Hungarian scholarship has traditionally been interested in and contributing to various fields of East-Asian philology, with a clear focus on, inter alia, historical linguistic research of the languages of the steppe area what is now belonging to Northern China and Southern Mongolia. At the dawn of the scholarly Khitan studies Professor Ligeti had summarized the contemporary knowledge and speculations on Khitan people and language in 1927 and he also reported about the initial phases of the archaeological discoveries of Kervyn he got familiar with during his expeditions to the republican China between 1928 and 1931 (Ligeti 1933) During his long and fruitful academic activity Ligeti had always kept an eye on Khitan studies and from time to time returned to the topic (Ligeti 1950, 1955,  1959, 1960, 1961, 1970).

His disciples György Kara and András Róna-Tas have also contributed to the understanding of Khitan script and language. Kara’s articles (1975, 1977, 1986, 2000, 2002) helped taking a position to ascertain the Mongolic nature of Khitan. In 1996 he introduced the then accepted standpoints about Khitan literacy for the general public (Kara 1996). Róna-Tas in his inaugural lecture before the Hungarian Academy of Science analyzed the parallels of the Khitan and Hungarian socials structures in the process of their settling down in the 10th century (1999), later he idenitified a Khitan word of Tibetan origin (2014). His last paper (2016) is providing new insights into the characteristics of the dotted and not dotted forms as well as that of Khitan numerals.

With a solid record like that it was an evident endeavour to establish a more-or-less steady body in Hungary for the investigation of Khitan documents promoted by Professor András Róna-Tas. According to the plan an independent research group of invited experts working on a voluntary basis will be set up under the aegis of the University of Szeged to concentrate on the collection, documentation and conservation of the data, providing access to them for researchers and making the synergy of their extensive expertise exploitable. For practical reasons around the differences of the specific characteristics of Khitan Large and Small Scripts described by Janhunen (2012: 108–109), the Khitan Large Script is excluded from the scope of investigation as of now, and the research is mainly concentrated around Khitan Small Script.

As a first step to the realization of this plan a temporary group has been formed of linguists (Sinologists, Mongolists, Turkologists and general linguists) to fulfil the purpose of a preparatory project, in which phase all the available data and specific literature are gathered. To facilitate this effort, the group has set up ties with the Centre for Mongolian Studies at the Inner Mongolia University, probably the largest institution in the world whose scholars are engaged with Khitan studies and which has the latest possible information about recent archaeological findings. In December 2015 Ákos Bertalan Apatóczky and Béla Kempf visited the colleagues in Beijing and Huhehaote to exchange views on the current issues in the field, making photocopies of inscription rubbings, as well as to collect the most important Chinese publications issued during the past decade. Professors Sun Bojun and Nie Hongyin kindly introduced us the collection of Khitan rubbings at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Although during the past few years their institute’s main interest turned towards another difficult case, Tangut script namely, their impact on modern Khitan Studies definitely should be mentioned. In Huhehaote we may have got an even more comprehensive insight into the frontline of the current accomplishments of the field. Under the leadership of Professor Wu Yingzhe the pace of the emergence of new results in Khitan Studies has accelerated. The first-hand processing of the newly found Khitan texts and fragments made the Center for Mongolian Studies of Inner Mongolia University a leading authority in the decipherment of Khitan Small Script.