Possession – Possessive Case

POSSESSION

Finally we got to possession. And now I’m telling you what I’ve been telling you all along. Remember how to make nouns plural because that can help when we discuss the possessive case. But first an evident question:

DO I HAVE TO HAVE?

And the answer is NO. English uses the verb ‘to have’, a transitive verb to express possession: I have a house, They have no money…

Hungarian, in turn, uses a whole different method when it comes to expressing possession of this kind. Even if there is a verb similar to ‘to have’, birtokolni, it would sound constrained if we wanted to use this verb for this special purpose. Hungarian uses such a construction: DATIVE PRONOUN + SUBSTANTIVE VERB 3rd PS or 3rd PP + INDEFINITE ARTICLE + NOUN WITH POSSESSIVE ENDING

I know it’s long to write it down like that, so let’s see this example: I have a houseNekem van egy házam.

Nekem (dative pronoun) + van (substantive verb 3rd PS) + egy (indefinite article) + házam (noun with possessive ending -m)

In everyday language, the dative pronoun and the indefinite article are omitted or can be omitted, so you can also say: Van házam. So it is mandatory to use the substantive verb van/vannak and the noun with its possessive endings. More examples:

Sok türelmük van. – They have a lot of patience.
Macskáid is vannak? – Do you have some cats, too?
Nincs pénzem. – I have no money.

NOTE! The substantive verb is van or vannak, depending on whether someone owns one thing or more than one thing. The negative form is nincs/nincsenek:

Nincs autóm. – I have no car./ Nincsenek barátaimI have no friends. Summary:

van/nincs OR nincsen + singular thing to possess
vannak/nincsenek + plural things to possess

Because of the topic-prominent aspect, you can also say: Autóm nincs. Házunk van. In this case you put an emphasis on  what you have: It is a car that I don’t have. It is a house that we have. But English usually solves this problem with verbal emphasis. The bold letters show the most important thing in the sentence now. So here are your possibilities:

Van barátnőm. – I have a girlfriend.
Barátnőm van. – I have a girlfriend. (It is a girlfriend that I have)
Nincs barátnőm. – I have no girlfriend.
Barátnőm nincs. – As for a girlfriend, I don’t have any.

ONE MORE THING! I forgot to mention that the singular negative verb nincs has another version: nincsen. You choose which to use.

POSSESSIVE CASE

Once again, I presume you already know how to make nouns plural!! That knowledge will help you deal with the possessive case, just as it helped you with the accusative case.

First we should make it clear: there is no genitive in Hungarian. It is called the possessive case.

Alrighty. Hungarian possession is expressed with possessive endings and possessive pronouns. And the English equivalents are:

Hungarian > English
possessive endings > possessive pronouns as adjectives
e.g. -m, -d, -ja > for ex.: my, your, his

possessive pronouns > possessive pronouns as adverbs
e.g. enyém, tied > for ex.: mine, yours

POSSESSIVE ENDINGS

Here they are:

Number and person > Possessive endings
1st PS > –m, -om, -am, -em, -öm
2nd PS > -d, -od, -ad, -ed, -öd
3rd PS > -(j)a, -(j)e
1st PP > -nk, -unk, -ünk
2nd PP > -(a/o)tok, -(e)tek, -(ö)tök
3rd PP > -(j)uk, -(j)ük

Apparently, there is only one ending for all numbers/persons. It looks like there are too many because link vowels are added to them if needed. It is always -m for 1st PS and we add link vowels if needed. It is always -d for 2nd PS and we add link vowels if needed. Etc.

NOTE! No different ending for masculine and feminine as Hungarian doesn’t care about genders. It’s just about the right possessive ending for high and deep-vowel words.

Let’s get started!

Group 1: The vowels A, E become Á, É when at the very end of a noun (like nouns: apa – apák)

apa (father) – apám (my father)
anya (mother) – anyád (your mother)
epe (bile) – epéje (his/her bile)
kemence (furnace) – kemencéjük (their furnace)

Group 2: nouns in a consonant take the possessive endings with a link vowel. Now I’ll give you one noun from the rest of those groups you know as examples:

HIGH-VOWEL NOUN: szék (chair); gyümölcs (fruit)
székem, széked, széke, székünk, széketek, székük (with e link vowel because: szék-székek-széket-székem)
gyümölcsöm, gyümölcsöd, gyümölcse, gyümölcsünk, gyümölcsötök, gyümölcsük (with ö link vowel because: gyümölcs-gyümölcsök-gyümölcsöt-gyümölcsöm)

DEEP-VOWEL NOUN: állat (animal); ház (house); száj (mouth)
állatom, állatod, állata, állatunk, állatotok, állatuk (with o link vowel because: állat-állatok-állatot-állatom)
házam, házad, háza, házunk, házatok, házuk (with a link vowel because: ház-házak-házat-házam)
Exception: szám, szád, szája, szánk, szátok, szájuk

LAST VOWEL SHORTENED: kéz (hand), nyár (summer); ész (mind)
kezem, kezed, keze, kezünk, kezetek, kezük (É becomes E because: kéz-kezek-kezet-kezem)
nyaram, nyarad, nyara, nyarunk, nyaratok, nyaruk (A becomes Á because: nyár-nyarak-nyarat-nyaram)
eszem, eszed, esze, eszünk, eszetek, eszük (É becomes E: ész-eszem…, but its accusative form does not change: észt; no plural form in any case)

DROP-VOWEL NOUN: vödör (bucket)
vödröm, vödröd, vödre, vödrünk, vödrötök, vödrük (because: vödör-vödrök-vödröt-vödröm)

V-NOUN: (stone)
kövem, köved, köve, kövünk, követek, kövük (because: kő-kövek-követ-kövem)

fű-füve (grass), mű-műve (work of art), nyű-nyüve (maggot), cső-csöve (tube), tő-töve (stem), hő-hője/heve (heat), hó-hava (snow), jó-java (values, estates), ló-lova (horse), tó-tava (lake), tetű-tetve (cootie), lé-leve (juice), mag-magja/magva (seed), daru-darva/daruja (crane-animel/crane-machine), falu-falva (village), szó-szava (words)

Group 3: Some nouns in 3rd PS and 3rd PP take the possessive endings –a, -e, -uk, -ük WITHOUT J. All I can give you is an unstable rule which is: drop-vowel nouns (terem-terme) and nouns with the last vowel shortened (madár-madara) belong to this group. As well as nouns ending in consonants like: c, cs, gy, h, j, k, l, ny, s, sz, ty, z, zs. The plural endings are -ai, ei/-jai, -jei according to the consonants listed: ágya (his bed) – ágyai (his beds); rúzsa (her lipstick) – rúzsai (her lipsticks) BUT kertje (his garden) – kertjei (his gardens); lantja (his lute) – lantjai (his lutes)…

méhei her wombs (méh has two meaning: bee and womb)
fejei his heads
begyei its crops
gyerekeihis children
asztalaihis tables
fényei his lights
kulacsaihis gourds
hasaihis stomachs
bajuszaihis moustaches (if it made sense in plural) 🙂
mezei his shirts
varázsaihis magics

More examples: zsebe – his pocket, lazaca – his salmon, gerince – his spine, kenőcse – his grease, beszéde – his speech, anyaga – his material, szőnyege – his carpet, ágya – his bed, potroha – its abdomen, vaja – his butter, ablaka – his window, gyereke – his child, viadala – his battle, jele – his sign, súlya – his weight, helye – his place, szerszáma – his tool, öröme – his joy, rokona – his relative, sárkánya – his kite, szekrénye – his wardrobe, talpa – his foot, gépe – his machine, bora – his wine, nővére – his elder sister, társa – his mate, kése – his knife, kosza – his dirt, fürésze – his saw, tárlata – his exhibition, viselete – his garb, pontya – his carp, löttye – his wish-wash, kedve – his mood, doboza – his box

Group 4: Some nouns changing long Ő to E and long Ó to A in the possessive case. This rule is only valid for 3rd PS and 3rd PP.

idő (time): időm, időd, ideje, időnk, időtök, idejük

mező (field): mezőm, meződ, mezeje, mezőnk, mezőtök, mezejük

tető (roof): tetőm, tetőd, teteje, tetőnk, tetőtök, tetejük

ajtó (door): ajtóm, ajtód, ajtaja, ajtónk, ajtótok, ajtajuk

erő (force): erőm, erőd, ereje, erőnk, erőtök, erejük

erdő (forest): erdőm, erdőd, erdeje, erdőnk, erdőtök, erdejük

velő (marrow of a bone): velőm, velőd, veleje, velőnk, velőtök, velejük

anya (mother): anyja, anyjuk

apa (father): apja, apjuk

fiú (boy, son): has two possessive endings
fiúja, fiújuk means her boyfriend, their boyfriend
fia, fiuk means his/her son, their son

belső-belseje (inward, interior), külső-külseje (outward, exterior), fő-feje (head), nő-neje (woman), tüdő-tüdeje (lungs), vő-veje (son-in-law)

Group 5: Some nouns have two possibilities: using –A or -JA / -UK or -JUK and -E or -JE / -ÜK or -JÜK. This rule is only for 3rd PS and 3rd PP. (referring back to Group 3)

fotel – fotele / fotelje (his armchair)
újság – újsága / újságja (his newspaper)
virág – virága / virágja (his flower)
pillér – pillére / pillérje (its pier)

madzaga / madzagja (his string), párlata / párlatja (his distillate), segéde / segédje (his helper), vérte / vértje (his armour); ára (his price) / árja (his awl), tőre (his dagger) / tőrje (his trap), belsője (his tyre tube) / belseje (his inwards)

Sometimes there is a change in meaning: kar – kara (his faculty) BUT kar – karja (his arm)

How to use definite articles with the possessive case?

