Lárva, álca, alak
This article aims to explore the borrowing of the term larva in Hungarian. Linnaeus applied an established late medieval Latin use of larva (as ’mask’) to the caterpillar stage in the life cycle of insects. In Hungarian the loan word lárva and the calque álca are both well-known to express this concept. A corpus based analysis led to the evidence that the second semantic calque in Hungarian alak also exists. The common sense of those words was ’mask’. In the second part of this paper the attention is focused on the historical, cultural and folklore phenomena. In the Roman mythology, larvae were spirits of the restless or the malignant dead. The semantic development ’spectre’, ’skeleton’ and ’mask’ may root in the semiotic motivation of maskwearing and dramatic play in order to impersonate the dead ancestors. Finally, the butterfly as symbol of the soul and its metamorphosis in the larval and pupal stage is demonstrated.