How to Pronounce Older Hungarian Family Names

In the following link we have already covered some of the challenges our Hungarian ancestors met after the Latin alphabet had been introduced in their lives:

https://myhunlang.com/2017/01/14/the-hungarian-alphabet-rovasiras/

Now we will take a look at the pronunciation of older family names, specifically those of some Hungarian poets, doctors, writers. Their profession is not really important now. We are more interested in how to say their names.

First you see the full name, then the correct pronunciation as it should be written if only we had stuck with the original Hungarian alphabet (mistakenly called runic writing!).

1. It was very common that a Y was written at the end of the family name instead of an I, but you pronounce it as Hungarian I, like English I in HIT. It was also common that the same family name was written with Y or I due to the confusion of how to apply the Latin alphabet to the Hungarian sounds.

Acsády Károly – Acsádi
Acsádi Rozália
Ady Endre – Adi
Ambrózy Ágoston – Ambrózi

Béki István
Béky-Halász Iván – Béki

Mezei András
Mezei Balázs
Mezey József – Mezei
Mezey Katalin – Mezei

Note that the GY, LY, NY, TY sounds at the end of the names were said in the same way as today with the exception of Áprily Lajos under group 6.

2. About a hundred years ago the C was still written as CZ. The sound in CATS.

Aczél Géza – Acél
Aczél János – Acél
Oravecz Imre – Oravec
Boncza Berta – Bonca
Czuczor Gergely – Cucor
Herczeg László Tibor – Herceg

3. Sometimes an H was added, but the pronunciation of the sound did not change. GH is pronounced as G in GET. TH is simple T.

Ágh István – Ág
Apáthy Géza – Apáti
Bartha István – Barta
thori István – Bátori

The most typical family names for this phenomenon are Balogh, Horváth, Németh and Tóth:

Balogh Attila – Balog
Balogh Gyula – Balog
Balogh János – Balog
Balogh József – Balog
Balogh László – Balog

Horváth Attila – Horvát
Horváth Béla – Horvát
Horváth Benji – Horvát (Benji=Bendzsi)
Horváth Elemér – Horvát

Németh Dezső – Német
Németh Erzsébet – Német
Németh György – Német
Németh István Péter – Német

th Árpád – Tót
th Bálint – Tót
th Endre – Tót

4. Many times the consonants were doubled, however they were pronounced as one simple consonant, and then the usual Y was added. Some names where combinations like that were applied are:

Andrássy Béla – Andrási
Andrássy Lajos – Andrási
Antalffy Endre – Antalfi
Ásguthy Erzsébet – Ásguti
Barkóczy Borbála – Barkóci
Básthy József – Básti
Beniczky Emil – Benicki
Kazinczy Ferenc – Kazinci

5. The name of Áprily Lajos is pronounced as Áprili, not as LY in LYUK (=English Y).

6. The name of Babits Mihály is pronounced as Babics. TS was the general combination for the sound we write with CS nowadays for the English CH in CHANGE. The same goes for:

Batsányi János – Baccsányi
Csokits János – Csokics
> written in two different ways in the same name: CS and TS

Kovács Márk János
Kovács Péter
Kováts József – Kovács
Kováts Tamás – Kovács

CH was also used to write the CS sound: Jankovich Ferenc – Jankovics

7. The name of Dessewffy József is pronounced as Dezsőfi.

8. Sometimes the Á vowel like the English I in SIGH was written like :

Gl Imre – Gál
Lr András – Lár

9. The family name Weöres was also written normally as Vörös:

Vörös István
Weöres Sándor – Vörös

Újévi köszöntő

 

Székely újévi köszöntő Szekler New Year’s Eve Toast
Adjon Isten minden szépet,
Irigyeknek békességet,
Adjon Isten minden jót,
Hazug szájba igaz szót.

Hontalannak menedéket,
Éhezőknek eleséget,
Tollat író kezébe,
Pulyát asszony ölébe.

Legényeknek feleséget,
Szegényeknek nyereséget,
Áfonyát a havasra,
Pisztrángot a patakba.

Istenhitet a pogánynak,
Hű szeretőt a leánynak,
Szép időben jó vetést,
Szomorúaknak feledést.

Sarkvidékre hideg telet,
Az árváknak jó kenyeret,
Fegyvereknek nyugalmat,
Szelíd szónak hatalmat.

Betegeknek egészséget,
Fuldoklóknak reménységet,
Vitorlának jó szelet,
Napfényből is öleget.

Jó lövést az ordasokra,
Nyíló ajtót vaskapukra,
Vándoroknak fogadót,
Isten adjon minden jót!

May God give you all the best,
Peace to the envious,
May God give you all the good,
True word to the liar’s mouth.

Shelter to the homeless,
Food to the hungry,
Pen in the writer’s hand,
Child in the woman’s lap.