Simple. The definite articles  (a, az) are ALWAYS used with possessive case except one occasion when it is optional. It is optional when the sentence begins with a noun in the possessive case. Then you can choose if you use it or not.

A barátnőmet szeretem. – I love my girlfriend.
Barátnőmet szeretem. – I love my girlfriend.

So the Hungarian definite article must or can be used with the possessive case. Unlike English!!!

POSSESSIVE CASE – PLURAL

!!! THE PLURAL FOR POSSESSIVE CASE IS FORMED WITH   -I  AND NOT WITH -K !!!

And where is that i inserted? Take a look at this:

lakás (flat, apartment):
SINGULAR: lakásom (my flat), lakásod (your flat), lakása (his/her flat), lakásunk (our flat), lakásotok (your flat), lakásuk (their flat)

PLURAL: lakásaim (my flats), lakásaid (your flats), lakásai (his/her flats), lakásaink (our flats), lakásaitok (your flats), lakásaik (their flats)

füzet (notebook):
SINGULAR: füzetem (my notebook), füzeted (your notebook), füzete (his/her notebook), füzetünk (our notebook), füzetetek (your notebook), füzetük (their notebook)

PLURAL: füzeteim (my notebooks), füzeteid (your notebooks), füzetei (his/her notebooks), füzeteink (our notebooks), füzeteitek (your notebooks), füzeteik (their notebooks)

Summary:

SINGULAR AND PLURAL (DEEP)
-(o)m                         -aim
-(o)d                          -aid
-a                                -ai
-unk                           -aink
-(o)tok                     -aitok
-uk                             -aik

SINGULAR AND PLURAL (HIGH)
-(e)m                         -eim
-(e)d                           -eid
-e                                  -ei
-ünk                           -eink
-(e)tek                      -eitek
-ük                              -eik

That’s the plural for the possessive case. More next time, but first practise possessive plural with these words. I’ll give you the person and number you should put these nouns in. ONE PROPERTY means you use the singular endings. MORE PROPERTIES means you use the plural endings.

Example:  macska – macskám (1st PS) one property

ebéd – ______________ (3rd PS) one property

férj – ______________ (1st PP) one property

ház – _______________ (2nd PS) more properties

gyerek – ______________ (2nd PP) more properties

adat – ________________ (3rd PS) more properties

SOLUTION TO THE EXERCISES

ebédje

férjünk

házaid

gyerekeitek

adataik

A T T E N T I O N!

3rd person singular                   az ő háza = his house
az ő házuk = their house

3rd person plural                       az ő házai = his houses
az ő házaik = their houses

POSSESSIVE WITH ACCUSATIVE CASE

Once learned how to form the singular and plural in possessive case, you only add –at or -et to the word.

BUT!

The form of 1st and 2nd person singular do not necessarily require the accusative case. Those forms can be considered both subjective and accusative as they are. You choose if you make accusative those forms!

asztalom(at) / asztalaim(at) (my tables)
asztalod(at) / asztalaid(at) (your tables)
asztalát / asztalait (his tables)
asztalunkat / asztalainkat (our tables)
asztalotokat / asztalaitokat (your tables)
asztalukat / asztalaikat (their tables)

képem(et) / képeim(et) (my pictures)
képed(et) / képeid(et) (your pictures)
képét / képeit (his pictures)
képünket / képeinket (our pictures)
képeteket /képeiteket (your pictures)
képüket / képeiket (their pictures)

SHOULD I SAY E OR É?

That’s why it’s important to learn the correct pronunciation:

termet (room – accusative)
termét (his room – possessive in accusative case)

képet (image – accusative)
képét (his image – possessive in accusative case)

tollat (pen – accusative)
tollát (his pen – possessive in accusative case)

fogat (tooth – accusative)
fogát (his tooth – possessive in accusative case)

NOTE! The suffix -i is needed to express that there are more things somebody owns. The suffix -k is present in the plural suffixes, of course: -aink, eik, aitok

SUMMARY FOR POSSESSIVE ENDINGS AND EMPAHSIS ON THE POSSESSOR

Summary for possessive endings:

N/P                       S                                 P
1st PS                   -(a/o/e/ö)m         im (-aim, -eim)
2ns PS                 (a/o/e/ö)d            id (-aid, -eid)
3rd PS                 -(j)a, -(j)e            -(j)ai, -(j)ei
1st PP                  -unk, -ünk            ink (-aink, -eink)
2nd PP                -tok, -tek, -tök    itok, –itek (-aitok, -eitek)
3rd PP                 -(j)uk, -(j)ük       ik (-aik, -eik)

This summary shows you which endings can have link vowels and how they change in the plural.

EMPHASIS ON THE POSSESSOR

So far, we haven’t really dealt with personal pronouns. It is because Hungarian personal pronouns are only used in point of possession when the possessor needs to be stressed. In this case, the definite article must be used. Example:

Ez az én házam, nem a tied. – This is my house, not yours.

Possessive endings with personal pronouns:

SINGULAR
az én…-m
a te…-d
az ő…-ja, -je
a mi…-unk, -ünk
a ti…-tok, -tek, -tök
az ő…-juk, -jük

PLURAL
az én…-aim, -eim
a te…-aid, -eid
az ő…-ai, -ei
a mi…-aink, -eink
a ti…-aitok, -eitek
az ő…-aik, -eik

In the sentence above, the word TIED (YOURS) is already a possessive pronoun. And that’s our next topic.

POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS

Hungarian possessive pronouns are used in sentences like: The bag is mine. Mine is a possessive pronoun.

Possessive pronouns:

SINGULAR                PLURAL
az enyém                 az enyéim – mine
a tied                        a tieid – yours
az övé                       az övéi – his/hers
a mienk                   a mieink – ours
a tietek                     a tieitek – yours
az övék                     az övéik – theirs

3rd PS polite forms: Öné, Magáé; 3rd PP polite forms: Magukéi, Önökéi.

As you see, English has one form for each person. No plural form. Hungarian possessive pronouns do have a plural form. All you have to do is to embed an i just as in the aforementioned examples.

NOTE! The definite articles are always used with the possessive pronouns!!

Examples:

A ház a tied. – The house is yours.
A ceruza a mienk. – The pencil is ours.
A könyv az övék. – The book is theirs.
Az alma az enyém.  – The apple is mine.

A játékok az övéi. – The toys are hers.
A játékok az övéik. – The toys are theirs.

Az asztalok a tieid. – The tables are yours. (yours – 2nd PS)
Az asztalok a tieitek. – The tables are yours. (yours – 2nd PP)

If you want to stress the possessor even more, put the possessive pronoun at the beginning of the sentence. You can do that due to the topic-prominent aspect: Enyém a megtiszteltetés. – The honour is mine.

NOTE! tied also has this form: tiéd AND mienk has this form: miénk. The e can be an é in the singular form. No difference in meaning. You choose which to use.

A kocsi a tied. – The car is yours.
A kocsi a tiéd. – The car is yours.

As the substantive verb (van, vannak) is not used in 3rd PS and 3rd PP (as you see in the examples), think of the definite article replacing the substantive verb in a such a context: A kocsi a tied. – The car is yours.

WHOSE?

The question Whose? is Kié? in Hungarian. Kié? is is the combination of the interrogative word Ki? (Who?) + the suffix -é, which is the equivalent to the English …’s: Whose is this book? It’s Peter‘s.

There are two questions for Whose?: Kié? Kinek a? There is no difference between them, use whichever you want.

The answer (the possessor) gets that -é suffix attached to the end of a common noun or a proper name, too:

Whose is this book? -It is Peter‘s.
Kié ez a könyv? -Péteré.
Kinek a könyve ez? -Péteré.

You see it doesn’t matter which question word you use. Kié? is just as good as Kinek a(z)?, but note the grammatical issues in those two sentences.

Kié? does not require the property (könyv) to have a possessive ending.
Kinek a? requires the property (könyve) to have a possessive ending.

And the explanation is simple. Remember this? “A férfi felesége” (The man’s wife): feleség needs the possessive ending -e because that expresses a possession. And the sentence also can be: a férfinak a felesége. But you don’t have to use -nak a, -nek a if you don’t want to, or there is no need for it (Remember all those stuff? ).

That’s why the property needs a possessive ending when answering to Kinek a? As this question has -nek a in it, we insert the sema suffix in the answer, too. (Am I complicated enough ?)

You also can make those questions plural (Kiék? Kiknek a?) if you ask about more properties, but the answer already indicates if there is one or more than one property.

Alright. Digest this part first and next time I’ll tell you more about it. Til then, examples for you:

Kié ez a toll? –Az enyém.
Whose is this pen? –It’s mine.

Kiék ezek a tollak? –Az enyéim.
Whose are these pens? –They’re mine.

Kinek az üvege ez? -Ádámé.
Whose is this bottle? -It’s Adam‘s.

Kiknek az üvegei ezek? -Ádáméi.
Whose are these bottles? -They are Adam‘s.

NOTE! If the answer has more than one item, the suffix -é becomes -éi (unlike in English). And there’s only one version (-é, -éi) for both high- and deep-vowel nouns!

