likeness’, ‘resemblance’. The Turkic gibi came to be used as a postposition meaning ‘like’. The Turkic meaning was ‘shape’, ‘form’, ‘image’, and ‘likeness’.Despite the fact that Hungarian is a Finno-Ugrian language and Islam had a considerable effect as it relates to pictures, the evolution of the meaning both gibi and kép is surprisingly similar. Although kép is as old as the most elementary words like wheat and wood, the earliest occurrence of the word is in Christian texts, from ca. 1315 “szent oltarum kunar kepeben” [in form of bread on the holy altar]. ([Róna-Tas 1999a]Róna-Tas, A. (1999).
Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages. An Introduction to Early Hungarian History. Budapest: CEU Press.
Semantic variants of kép
Kép primarily means a ‘planar depicted clone of something’. It can be a work of art, either a mirrored or projected scenery, a reflection, a moving image, facial expression, form or appearance of something (the holy spirit came down as a dove). The basic affixed forms are: képes (first occurrence in 1388) what means ‘fraught by pictures’ and ‘capable, able’ either in terms of intellectual or physical capacity. ‘Capability’ relates to the early sense of -képpen which mean ‘manner’, ‘way’, ‘in a certain way’. (This sense also recognizable in the Old-Turkic ki:b.); képest (1372) ‘as compared’ originates from the adjective képes, i.e. ‘fraught by pictures’; képez (1506) ‘form’, ‘model’, ‘train’, ‘educate’, ‘affix’. This group of meanings evolved in accordance with the German Bild-bilden doublet though independently of it; képlékeny (1871) means ‘malleable’, ‘plastic’. This meaning rooted in the verb képel (an old usage with the meaning of ‘shape’, ‘form’ in the sense of bildende Kunst in 1825.); képlet (1815) was also the result of the neologist movement. It means ‘formula’ both in the sense of mathematics and chemistry; képmás (1787) ‘portrait’, ‘likeness’ derives from kép as face; képmutató (after 1416) ‘dissembler’, ‘disingenuous’. It is a composition of kép as face and the Latin mutare', alter, change; képtelen (1456) ‘impossible’, ‘incapable’ derives from the counter of képes; képviselő (1744) ‘representative’ stems from wearing someone else’ image (face), i.e. act instead of someone; képzel (1645) means to ‘conceive’, ‘imagine’, i.e. creating a mental image based on ideas, thinking of something as, considering some unreal as real. It came from képez.
Some recent usage and idioms
Without aiming at a complete view on the repertoire I will mention just examples relate to science, economy, and idioms. Leképez is mostly used in physics and mathematics and reaches back to képez. In optics it means creating a picture with the help of optical instruments and with regard to set theory it means to determine definite relation among the members of the set; túl/alulképzett under/over qualified is mostly used in labour market and originates also from képez. The idiom of képben van ’to see an affair as it is’ (literary translation ‘s/he is in the picture’) means having an overview, a comprehensive image of the given situation, scenario; and finally as a recapitulation of the original meaning of kép as ‘face’, ‘facial expression’ and kép as ‘portrait: van képe hozzá means ‘s/he dares to do something although it is shameful/disgraceful’. This meaning is rooted in the constellation of having a self-image which suggests bearing such privileges that provide the possibility of acting even against morality.
Literatur [Sammlung][Benkő 1976a]: Benkő, Loránd (Hg.) (1976). A magyar nyelv történeti-etimológiai szótára. I-IV. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
[Juhász et al. 1999a]: Juhász, J.; Szőke, I.; Nagy, G.O. & Kovalovszky, M. (Hg.) (1999). Magyar értelmező szótár. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. [Róna-Tas 1999a]: Róna-Tas, A. (1999). Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages. An Introduction to Early Hungarian History. Budapest: CEU Press. [Szily 1999a]: Szily, K. (1999). A magyar nyelvújítás szótára. Budapest: Nap Kiadó. [Tótfalusi 2002a]: Tótfalusi, I. (2002). Magyar szótörténeti szótár. Budapest: Anno Kiadó.