Wives to the bachelors,
Profit to the poor,
Blueberries on the snowy mountains,
Trout into the rivers.

Faith to the heathens,
Faithful lover to the maidens,
A good sowing in nice weather,
Oblivion to the sad.

Cold winter on the poles,
Tasteful bread to the orphans,
Quietness to the weapons,
Power to the gentle words.

Health to the ill,
Hope to those drowning,
A good wind to the sail,
Enough sunlight.

A good shot on the wolves,
Opening doors on the iron gates,
Inns to the wanderers,
May God give you all the good!

 

Ady Endre – Harang csendül

Karácsony (Harang csendül)

Christmas (Church Bells Chiming…)

I.

Harang csendül,
Ének zendül,
Messze zsong a hálaének,
Az én kedves kis falumban
Karácsonykor
Magába száll minden lélek.

Minden ember
Szeretettel
Borul földre imádkozni,
Az én kedves kis falumba
A Messiás
Boldogságot szokott hozni.

A templomba
Hosszú sorba
Indulnak el ifjak, vének,
Az én kedves kis falumban
Hálát adnak
A magasság Istenének.

Mintha itt lenn
A nagy Isten
Szent kegyelme súgna, szállna,
Az én kedves, kis falumban
Minden szívben
Csak szeretet lakik máma.

II.

Bántja lelkem a nagy város
Durva zaja,
De jó volna ünnepelni
Odahaza.
De jó volna tiszta szívből
– Úgy mint régen –
Fohászkodni,
De jó volna megnyugodni.

De jó volna mindent, mindent
Elfeledni,
De jó volna játszadozó
Gyermek lenni.
Igaz hittel, gyermek szívvel
A világgal
Kibékülni,
Szeretetben üdvözülni.

III.

Ha ez a szép rege
Igaz hitté válna,
Óh, de nagy boldogság
Szállna a világra.
És a gyarló ember
Ember lenne újra,
Talizmánja lenne
A szomorú útra.

Golgota nem volna
Ez a földi élet,
Egy erő hatná át
A nagy mindenséget,
Nem volna más vallás,
Nem volna csak ennyi:
Imádni az Istent

És egymást szeretni…
Karácsonyi rege
Ha valóra válna,
Igazi boldogság
Szállna a világra…

I.

Church bells chiming,
Carols in the air,
Thanksgiving hymns sung all around,
Home in my beloved village
At Christmas time
All get spiritual, more devout.

All the people
With love deeper,
Fall on their knees and keep praying,
In my beloved little village
The Messiah
Would always bring us rejoicing.

Towards the church
In long queues march
The young and the old together,
In my beloved little village
With thankful prayers
To God, our Lord, the holy father.

As if down here,
God was so near,
His sacred grace would whisper, fly,
In my beloved little village
All the people’s hearts
Are filled with pure love day and night.

II.

My mind’s disturbed by the city’s
Rough and loud noise,
I wish I could but celebrate
Back there at home.
I wish I could with all my heart
– Like so long ago –
Say prayers profound,
I wish I could calm down.

I wish I could forget it all,
All of it really,
I wish I could be child again
Playing freely.
With true faith, with heart of a child
Make my peace with
The whole wide world,
In loving salvation well deserved.

III.

If this wonder legend
Could now become true faith,
Oh, how great happiness
Could come to the earth again.
And fallible, weak humans
Would be humans one day,
They would all have this charm
For the long, sorrowful way.

No Calvary would this
Earthly life be for us,
A single power would imbue
The vast universe thus,
No other religion,
Nothing, but merely this:
Adore God Almighty,

In loving others persist…
Christmas legend, if it
Really could come true,
Perfect, pure happiness
Would be in the world, too…

Feltöltő P. T.
Az idézet forrása http://mek.niif.hu
Feltöltő N.Ullrich Katalin
Az idézet forrása N. U. K.

Deceiving Consonant Geminations

It is just a quick note. We’ve talked about consonant gemination. What it means is that whenever you see two identical consonants, you double the length of the pronunciation.

However, there are certain words you should pay attention to. Such words look like they go under this category, but they really dont.

1. Words beginning with GY preceded by the co-verb MEG:

meg|gyullad (to catch fire)

meg|gyújt (to light)

meg|gyón (to confess)

meg|gyászol (to mourn)

meg|gyúr (to knead)

meg|gyaláz (to outrage, to abuse)

etc.

The G in MEG and the GY in such verbs are pronounced separately, NOT LIKE A DOUBLE GGY!

 

2. The demonstrative pronouns EZ (this), AZ (that) when coupled with the suffix HEZ, -HOZ:

ez + -hez = ehhez (to this)

az + -hoz = ahhoz (to that)

This is seemingly a consonant gemination, but it is really assimilation in writing. Both would require the consonants to be pronounced double as long, but this is an exception. That double H is pronounced as one consonant: ehez, ahoz.