Kié az a szék? -Balázsé. / –Whose is that chair? -It’s Balázs.
Kiék azok a székek? -Balázséi. / –Whose are those chairs? -They’re Balázs.

BELONGING TO

Another method to express something is in someone’s possession is with the verb: to belong. The Hungarian equivalent is: tartozik.

The English verb “to belong” requires the preposition “to”: it belongs to the man.
The Hungarian verb “tartozik” requires the suffixes -hoz, -hez, -höz: a férfihoz tartozik.

So the question is: Who/What…to? = Kihez / Mihez…?

Kihez tartozik ez a toll? Who does this pen belong to?
Mihez tartozik a gomb? What does the button belong to?

A toll a tanulóhoz tartozik. – The pen belongs to the student.
A gomb a kabáthoz tartozik. – The button belongs to the jacket.

These are just examples for you to be ”grammatical”. In everyday speech, we prefer asking “Whose is this pen?”, just like we prefer asking “Kié ez a toll?”.

SUMMARY:

to belong to sg = tartozik…-hoz, -hez, -höz
Kihez? = Who…to?
Mihez? = What…to?

You can make these questions plural, too: Kikhez? Mikhez?

COMPARISON OF THE POSSESSIVE ENDINGS WITH THE POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS

Possessive endings: the example is for high-vowel nouns

SINGULAR:
a képem / az én képem
a
képed / a te képed
a
képe / az ő képe
a
képünk / a mi képünk
a
képetek / a ti képetek
a
képük / az ő képük

PLURAL:
a képeim / az én képeim
a
képeid / a te képeid
a
képei / az ő képei
a
képeink / a mi képeink
a
képeitek / a ti képeitek
a
képeik / az ő képeik

Possessive pronouns:

A kép az enyém. / A képek az enyéim.
A kép a tied. / A képek a tieid.
A kép az övé. / A képek az övéi.
A kép a mienk. / A képek a mieink.
A kép a tietek. / A képek a tieitek.
A kép az övék. / A képek az övéik.

More examples:

Fáj a lábam. – My leg aches.
A lábam fáj, nem a fejem. – My leg aches, not my head.

A felelősség a miénk. – The responsibility is ours.
Miénk a felelősség. – The responsibility is ours. Ours is the responsibility.

A házad nagy. – Your house is big.
A nagy ház a tiéd. – The big house is yours.
Tiéd a nagy ház. – The big house is yours. Yours is the big house.

OF VS. ‘S

If you want to express that something belongs to someone, you use the preposition of, or you attach ‘s to the end of the noun, or both: John‘s wife, the essence of the question, the color of the dog‘s kennel

Such Hungarian sentences are formed with the possessive endings and these suffixes: -nak a, -nek a

NOTE! Dative case suffixes are: -nak, -nek. Possessive case suffixes require the definite articles: -nak a(z), -nek a(z)

With one property, these suffixes can be omitted. With more properties, -nak a, -nek a must be used at least with one of the properties.

John‘s wife – Jánosnak a felesége OR János felesége
the essence of the question – a kérdésnek a lényege OR a kérdés lényege
the color of the dog‘s kennel – a kutya házának a színe

In the first two examples there is only one property: wife, essence. In the third one we have two properties: color, kennel, so it is a must to use -nak a with ház. You don’t have to use it with kutya because that would sound constrained. BUT it is always important to have a possessive ending attached to the property which sometimes is present before -nak a, -nek a, too (a házának a: because ház is a possessor and a property!)

The Hungarian word order is the same when English uses ‘s: POSSESSOR + PROPERTY!

a kocsi kereke OR a kocsinak a kereke (the wheel of the car; literally: the car’s wheel)

After all, it’s not the same: az ember(nek a) hatalma – the power of the man (the man’s power)
OR
a hatalom(nak az) embere – the man of the power (the power’s man)

We’re finished with Possession 🙂

Dative Case

DATIVE CASE

What is the function of dative case? It describes a situation when something is done for/to someone/something. Example:

Könyvet adok a barátomnak. – I give a book to my friend./I give my friend a book.

Nouns put in dative case is called indirect object according to the English concept!

The suffixes for it are: -NAK, -NEK. The suffix -nak is for deep-vowel nouns and adjectives, -nek for high-vowel nouns and adjectives. English equivalent is: preposition to/for or a pronoun as indirect object (I give him a book).

NOTE! The dative case doesn’t require any link vowel! You just add -nak or -nek to the noun or adjective. But you can put plural nouns in dative case. You do that by making the noun plural first and then adding -nak or -nek. I’ll write the examples with an English preposition. That way, you can compare the English sentence to the Hungarian one.

Puszit adok a lánynak. – I give a kiss on the cheek to the girl.
Puszit adok a lányoknak. – I give a kiss on the cheek to the girls.

Ajándékot hoztam a csapatnak. – I brought a gift for the team.
Ajándékot hoztam a csapatoknak. – I brought a gift for the teams.

Ne mondj ilyet a gyereknek! – Don’t say such a thing to the child.
Ne mondj ilyet a gyerekeknek! – Don’t say such a thing to the children.

That’s all you have to know about dative case. We’re through with it.

SUMMARY FOR PLURAL, ACCUSATIVE AND DATIVE

You see that the plural and the accusative case are based on each other. If you know the plural, you know the accusative. And you have no problem with the dative case at all, since it has no link vowels. What you should remember is this: MAKE NOUNS PLURAL FIRST and then MAKE THEM ACCUSATIVE OR DATIVE.

Of course, it doesn’t make any sense making a noun accusative and dative! Don’t do this: a lánytnak. It just makes no sense.

Accusative Case

ACCUSATIVE CASE

The accusative case has a very important role in the Hungarian language. It makes sentences with a fairly free word order possible. The suffix for it is: -t

What is it all about?

An English direct object must be in a certain position in the sentence so that it can be recognized. A Hungarian direct object is fitted with -t, thus can be recognized anywhere in the sentence. Example:

I SEE THE RIVER. What do I see? The river. River is the direct object which has to have the suffix -t in Hungarian. The Hungarian translation is: Látom a folyót

Basically, the rules for it follow those for the plural form.

TO BEGIN WITH:

Some nouns ending in j, l, ly, n, ny, r, s, sz, z take the suffix -t without link vowels.

baj– (cause) trouble
bált – (organize a) ball
villamost – (catch the) tram
kárt – (cause) damage
osztályt – (teach a) class
pillért – (build a) pier
pofont – (give a) wham
regényt – (read a) novel
lépést – (take a)  step
szeszt – (drink) spirit
szószt – (eat) sauce
pénzt – (earn) money

IMPORTANT! If a monosyllabic deep-vowel noun having A, Á takes the plural -OK, then it takes the accusative -T. If such a noun takes the plural -AK, it takes the accusative -AT!

bajok – bajt BUT vajak – vajat
károk – kárt BUT zárak – zárat
bálok – bált BUT tálak – tálat

Remember this first. Next time we’ll talk about the groups we took a look at when discussing the plural.

If you don’t remember how to make nouns plural, then go back to those entries because putting nouns in the accusative case is based on those rules! That being said…

Group 1: A becomes Á, E becomes É at the end of the word like in plural.

alma – almát (apple)
apa – apát (father)
medve – medvét (bear)
lecke – leckét (homework, task)

Nouns ending in any other short vowel never behave like A and E when adding -t. Those vowels (i, ö, u, ü) always stay short: aput (dad), kocsit (car), revüt (revue). Hungarian words never end in short O or Ö, so there is no trouble with them.

Group 2: High -vowel nouns take the accusative suffix -ET or -ÖT. The rules for the plural form with -ET/-ÖT are the same as those for -EK/-ÖK in nominative case: fülek/fület (ear); kürtök/kürtöt (horn)

1. High-vowel nouns containing e, é, i, í, ö, ő ,ü, ű take -ET if ö, ő, ü, ű is NOT in the last syllable.

gyereket (child), széket (chair), füzetet (exercise book)

2. High-vowel nouns whose last syllable contains ö, ő, ü, ű take -ÖT.

gyümölcsöt (fruit), köldököt (navel), erődöt (fortress)

3. Monosyllabic high-vowel nouns ending in one or two consonants and containing ö, ő, ü, ű either take -ET or -ÖT. No rule for them. It is a matter of memorization. Just a few examples:

tököt (marrow), gyököt (root), ködöt (fog), böjtöt (fasting), fürtöt (cluster)…

BUT

őzet (roe), könyvet (book), földet (land)…

4. High-vowel suffixes take -ET or -T (because they take -EK in plural).

emelvényt – platform
teljesítményt – performance
kérést – request
tehetséget – gift (like somebody is gifted)
emeletet – floor, storey
fedezetet – cover
kertészt – gardener

Group 3: Deep-vowel nouns take -OT or -AT. (again, remember the plural)

1. Standard deep-vowel nouns take -OT.

családot (family), kalapot (hat), vonatot (train)

2. Two monosyllabic nouns having short o take -AT: fogat (tooth), tollat (pen)

3. Some monosyllabic nouns having A, Á in them take the accusative -AT. They must be memorized. A few examples:

zárat (lock), kádat (bath-tub), vállat (shoulder)

4. Monosyllabic deep-vowel nouns ending in two consonants and having A, Á either take -OT or -AT. Memorize!

társat (mate), nyársat (prod)…

BUT

lángot (flame), táncot (dance)…

5. Deep-vowel suffixes take -OT or -T. (remember the plural)

utalványt – voucher
szállítmányt – shipment
vágást – cutting
válságot – crisis
falatot – bite
fokozatot – degree
jogászt – jurist

Group 4: DROP-VOWEL NOUNS

Once again ( I know I’m repeating myself) if you know how to make nouns plural, you know how to make them accusative. Remember those steps? At the end you add -T instead of -K. That’s all!

Plural: BOKOR – BOKR – BOKROBOKROK

Accusative: BOKOR – BOKR – BOKROBOKROT

That’s it! More examples with both plural and accusative:

eper  – eprek – epret (strawberry)
átok – átkok – átkot (curse)
vödör – vödrök – vödröt (bucket)
torony – tornyok – tornyot (tower)
ajak – ajkak – ajkat (lips)
méreg – mérgek – mérget (poison)
érem – érmek – érmet (medal)
nyereg – nyergek – nyerget (saddle)
üröm – ürmök – ürmöt (artemisia)
izom – izmok – izmot (muscle)
vászon – vásznak – vásznat (canvas)

As you see, vászon is an exception within the exception: the O becomes A. Some nouns like sarok (ankle/corner) have two versions: sarkat (ankle)/sarkot (corner). You can take a look at the rest of them if you download the book in the ‘Download the grammar book’ category.

Group 5: NOUNS WITH THE LAST VOWEL SHORTENED

Examples with plural and accusative to give you a reference:

szél – szelek – szelet (wind)
kötél – kötelek – kötelet (rope)
kenyér – kenyerek – kenyeret (bread)

madár – madarak – madarat (bird)
kanál – kanalak – kanalat (spoon)
nyár – nyarak – nyarat (summer)

út – utakutat (road)
kút – kutak – kutat (well)

There are dozens of nouns like these above, but there is no rule for them. It is a matter of memorization. Most nouns having similar forms don’t change: tányér – tányérok – tányért (plate), méz – mézek – mézet (honey), etc. Usually nouns ending in -ár/-ér, -ál/-él fall under this shortened vowel category.

Group 6: V- NOUNS

V-nouns get a V inserted in the plural and in the accusative, too. Those few words are:

kő – kövek – követ (stone)
cső – csövek – csövet (tube)
tő – tövek – tövet (root)

ló  – lovak – lovat (horse)
tó – tavak – tavat (lake)
hó – havak – havat (snow) > the Ó becomes A

mű – művek – művet (works, factory) > the Ű does not change
nyű – nyüvek – nyüvet (maggot)
fű – füvek – füvet (grass)

Other nouns with two plural forms have two forms for the accusative case.

mag – magot magvat (seed)
lé – létlevet (juice)
daru – darutdarvat (crane)
falu – falut falvat (village)
tetű – tetűt tetvet (cootie)
szó – szót ! (word) ONE ACCUSATIVE CASE AND THE PLURAL IS SZÓKAT or SZAVAKAT!
fattyú – fattyútfattyat (bastard)

Group 7: MIXED NOUNS

Mixed nouns are mixed because they contain e, é, i, í + a deep-vowel.

1. Mixed words i, í + plus a deep vowel take the accusative suffix -OT or -T. (The plural is -OK, remember!)

iratot (document), kavicsot (pebble), tintát (ink)

Obviously nouns ending in a vowel like ‘tinta’ belong to this category, too. They just get a -t because they end in a vowel.

Also, remember that some nouns ending in a certain consonant (see above Group 1) simply take -t with no link vowel:

bíborost (cardinal), zivatart (storm)

2. Mixed nouns with e, é  + a deep vowel take –OT or -T.

sétányt (avenue, promenade), játékot (toy), ajándékot (present, gift)

3. Monosyllabic nouns containing long í are either high or deep. Remember their plural form because then you know the accusative suffix, too: -OT, -AT, -ET.

gyíkot (lizard), síkot (plane), sípot (fife), csíkot (stripe)

díjat (award/fee), íjat (bow), szíjat (strap), ín-inat (tendon), nyíl-nyilat (arrow), híd-hidat (bridge)

ívet (arch), rímet (rhyme), címet (title), víz-vizet (water)

AND csíny (prank), kín (pain), íny (gums), sír (tomb), szín (colour), ír (Irish), dísz (ornament), hír (news), sín (rail), íz (flavour), rizs (rice) become: csínyt, kínt, ínyt, sírt, színt, írt, dísz, hírt, sínt, ízt, rizst. But if you refer to an Irish person, it is better to say: ír férfit, ír nőt.

The three long ú nouns take -AT: borjú – borjat (calf), varjú-varjat (crow), fiú-fiút-fiat (boy-son)

Group 8: COMPOUND WORDS

Compound nouns are made accusative according to the last noun.

házépítést – house construction
rövidnadrágot – shorts
fénykardot – light saber

Group 9: ADOPTED WORDS OR LOAN-WORDS

hotelt (hotel), fotelt (armchair), dizájnt (design), ímélt (e-mail), hárdvert (hardware), szoftvert (software), kommunikációt (communication)

SUPPLEMENTAL

férfi – férfiak – férfit (man) DEEP-VOWEL WORD!

ujj – ujjak – ujjat (finger) DEEP-VOWEL WORD!

arany – aranyak – aranyat  (gold) DEEP-VOWEL WORD!

E-Ö words: csend/csönd – csendet/csöndet (silence)

cseppet/csöppöt-csöppet: csepp/csöpp means drop (like a drop of water); If the the accusative is csöppet, it means a bit. If the accusative is csöppöt, then it’s the accusative for drop!!

PLURAL FOR ACCUSATIVE CASE

Example for the plural form for nouns in accusative case:

ház – házak – házat – házakat

So you first make the noun plural and then accusative with a link vowel because there’s a -k plural suffix. That’s all. But let’s see more examples:

szem – szemek – szemet – szemeket (high-vowel noun) / eyes

dolog – dolgok – dolgot – dolgokat (drop-vowel noun) / things

szamár – szamarak – szamarat – szamarakat (last vowel shortened) / donkeys

ív – ívek – ívet – íveket (monosyllabic high-vowel noun) / archs

and so on…

So remember! FIRST PLURAL + THEN ATTACH ACCUSATIVE! = NOUN + LINK VOWEL (if needed) + -K + LINK VOWEL + -T

Nouns and Plural Form – Nominative Case

NOUNS AND PLURAL FORM – NOMINATIVE CASE

First the solution to the article exercise:

az ablak – the window

a konyha – the kitchen

egy ajtó – a door

egy kalap – a hat

egy / az élet – a life, the life

NOUNS

There is no need to worry about Hungarian nouns. As there is no gender discrimination, nouns are neither masculine nor feminine. We don’t have neuter nouns, either. They are nouns just like in English.

In English, the plural is formed in this way: houses, oxen, and there are a couple of exceptions for different reasons like fish, information, advice, police, people, man/men, child/children

Hungarian plural is formed the suffix -k. You add that -k to the end of the nouns like this: méhek (bees), emberek (people), házak (houses), állomások (stations). So far so good. The difficulty is that there are exceptions worthy of consideration.

Rule 1: a/e become á/é in the plural at the end of a noun.

anya – anyák (mother – mothers)
apa – apák (father – fathers)
kacsa – kacsák (duck – ducks)
kefe – kefék (brush – brushes)
eke – ekék (plough – ploughs)
teve – tevék (camel – camels)

Any other vowel is free from this rule. You just add -k to end of a noun: kapuk (gates), padlók (floors), erdők (forests), kesztyűk (gloves).

NOTE! Hungarian nouns never end in Á, É, O, Ö!

Rule 2: If nouns end a in consonant or two, it would be difficult even for us to pronounce them with the -k suffix. That’s way we need a vowel between the noun and the plural suffix -k. It’s called LINK VOWEL. Link vowels can be: o, a, e, ö.

Let’s see the high-vowel nouns first! High vowels are: e, é, ö, ő, ü, ű. Now let’s forget about i, í for a moment.

1. High-vowel nouns take the suffix -k + an E or Ö link vowel. Suffixes for such nouns are -EK or -ÖK. Nouns having e, é take -EK. Examples:

emberek (people), jelek (signs), székek (chairs), gépek (machines)

2. High-vowel nouns whose last syllable is ö, ő, ü, ű take the plural -ÖK. Examples:

elnökök (presidents), gyümölcsök (fruits), köldökök (navels), küszöbök (thresholds), örömök (delights)

3. Monosyllabic high-vowel nouns containing ö, ő, ü, ű and ending in one or two consonants take -EK or -ÖK. These nouns must be memorized!

övek (belts), őzek (roes), tőgyek (udders), fülek (ears), ügyek (affairs), rügyek (burgeons), völgyek (valleys), hölgyek (ladies), könyvek (books), tölgyek (oaks), szörnyek (monsters), földek (lands), törzsek (trunks)

Irregular nouns are: szűz – szüzek (virgins) and tűz – tüzek (fires) whose long ű becomes short ü in the plural form.

tökök (marrows), gyökök (roots), körök (circles), szőrök (hairs), bőrök (skins), gőzök (steams), bűzök (stenches), őrök (guards), böjtök (fasts), szörpök (syrups), görcsök (cramps), fürtök (clusters), kürtök (horns)

4. High-vowel suffixes requiring -EK. You don’t have to know what those suffixes do, but if you see them, you’ll know how to put them in the plural form.