 

3. Words ending in two consonants followed by -VAL, -VEL:

pénz + -vel = pénzzel (with money)

lánc + -val = lánccal (with chain)

kard + -val = karddal (with sword)

etc.

Due to assimilation in writing the V in -VAL, -VEL becomes the same as the last consonant in the word this suffix is attached to. It would be impossible to say those zz, cc, dd double as long, so we just say them as: pénzel, láncal, kardal.

Hungarian Compound-Words

When it comes to putting words together, you can observe that the various nations think differently about certain aspects of an object or an action. For a Hungarian one feature is more important than it is for other nations, and the opposite of it is also true.

Note that the first member of a Hungarian compound-word is sometimes turned into an adjective, which is not always the case in English.

Hungarian Word – English Equivalent > Literal Translation

  1. kézfej – back of the hand > kéz+fej = hand+head
  2. lábfej – foot >láb+fej = foot+head
  3. szemüveg – a pair of glasses > szem+üveg = eye+glass
  4. tollbamondás – dictation > tollba+mondás = into pen+saying
  5. ékszer – jewel > ék+szer = ornament/decoration+tool
  6. mosószer – detergent > mosó+szer=washing+chemical
  7. gyógyszer – medicine > gyógy+szer = curing+chemical
  8. rendőr – police officer > rend+őr = order+guard
  9. tűzoltó – fireman > tűz+oltó = fire+extinguisher
    >>this word can mean the fireman and the tool to put out the fire with
  10. gördeszka – skateboard > gör-+deszka = rolling+board
  11. ágynemű – bed linen > ágy+nemű = bed-kind
    >>nemű means sort of, belonging to, -kind, -type
  12. ágytál – bedpan > ágy+tál = bed+bowl
  13. kémcső – test tube > kém+cső = spying/watching+tube
  14. távcső – telescope > táv+cső = distance/remote+tube
  15. hőkép – infrared image > hő+kép = heat+image
  16. kézfogás – handshake > kéz+fogás = hand+grip
  17. épületegyüttes – a block of buildings > épület+együttes = building+group
  18. zenekar – orchestra > zene+kar = music+choir
  19. kukásautó – garbage truck > kukás+autó = garbage+car
  20. számítógép – computer > számító+gép = computing+machine
  21. repülőgép – airplane > repülő+gép = flying+machine
  22. nyaklánc – necklace > nyak+lánc = neck+chain
  23. lelkiismeret – conscience > lelki+ismeret = soul+knowledge
  24. hűtőszekrény – refrigerator >hűtő+szekrény = cooling+cupboard
    >>or cooling wardrobe/closet. You decide! 🙂
  25. ablaktörlő – windscreen wiper > ablak+törlő = window+wiper
  26. visszapillantó tükör – rear-view mirror > visszapillantó+tükör = backglancing+mirror
  27. izomkolosszus – jock > izom+kolosszus = muscle+giant
  28. háromajtós szekrény – beefy/muscular man > háromajtós+szekrény = triple-door+wardrobe 🙂
  29. égbolt – firmament > ég+bolt = sky+arch
  30. tűlevél – pine needle > tű+levél = needle+leaf
  31. nyakkendő – necktie > nyak+kendő = neck+cloth
  32. hüvelykujj – thumb, big toe > hüvelyk+ujj = inch+finger
  33. éjjeli szekrény – bedside table > éjjeli szekrény = night closet
  34. személyi igazolvány – identity card > személyi igazolvány = personal certificate
    >>igaz – true/real; igazol – to identify, to certify; igazolvány – certificate
  35. szempilla – eyelashes > szem+pilla = eye+glancer
    >>the verb pillant (to blink) comes from pilla
  36. tépőzár – velcro > tépő+zár = tearing+lock
  37. gombostű – pin > gombos+tű = button+needle
  38. esernyő – umbrella > esó+ernyő = rain+shade
    >>eső is shortened as ‘es’ for easier pronunciation
  39. ejtőernyő – parachute > ejtő+ernyő = dropping+umbrella
    >>ernyő itself can mean umbrella, screen, shade
  40. zuhanyrózsa – shower head > zuhany+rózsa = shower+rose
    >>due to the form of the shower head
  41. melltartó – bra > mell+tartó = breast+holder
  42. lábujj – toe > láb+ujj = foot+finger
  43. pénztárca – purse, wallet > pénz+tárca = money+holder/case
  44. belváros – downtown > bel+város = inner+town
    >>külváros – suburb >kül+város = outer+town
  45. röppálya – trajectory > röp+pálya = flying+path
    >>röp is the root for repül, röpül – to fly
  46. úszógumi – rubber ring > úszó+gumi = swimming+rubber
  47. továbbképző tanfolyam – refresher course > továbbképző+tanfolyam = further training+course
  48. fényszóró – search light, headlights > fény+szóró = light+spreader/scatterer
  49. vagyontárgy – property, asset > vagyon+tárgy = fortune/property object
  50. államcsíny – coup d’etát > állam+csíny = state+trick/prank