  • -vény / emelvények – platforms
  • -mény / élmények – experiences
  • -és / kérések – requests
  • -et / felületek – surfaces
  • -ség / térségek – areas
  • -ész / kertészek – gardeners
  • -zet / mennyezetek – ceilings

Sorry if some English nouns (which shouldn’t be) are made plural, but I want to show you how those Hungarian nouns can be made plural.

Now we’ll talk about deep-vowel nouns.

Rule 3: Deep-vowel nouns take the plural -OK or -AK.

1. Standard deep-vowel nouns simply take -OK:

kalapok (hats), állatok (animals), vonatok (trains), lányok (girls)

2. Two monosyllabic deep-vowel nouns take -AK: fogak (teeth), tollak (pens; feathers)

3. Some monosyllabic deep-vowel nouns containing a, á take the plural -AK (because of historical reasons). I’m going to write just a few of them. You can see and learn the rest in the book you can download:

kádak (bath-tubs), falak (walls), halak (fish), gyárak (factories)

4. Monosyllabic deep-vowel nouns ending in two consonants and having a, á either take -OK or -AK. No rules for them. You’d better memorize them.

árnyak (shadows), szárnyak (wings), nyársak (prods), társak (mates), sarjak (sprouts), tárgyak (objects)

BUT!

tapsok (applauses), kardok (swords), partok (shores, beaches), pártok (political parties), pántok (hinges), táncok (dances), sáncok (fortifications)

5. Deep-vowel suffixes requiring -OK. You don’t need to know (yet) what these suffixes do, but if you see them, you know you have to make them plural with -OK.

-vány / látványok  – spectacles
-mány / takarmányok – forages
-ás / szokások – customs
-at / lakatok – padlocks
-ság / társaságok – companionships
-ász / jogászok – jurists
-zat / ruházatok – clothings

Furthermore, there are three nouns ending in ú and taking the plural -AK:

borjú / borjak (calves)
varjú / varjak (crows)

AND

fiú has two plural forms: fiúk / fiak. The plural FIÚK means BOYS, while the plural FIAK means SONS.

DROP-VOWEL NOUNS

Drop-vowel nouns suffer some kind of mutation when made plural (and also accusative. Later about that). Let’s see this example: BOKOR (bush)

Step 1: Remove the last vowel BOKOR and you get this: BOKR

Step 2: Figure out what link vowel you need. In this case, it’s logical. We need O: BOKRO

Step 3: Add the plural suffix -K: BOKROK

BOKOR – bush
BOKROK – bushes

There are a couple of nouns like bokor. I’ll give you a few examples. Please check the rest of the nouns belonging to this category in the ‘Download the grammar book’ section. Listing them all would take a lot of space in this entry.

álom / álmok (dreams), dolog /dolgok (things), ököl / öklök (fists), szobor / szobrok (statues)

Typical drop-vowel nouns end in -ALOM, -ELEM suffix: szerelem / szerelmek (loves), hatalom / hatalmak (powers).

-ALOM becomes -ALMAK
-ELEM becomes -ELMEK

I cannot give you an exact number of how many nouns like these above exist because -alom, -elem turn verbs into nouns. It depends on what you would like to say.

 

NOUNS WITH THE LAST VOWEL SHORTENED

With these nouns it is easy to know the plural. -Ek for high-vowel nouns, -AK for deep-vowel nouns. This concerns nouns containing Á or É in that last closed syllable.

Let me show two examples of ‘last vowel change’:

MADÁR (bird)
MADARAK (birds)

EGÉR (mouse)
EGEREK (mice)

You see the Á becomes A and the noun takes the plural -AK, as well, as the É becomes E and the noun takes the plural -EK. That’s it. These nouns (and those two above) are the ones you should be careful with:

DEEP-VOWEL WORDS WITH THE LAST VOWEL SHORTENED

kanál / kanalak – spoons
szamár / szamarak – donkeys
pohár / poharak – glasses (to drink from)
bogár / bogarak – bugs
nyár / nyarak – summers
sár / sarak – muds
mocsár / mocsarak – marshes
sugár / sugarak – rays
kosár / kosarak – baskets

Some monosyllabic words having long ú becoming short u:

kút / kutak – wells
lúd / ludakgeese
úr / urak – lords, gentlemen
út / utak – roads
nyúl / nyulak – rabbits
rúd / rudak – rods

HIGH-VOWEL NOUNS WITH THE LAST VOWEL SHORTENED

Please check the rest of these nouns in the downloadable book. There you can find a more extended list.

szekér / szekerek – carts
tehén / tehenek – cows
kenyér / kenyerekslices of bread
fedél /fedelek – roofs, covers
veréb / verebek – sparrows
cserép / cserepek – tiles, shards
szemét / szemetek – rubbish
levél / levelek – leaves, letters
ég / egek – skies
ér / erek – veins
fél /felek – members; halves
szél / szelek – winds
bél / belek – bowels
tél / telek – winters
dél / delek – noons
nyél / nyelek – handles, shafts
dér / derek – white frosts
tér / terek – squares, areas
légy / legyek – flies

And in parallel with the monosyllabic long ú nouns, here we have two monosyllabic long ű nouns. That long ű becomes short ü in the plural. You already know these words, actually.

szűz / szüzek – virgins
tűz / tüzek – fires

And two irregular nouns: DERÉK / DEREKAK (waists), FAZÉK / FAZEKAK (pots)

Note that usually nouns ending in -ár/-ér, -ál/-él are subject to such changes. There are a couple of them, so they should be memorized. Most of the nouns with similar forms are regular: tálak (dishes), határok (boundaries), etc.

V-NOUNS

V-nouns get a V inserted in the plural. High-vowel nouns take the plural suffix -EK, deep-vowel nouns take the suffix -AK. Furthermore, the long vowel (ő, ű, ó) becomes short (ö, ü, o) in the plural. Just a few words belong there:

kő / kövek – stones
cső / csövek – tubes
tő / tövek – roots, stems
ló / lovak – horses
hó / havak – snows > Ó becomes A
tó / tavak – lakes
fű / füvek – grass(es)
mű / művek – works, factories > Ű stays Ű
nyű / nyüvek – maggots
fű / füvek – grasses

NOTE! The long ű in MŰVEK doesn’t change in the plural.

Here you can learn two adjectives: bő – bővek (abundant); jó – jók/javak (good/possessions)

Some other nouns behace like V-nouns, but they have two plural forms. A regular plural and a V-plural. Some have different meanings.

mag / magok / magvak – seeds
lé / lék /levek – juices
daru / daruk / darvak – cranes
falu / faluk / falvak – villages
tetű / tetűk / tetvek – cooties
szó / szók /szavak – words
fattyú / fattyúk / fattyak – bastards (extramarital children)

The plurals for mag, lé, falu, tetű, fattyú mean the same thing.

DARU: daruk refers to machines, while darvak means birds.

SZÓ: szók is used with grammatical expressions (kérdőszók – interrogative words), whereas szavak is used with general expressions (szép szavak – nice words)

MIXED NOUNS

Mixed nouns contain both deep and high vowels! They are mixed because they have I, Í, E, É in them + a deep vowel. As a rule, the last vowel decides if a noun is a high or deep.

1. Mixed nouns having I, Í + a deep-vowel in them are deep-vowel words and take the plural -OK:

iratok (documents), szállítmányok (shipments), kavicsok (pebbles), tinták (inks)

2. Mixed nouns with E, É + a deep-vowel in them are deep-vowel words and take the plural -OK:

sétányok (avenues), játékok (toys), tányérok (plates), szomszédok (neighbours)

3. Monosyllabic nouns containing long í are either high or deep. They should be memorized. The plural can be: -ok, -ak, -ek

gyíkok (lizards)
kínok (pains)
sípok (fifes)
síkok (planes)
sírok (tombs)
csíkok (stripes)

díjak (awards)
íjak (bows)
szíjak (straps)
ín / inak (tendons) LONG Í BECOMES SHORT I
híd / hidak (bridges) LONG Í BECOMES SHORT I
nyíl / nyilak (arrows) LONG Í BECOMES SHORT I

csínyek (pranks)
színek (colors)
ívek (archs)
rímek (rhymes)
címek (titles)
írek (Irish)
díszek (ornaments)
hírek (news)
ínyek (palates, gums)
sínek (rails)
ízek (flavors)
víz / vizek (waters) LONG Í BECOMES SHORT I

And another word: rizs / rizsek (rice)

COMPOUND WORDS

A compound word consists of two individual nouns.

Hungarian compound words are deep or high according to the last word. Here you see what such words become and the plural form attached to them.

ház + építések = házépítések – house constructions
torna + terem = tornatermek – gymnasia (literally: gymnastics rooms)
lámpa + oszlop = lámpaoszlopok – lamp posts

ADOPTED WORDS or LOAN-WORDS

LOAN-WORDS are foreign words already adopted to the Hungarian writing system. Their plural forms still vary, but there’s no difference in their meaning.

fotel / fotelok or fotelek – armchairs
hotel / hotelok or hotelek – hotels BUT

konténer / konténerek – containers
hieroglifa / hieroglifák – hieroglyphs

NOTE! Hungarian writing likes the assimilation f foreign words if the use of those words has become prevalent enough.

dizájnok – designs
ímélek – emails
szoftverek – softwares
hárdverek – hardwares

ALSO NOTE! Foreign words are often mixed words by Hungarian concept, so we need to decide which group they belong to (high or deep) and deal with them accordingly.

SUPPLEMENTAL

Let’s see some nouns we haven’t talked about yet. These nouns are irregular, so be careful with them.