There are also some peculiar words that cannot be translated literally:

lábbeli – footwear > láb+-beli = belonging to foot
>>the suffix -beli is kind of equivalent to ‘belonging to something’

fülbevaló – ear ring > fülbe+való = tool belonging into ear
>>való also refers to ‘belonging’ just as -beli, but it is not a suffix

fehérnemű – underwear > fehér+nemű = a white kind of clothing
>>the word ‘nem’ has a couple of meanings: gender; no; sort of
(see ágynemű above)

 

How to use the conjunction ‘hogy’?

The conjunction ‘hogy’ is not to be confused with the interrogative pronoun Hogy. The first means that, the latter is equivalent to How.

that = hogy

How? = Hogy? Hogyan?

English likes to omit that even if no interrogative pronoun is present: They thought he was injured. It always omits it when an interrogative pronoun is inserted: Whisper in my ears what your secret is.

In Hungarian the use of hogy has become more and more frequent over the last decades, but this process has already begun in the Habsburg era. The cumbersome German sentence structures had an influence on the Hungarian language. People thought it was cool” to imitate the way of speaking which could be heard from the Austrians every day.

The very nature of our language is that it does not like to plunge into circumstantial sentence construction. It can, but ”it does not really like it”.

————————————————————————————————————————

To speak Hungarian more fluidly, you can omit hogy when the subordinate clause begins with an interrogative pronoun. (By the way, in reality, Hungarian has no subordinate clause, only secondary clause.)

GOOD:
Nem tudtam, hogy mit tegyek.
I didn’t know what to do.
B
ETTER:
Nem tudtam, mit tegyek.
I didn’t know what to do.

GOOD:
Kíváncsiak voltunk, hogy miért fordultál ellenünk.
We were curious why you’ve turned against us.
B
ETTER:
Kíváncsiak voltunk, miért fordultál ellenünk.
We were curious why you’ve turned against us.

————————————————————–

When it comes the How-Hogy, there is no Good and Better solution, only Right or Wrong. In this case it is a must that we omit the conjunction hogy.

WRONG:
Áruld el, hogy hogy tudtad meg.
Tell me how you’ve learned it.
R
IGHT:
Áruld el, hogy tudtad meg.
Tell me how you’ve learned it.

A better solution of the right solution is using the emphasized version of Hogy, which is Hogyan.

Áruld el, hogyan tudtad meg. – Tell me how you’ve learned it.

————————————————————————————————————————

More examples with the Better solution:

Tudja, mit akar, és mindig el is éri a célját.
He
knows what he wants and he always achieves his goal.

Senki nem érti, miért követte el a gyilkosságot.
Nobody
understands why he has committed murder.

Hívtam és végre elmondta, mikor érkezik a vonattal.
I called her and she finally
told me when her train will arrive.

Hallottam a zajt, de el sem tudtam képzelni, ki járkálhatott a kertemben tegnap este.
I heard the noise, but I couldn’t possibly
imagine who was walking around in my garden last night.

A rendőr arra kért, mondjam el, hány betörőt láttam ma reggel.
The police officer asked
me to tell him how many burglers I have seen this morning.

Ki tudja, merre van a posta?
Who
knows where the post-office is?

With verbs expressing opinion, belief it is your choice to use ‘hogy’ regardless whether the sentence has a question word or not.

Gondolom, (hogy) jól mulattál a partin.
I guess you had fun at the party.

Azt hiszitek, (hogy) nem ismerem a szánalmas trükkjeiteket?
Do you think I don’t know your pitiful tricks?

————————————————————————————————————————

————————————————————————————————————————

With verbs that express will, desire we put hogy in the subordinate clause.

Azt akarom, hogy többet ne viselkedj így.
I don’t
want you to behave like that ever again.
Literally: I want that you don’t behave like that ever again.

A delegáció úgy óhajtja, hogy a tárgyalás máris elkezdődjön.
The delegation
wishes that the negotiations begin right now.

Senki nem kívánhatja, hogy ez még egyszer megtörténjen.
Nobody can possibly wish
that this happen once again.

————————————————————————————————————————

Under any other circumstances, we do put ‘hogy’ in the sentence. In the following sentence you can also see that English has different methods to express the Hungarian hogy.

Hallottad, hogy a barátod kórházba került?
Have you heard that your friend was taken to hospital?

Ki mondta, hogy sehol egy rendőr, amikor szükség van rá?
Who
said (that) there is no cop around when you need one?

Az államügyész azt állítja, hogy nem tudott a megvesztegetésről.
The district attorney
claims not to have known about the corruption.