FÉRFI – man: looks a harmless high-vowel noun, but it is a DEEP-VOWEL NOUN! Its plural is: FÉRFIAK – men

UJJ – finger: obviously a deep-vowel noun and its plural is UJJAK – fingers

ARANY – gold: deep-vowel noun and the plural is ARANYAK – golds

Furthermore, there are high-vowel noun having E or Ö whose vowels are still changing. NOTE! The plural for such nouns is -EK. Example:

CSEND – silence / CSENDEK  – (silences)
CSÖND – silence / CSÖNDEK – (silences)

It’s not important which you use if they stand alone. If they’re part of a compound word the E version is used.

CSENDHÁBORÍTÁS – riot (literally: breach of silence )

CSEPPFOLYÓS – liquid, fluid

GOOD NEWS! WE’RE DONE WITH NOUNS!!!!

From the next entry on, we’ll take a look at the ACCUSATIVE CASE of these nouns.

Adjectives

ADJECTIVES

Adjectives are words describing nouns. They express quality, characteristics, condition and the fact that something/somebody belongs to somewhere, something is fitted with something

Let’s divide adjectives in two groups: attributive adjectives and predicative adjectives.

ATTRIBUTIVE ADJECTIVES

Hungarian attributive adjectives are like their English fellows. They precede nouns and under this condition they’re unmarked for case, that is they must not made plural, accusative and so on…They’re just adjectives like in English. Examples:

szép lány – beautiful girl
szép lányok – beautiful girls
Látom a szép lányt. – I see the beautiful girl.
Látom a szép lányokat. – I see the beautiful girls.

See? The adjective szép is unmarked for case. Easy

PREDICATIVE ADJECTIVES

Hungarian predicative adjectives are part of predicative expressions and so they follow nouns and are MARKED FOR CASE! Example:

A lány szép. – The girl is beautiful.
A lányok szépek. – The girls are beautiful.

NOTE! Hungarian predicative adjectives do not use the substantive verb (van, vannak) in 3rd person singular and plural when in present tense. You see English uses ‘is’ and ‘are’ in such sentences. Hungarian doesn’t! In any other person/number and tense, they must be used. Compare:

Én szép vagyok. – I’m beautiful.

Te szép vagy. – You’re beautiful.

Ő szép. – She’s beautiful. (Note, a sentence like ”Ő szép van” is wrong! No substantive verb!)

Mi szépek vagyunk. – We’re beautiful.

Ti szépek vagytok. – You’re beautiful.

Ők szépek. – They’re beautiful. (Note, a sentence like ”Ők szépek vannak” is wrong! No substantive verb!)

NOTE! In such sentences the substantive verb is at the end of the sentence: Kedvesek vagytok. – You’re (pl) kind. Furthermore, such sentences are fitted with predicative adjectives, so I used the personal pronouns to have a visible subject, but these pronouns can be omitted: Szépek vagytok and so on…

And one more thing! As these are sentences with predicative adjectives, the adjectives are to be made plural in the plural numbers and persons: SZÉPEK vagyunk (we’re beautiful), and not SZÉP vagyunk!

As predicative adjectives are marked for case, they can take suffixes nouns also can! Since you already know the accusative case (I hope ), let’s take a look at adjectives made accusative. In such sentences English has this solution: the + adjective + one. Now let’s see what I’m talking about:

Which one do you choose? – The red one.
Melyiket választod? – A pirosat. (piros-red is made accusative singular because I choose it, it’s a direct object!)

Which one do you choose? – The red ones.
Melyiket választod? – A pirosakat. (piros is made accusative plural because I choose them, it’s a direct object!)

Which are you talking about? – (About) the red one.
Melyikről beszélsz? – A pirosról. (with suffix -ról corresponding with the preposition ‘about’ in this sentence)

-The bus driver hit the car. – The blue one? -No, the red one.
-A buszvezető nekiment a kocsinak. –A kéknek? -Nem, a pirosnak. (Now with the suffix -nak because the verb requires this suffix, while English requires a simple object ‘hit something’)

I recommend you read this through over and over again. Next time we’ll talk about how to make adjectives plural! But I’ll give you a summary about this entry.

SUMMARY

Attributive adjectives:
precede nouns and are unmarked for case, that is they must not take any suffix.

Predicative adjectives:
follow nouns and are marked for case, whatever case is needed.
The 3rd person singular and plural (van, vannak) of the substantive verb is omitted in present tense. But they’re required in any other person/number and tense!
– Remember to make adjectives plural in such sentences when needed (in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person plural).

PLURAL ADJECTIVES

Like nouns, adjectives can be made plural, too. Remember those groups for nouns? We have groups (quite) like that for adjectives. Let’s get started!

The plural suffix is -k like for nouns! We also use link vowels if necessary.

Group 1: Adjectives ending in certain vowels

1. If the final vowel is A, E in an adjective, it becomes Á, É. (the same situation as for nouns)

laza – lazák (loose), enyhe – enyhék (mild)

2. Adjectives ending in long Ó, Ő take the plural -K or -AK, -EK. And how you know when to use what? Adjectives that are already used as nouns take -K. Real adjectives can take -K or -AK, -EK. Of course, you should take heed of vowel harmony like always.

adjectives already used as a noun: szállítók (suppliers)
real adjectives: kérkedők / kérkedőek (ostentatious), meghatók / meghatóak (touching – like the films are touching)

3. Adjectives in long Ú, Ű take -AK, -EK.

hosszúak (long), szomorúak (sad), egyszerűek (simple), hűek (faithful)

Examples in sentences:

-A hosszú padokat tegyük a terembe? -Igen, a hosszúak jók lesznek.
-Shall we put the long benches in the room? – Yes, the long ones will do.

Az indoeurópai nyelvek egyszerűek. – Indo-European languages are simple.

A kérkedőket senki sem szereti. – Nobody likes the ostentatious.

A déli területeken a telek enyhék. – Winters are mild in the southern areas.

Group 2: High-vowel adjectives

a. High-vowel adjectives take the plural -EK. (Remember nouns!)

keskenyek (narrow), szépek (beautiful), ügyesek (able, brave), szelídek (tame)

b. Remember the rules for nouns whose last syllable is ö, ő, ü, ű? Actually, I don’t recall one single adjective with that characteristics unless it has a suffix to make the word adjective. If you ever meet such a word, let’s just say such adjectives can take both -EK and -ÖK. You choose. I’d like to give you an example of an old word not used anymore. That word is: gőzös.

Gőzös is an old word for train (the modern day word for train is vonat). This word is made up of the noun gőz meaning steam and the suffix -ös. Literally meaning steamy. If you put this word in the plural with -ÖK, gőzösök, it refers to trains. If you use the plural -EK with it, gőzösek, it refers to several things that are full of steam. Well, we don’t use this word anymore, just an example for a possible difference in meaning. BUT it already has the suffix -ÖS!

c. High-vowel suffixes creating adjectives take -EK or -ÖK. Memorize them please. You don’t have to know what these suffixes mean (yet), but if you see them, you know how to make them plural.

-s / félősek – félősök (timid)
-ös / közönyösek – közönyösök (unconcerned)
-es / tüzesek (fiery)
-telen / szemtelenek (impudent)
-etlen / kellemetlenek (inconvenient)
-elmes / kényelmesek (comfortable)
-énk / élénkek (vivid)
-ékeny / érzékenyek (sensitive)
-i / szűziek (chaste, virginal)
-tt / küldöttek (emissary)

Group 3: Deep-vowel adjectives

a. Deep-vowel adjectives take the plural -OK or AK. It has to be memorized. However, monosyllabic words having a, á can be a starting point.

vastagok (thick), nagyok (big), rosszak (bad), vékonyak (thin), alacsonyak (small)

Note! It’s not plural, BUT adjectives formed from monosyllabic a, á nouns with -ak plural take -as, not -os!

vaj – vajak – vajas  (buttery)
haj – hajak – hajas (hairy – like someone has hair on his head)
társ – társak – társas (social)

BUT

baj – bajok – bajos (difficult)
zaj – zajok – zajos (noisy)
kard – kardok – kardos (someone with sword; bossy)

b. Deep-vowel suffixes making adjectives out of words require the plural -AK more often than not.

-s / csúszósak (slippery), búsak (tearful)
as / lázasak (feverish)
-os / vázlatosak (sketchy)
-talan / hasztalanok (useless)
-atlan / szakadatlanok (unremitting)
-almas / szánalmasak (pitiful)
-ánk / falánkok, falánkak (esurient, gluttonous)
-ékony / kártékonyak (mischievous)
-i / barátiak (friendly)
-tt / vágottak (cut – The flowers are cut)

Group 4: A few other words belonging to other classifications

Drop-vowel adjectives: bátor – bátrak (brave)
Those men are brave. – Azok a férfiak bátrak.

Adjective with the last syllable shortened: nehéz – nehezek (heavy, difficult)
The luggages are heavy. – A csomagok nehezek.
The tasks are difficult. – A feladatok nehezek.

The adjective ifjú (remember borjú, varjú): ifjú – ifjak (young)
Those boys are still young. – Azok a fiúk még ifjak.

Note! The word ifjú can be heard from elder people. Nowadays the word fiatal is used for young whose plural is fiatalok. However, when talking about the youth, the noun ifjúság is often heard. You can choose:

Az ifjúság engedetlen. – The youth is disobedient.
A fiatalok engedetlenek. – The young are disobedient.

High-vowel adjective: bő – bővek (abundant/loose).
A ruhák túl bővek. – The clothes are too loose.

And a little more suffering

ACCUSATIVE AND DATIVE CASE FOR ADJECTIVES

It’ simple. Follow the rules for how to make nouns plural. Some examples:

lazát, enyhét, kedveset, fiatalt, okosat, szépet, ügyeset

Note! The adjectives ending in long ú, ű simply take -t: hosszút, könnyűt

The dative case (-nak, -nek) is attached to the adjective: szépnek, okosnak, lazának, könnyűnek

COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES

These are English methods for comparison:

positive: Peter is as tall as Adam. / Peter is not as tall as Adam.
comparative: Peter is taller than Adam./ Peter is less taller than Adam.
superlative: Peter is the tallest of all./ Peter is the least tall of all.

And it looks like this in Hungarian:

POSITIVE: no suffix is used but the following adverb pairs: olyan…mint; nem olyan…mint; ugyanolyan…mint; nem ugyanolyan…mint

Péter olyan okos, mint Dávid. – Peter is as smart as David.
Dávid nem olyan okos, mint Ádám. – David is not so smart as Adam.
Péter ugyanolyan magas, mint Ádám. – Peter is the same tall as Adam.
Dávid nem ugyanolyan magas, mint Ádám. – David is not the same tall as Adam.

Or you can say nem annyira instead of olyan. Everyday language uses both of them. NOTE! You compare things/people like this: (nem) annyira…mint

Péter annyira okos, mint Ádám. – Peter is as smart as Adam.
Dávid nem annyira okos, mint Ádám. – David is not as smart as Adam.

COMPARATIVE: is expressed with the suffix -bb, sometimes with a link vowel if needed: -obb, -abb, -ebb. The second part of this comparison can be mint (like above) or the suffixes -nál/-nél. The word mint is the only preposition in Hungarian. If something or someone is compared in a negative way, the adverb kevésbé can be used, meaning less.

Péter okosabb Dávidnál. / Péter okosabb, mint Dávid. – Peter is smarter than David.
Dávid nem okosabb Ádámnál. / Dávid nem okosabb, mint Ádám. – David is not smarter than Adam.
Péter kevésbé okosabb Ádámnál. / Péter kevésbé okosabb, mint Ádám. – Peter is less smart than Adam.

SUPERLATIVE: expressed with a leg-…-bb, sometimes with a link vowel (-obb, -abb, -ebb). Note the only prefix in Hungarian is leg-!

Péter a legnagyobb. – Peter is the tallest.
Dávid a legkisebb. – David is the smallest.
Sanyi a legokosabb mind közül. / Sanyi a legokosabb köztük. – Alex is the smartest of all.
Anna viszont meglepően a legszexisebb! – Ann, in turn, is surprisingly the sexiest!
A gulyás a legjobb étel a világon. – Goulash is the best meal in the world.

SUMMARY

Positive:
(nem) olyan…mint = (not) as…as
(nem) ugyanolyan…mint = (not) the same…as

Comparative:
(nem) -bb…mint OR (nem) -bb…-nál/-nél = (not) …-er…than
kevésbé…-bb…mint OR kevésbé…-bb…-nál/-nél = less…than

Sometimes -bb needs a link vowel: -obb, -abb, -ebb!

Superlative:
(nem) a leg-…-bb (mind közül/a világon) = (not) the …-est/the most… (of all/in the world)

These are all possibilities. Either you compare like this or like that.

As English (good-best, bad-worst…), Hungarian also has irregular adjectives when in comparison. These are:

szép (beautiful), (good), nehéz (heavy, difficult), kevés (little, few), lassú (slow), hosszú (long), ifjú (young), könnyű (easy), bátor (brave), fiatal (young), hamar (soon), fent (up), lent (down), középen (in the middle), kint (outside), bent (inside)

THE LAST VOWEL SHORTENED:

szép – szebb – a legszebb
nehéz – nehezebb – a legnehezebb
kevés – kevesebb – a legkevesebb
jó – jobb – a legjobb

SOME WORDS ENDING IN LONG Ú, Ű:

hosszú – hosszabb – a leghosszabb
lassú – lassabb – a leglassabb
ifjú – ifjabb – a legifjabb
könnyű – könnyebb – a legkönnyebb

DROP-VOWEL ADJECTIVE: bátor – bátrabb – legbátrabb

THE ADJECTIVE FIATAL: fiatal – fiatalabb – a legfiatalabb

THE ADVERB OF TIME HAMAR: hamar – hamarabb – a leghamarabb

SOME ADVERBS OF PLACE ENDING IN -SÓ, -SŐ WHEN IN COMPARISON:
fent – felső – a legfelső
lent – alsó – a legalsó
középen – középső – NO DEGREE
kint – külső – a legkülső
bent – belső – a legbelső

NOTE! Supreme court is said like this: A LEGFELSŐBB BÍRÓSÁG.

Furthermore, the adjective KICSI must not be compared. Instead, KIS is used when in comparison: kicsi/kis – kisebb – a legkisebb

And the contrary of the best is the worst which is not irregular in Hungarian: rossz (bad) – rosszabb (worse) – a legrosszabb (the worst)

ADJECTIVAL EXPRESSIONS

Adjectival expressions consist of an adjective and a complement to it. They follow or precede the noun in English, but always precede the noun in Hungarian!

Here are some examples:

emberekkel teli buszbus full of people
takaróval fedett ágybed covered with blanket
vörös hajú redhaired woman

For you the best example is the last one ‘red-haired woman’. In Hungarian you have to say such expressions with that word order even if English dictates something different.

That’s all about it. It needs some practice, but it’s not the hardest thing in the Hungarian grammar.

Definite and Indefinite Articles

Definite and Indefinite Articles

Before jumping into ‘How to make nouns plural?’, we should talk about the articles. But first things first. Let’s see the solutions to the exercises in last blog entry.

ablakon, repülőtől, bankban, egyetemen, állomáson

ablak contains deep vowel, so it takes the suffix -ban
– repülő is high vowel, so it takes -től
– bank is deep vowel, it takes -ban
egyetem is unequivocally a high-vowel word, so it takes -en
állomás is definitely a deep-vowel word, so it takes -on

Were you answers good? I hope so . If not, practice, practice, practice. And now the articles!

Hungarian articles can be definite and indefinite like in English. There are two definite articles: a, az (the). There’s only one indefinite article: egy (a, an).

The definite article a is used with words beginning with a consonant: a tábla (the board), a férfi (the man).
The definite article az is used with words beginning with a vowel: az állat (the animal), az erdő (the forest).

The indefinite article egy is used both with words beginning with a vowel or consonant: egy tábla (a board), egy férfi (a man), egy állat (an animal), egy erdő (a forest). The thing about the indefinite article is that it is a weak/not stressed form of the number egy (one). If you say ‘egy tábla’, the stress is on tábla. If you talk about ONE board and no more than that, the stress is on egy.

EGY as INDEFINITE ARTICLE: EGY TÁBLA (verbal emphasis on tábla)
EGY as NUMERAL: EGY TÁBLA (verbal emphasis on egy)

Exercises: choose the proper form. The English examples will help you.

a / az ? ablak – the window

a / az ? konyha – the kitchen

egy / a ? ajtó – a door

az / egy ? kalap – a hat

a / egy / az ? élet – a life, the life

After learning how to put nouns in the plural, I’ll write an entry about the use of Hungarian articles which many times differs from English. And most importantly, all you have to deal with is A, AZ, EGY. Hungarian articles are NOT PUT IN ANY CASE OR NUMBER, much like in English.

Language and Pronunciation

ABOUT HUNGARIAN

And here some reasons why Hungarian is not a difficult language:

-One letter is one sound (if you know how to pronounce a letter, you say it exactly like that in every word)
-No gender discrimination (much like in English)
-Adjectives are unmarked when preceding nouns (like in English)
-There is only one present tense, one past tense and the future tense is often expressed with present tense
-Only 14(-20) irregular verbs in the entire language!!
-No striking dialect variations (if you can speak Hungarian, you’ll understand people in the whole country)

Here are some reasons why Hungarian is a difficult language:

-Two ways to conjugate verbs (definite and indefinite)
-Some vowels and consonants are not present in English, or they’re said in a slightly different way
-It is an agglutinative language, that is suffixes are attached to the end of the word. Prepositions are quite unknown. There is only one of them ‘mint’.

Vowels – A a

The Hungarian a is different from anything you know in English. Well almost. You don’t say it as the a in cat or the a in access.

The simplest explanation is the interrogative word: WHAT. The a in what is the closest thing I can refer to if I have to explain native English speakers how to say it. Many books, websites and teachers teach nonsense like “The phoneme a is to be pronounced as o in hot”. It is important for you to understand that Hungarian a has no correlation with any kind of o. Yes, it’s between á (sound like u in cup) and o (sound like o in hot with British pronunciation), but still, it’s definitely not similar to o.

Practice saying these Hungarian words by saying WHAT first and then the Hungarian words:

WHAT- ALMA (apple)
WHAT- ABLAK (window)
WHAT- ALAK (figure)
WHAT – ADAT (data)
WHAT – ALAP (base)

Vowels – Difference between Á-O-A

If you’ve downloaded the book, you already know this:

á is to be pronounced like u in cut, but it’s always a long sound! A better example is the word spa.

o is to be pronounced like hot, bot with British pronunciation! It’s a short sound. Its long version is ó.

a is to be pronounced like the a in the English word what.

Practice these words:

alom (litter)
farok (tail)
okos (smart)
óvatos (wary)
gondos (thoughful)
parkoló (car park)
szálloda (hotel)

Vowels – E e, É é

e is pronounced like e in get
é is pronounced like a in bay, except that in Hungarian é never becomes y at the end. Try to say bay without the y.

Practice these words:

szél (wind)
szel (to cut)

téli (winter – as adjective)
teli (full)

vér (blood)
ver (to beat, to hit)

Vowels — I i, Í í

The short i is pronounced like i in kit, the long í like ee in deep.

Practice these words:

kis (small)
iskola (school)
kinn (outside)

ír (to write; Irish)
sír (to cry)
nyíl (arrow)

Vowels — O o, Ó ó

The short o is pronounced like o in hot with British pronunciation. The long ó is said like o in role.

Practice these words:

tol (to push)
bokor (bush)
rokon (relative)

jó (good)
pók (spider)
folyó (river)

Vowels – Ö ö, Ő ő

ö is pronounced like fur, early, curly, certain, curtain, again
ő is the same, just longer

Practice these words:

tör (to break)
szög (angle)
köd (fog)
köp (to spit)

lő (to shoot)
kő (stone)
nő (woman)
tő (shaft)

and watch the difference between short ö and long ő:

tör (to break)
tőr (dagger)

örök (eternal)
őrök (guards)

töke (his marrow)
tőke (capital)

Vowels — U u, Ú ú

The short u is pronounced like u in put. The long ú is said like oo in shoot.

Practice these words:

un (to be annoyed)
ruha (clothes)
kulcs (key)

út (road)
súly (weight)
búcsú (good-bye)

Vowels – Ü ü, Ű ű

It’s the hardest vowel for a native English speaker. Examples can be given from other foreign languages.

ü is pronounced like: ü the German word Mütter or u in the French word tu.
ű is the same, just longer.

Practice these words:

ül (to be sitting)
fül (ear)
szül (to bear a child)
küld (to send)
szünet (pause)
tünet (symptom)
üveg (bottle)

űr (space)
fű (grass)
szűk (narrow)
tű (needle)

Consonants – C c , CS cs

c is pronounced like ts in tsunami
cs is pronounced like ch in change, church. You always write c and s together if you want to write that ch sound

C = TS (tsunami)
CS = CH (change)

Practice these words:

cica (kitten)
cukor (sugar)
kelepce (trap)

csend (silence)
kacsa (duck)
csapat (team)

Consonants – DZ dz, DZS dzs

There’s no need to worry about these consonants. They are present in a few words.

dz is pronounced like ds in Hudson. The letter dz is a digraph, that is two letters give one sound.
dzs is pronounced like j in jungle. The letter dzs is a trigraph, that is three letters give one sound.

The few words with dz and dzs are:

madzag (string)
edz (to be in training)
bodza (elderberry)
dzsungel (jungle)
dzsem (jam)
maharadzsa (maharaja)

If you want to tarnscribe the word JUDO in Hungarian, it goes like this: DZSÚDÓ

Consonants – G g , GY gy

g is always pronounced like g in get
gy is like saying d in duty, duke with British pronunciation

Practice these words:

galamb (pigeon)
gomb (button)
gitár (guitar)
gömb (orb, sphere)
adag (dose)
ország (country)
bagoly (owl)

gyep (lawn)
egy (one)
megy (he goes)
gyenge (weak)
gyufa (match)
agyag (clay)
gyalog (on foot)

Consonants – H h

H is not really a difficult consontant, but needs an explanation. Fundamentally, it is never a mute h! You always say it like in these words: hit, hat, honey. However, there are some exceptions when h is at the end of certain words. These three words are said without that h sound!

méh (bee), rüh (mange), düh (anger)

If they get a suffix, then h is pronounced again: méhek (bees), rühes (mangy), dühös (angry)

Other words ending in h are fully pronounced: doh (fustiness), potroh (abdomen of an insect)

Consonants – J j, LY ly

If you remember, there are two sounds in Hungarian alphabet, which are pronounced as y in yellow. These are

J and LY

And the difference? There is no difference between j and ly. You say both like y in yellow.  The difference occurs in written form. Due to historical reasons, some words are written with j, some with ly. However, there is only one word beginning with ly: lyuk (hole). Let’s see some examples:

lya (stork)
lya (swaddle)
gally (twig) DOUBLE CONSONANT!
ilyen, olyan (like this, like that)
ölyv (buzzard)
bagoly (owl)

száj (mouth)
jelen (present)
nyáj (herd)
éj (night)  – Actually, this word is said like the letter A in English!

Consonants – NY ny, TY ty

ny is pronounced like n in new with British pronunciation
ty is pronounced like t in stew, tuna with British pronunciation

COMPARE ny and ty to: – gy is pronounced like d in duke, duty with British pronunciation

Practice these words:

nyak (neck)
nyúl (rabbit)
anya (mother)
ny (girl)
nyal (to lick)
aranyos (cute, sweet – referring to animal, person)
nyeremény (prize)

tyúk (hen) > the only word beginning with ty!
atya (father – meaning clerk, not dad!)
latyak (slush)
ty (elder brother)
tyol (veil)
hattyú (swan) DOUBLE TY = TTY!

Consonants – S s vs. SZ sz

Now listen to this part carefully! These two sounds are quite in the way of driving foreign students crazy. I think you’ve already realized why.

In English, the S sound is to be said like s in see, spoon and sound itself . The SH combination, however, is said like in ship, Ashton.

NOW COMES THE IMPORTANT PART!

The Hungarian S sound is pronounced like the English SH!!!

AND

The Hungarian SZ sound is pronounced like the English S!!! Furthermore, note that this sound is created with S+Z! So if you see a word like ASZTAL (table), you don’t say s and z separately, but you say this digraph as one sound, like the English S.

Difficult? Not really. You just need to practice and memorize them.

Let’s see examples:

seb (wound)
sas (eagle)
só (salt – said like show in English)
has (belly – almost said like HUSH or HAH-SH)
esik (to fall, to rain)
ás (to dig)

sz (ready, finished)
veszély (danger – said like VEH-SAY;  if it helps?)
szesz (spirit, hard drink)
szex (sex)
eszik (to eat)
iszik (to drink)
szem (eye)

Consonants – Q q, W w, X x, Y y

We’ve arrived to the ’odd’ number 13. So now we’ll take a look at these four strange consonants: q, w, x, y.

What’s important about these consonants is that they are present in loan-words as they were adopted from abroad.

Q is actually not quite present in Hungarian words. The explanation is this: foreign words usually have q followed by u, that is qu. QUANTUM, AQUARIUM and so on. Hungarian transcribes these two letters into KV! Examples: quantum – kvantum; aquarium – akvárium, quartz – kvarc, quasar – kvazár

W is pronounced like the simple V! That is: watt is written like watt, but said as vatt. Other example:

English people say “I’m going to the toilet”, while Hungarian people say “WC-re megyek.” We use the abbreviation for water closet and say it like VÉCÉ, that is VA(Y)-TSA(Y) or VE(Y)-TSE(Y). I hope it’s some help at least.

X is said like IKSZ and pronounced like in English: szex (sex), fax (fax), maximum (maximum), expresszionizmus (expressionism), latex (latex), oximoron (oximoron), oxigén (oxygen). There some words where GZ replaces X: egzakt (exact), egzotikus (exotic), egzisztencia (existence), egzaltált (exalted).

Y is NOT PRONOUNCED in any way! The letter itself is called IPSZILON and has one job in Hungarian: to make g, l, n, t unvoiced!

g+y = gy
l+ y = ly
n+ y = ny
t +y = ty

Consonants – Z z vs. ZS zs

Z vs. ZS is much easier than S vs. SZ.

z is pronounced like z in zero, zap, zest. It’s the same as its English fellow.
zs is pronounced like s in pleasure, g in genre, or j in the French name Jean. If you see Z and S together in a word like ZSEB (pocket), you don’t say it separately, but like those S, G, J in those words

Examples for zs (because z is the same):

zsák (sack)
zsarnok (despot, oppressor)
zsaru (cop – it’s a word specifically for ‘cop’. Police-officer is rendőr)
Zsuzsanna (female name – Susan)
zs (beige)
darázs (wasp)
garázs (garage)
zsit (lawn – synonym is gyep)
zsa (rose)

Short and Long/High and Deep Vowels

As written in the book you can download in the Download the grammar book/More to Hungarian category, there are short and long vowels, and consonants are to be pronounced long/doubled if written doubled. It’s important since the length of these sounds changes the meaning of a word.

VOWELS: are either front or back vowel words. The Hungarian term is high (magas) and deep (mély) words. From now on I’ll refer to them like that. HIGH AND DEEP.

High vowels are: e, é, i,  í, ö, ő, ü, ű
Deep vowels are: a, á, o, ó, u, ú

Long sounds are: á, é, í, ó, ő, ú, ű
Short sounds are: a, e, i, o, ö, u, ü

Vowels written without accent are: a, e, o, u
Vowels written with one long accent (stroke on the top) are: á, é, í, ó, ú
Vowels written with two long accents are: ő, ű
Vowels written with two dots on the top are: ö, ü
There is only one vowel written with one dot: i

The capitalized versions of these vowels are the same A, Á, E, É, Í, O, Ó, Ö, Ő, U, Ú, Ü, Ű except the capitalized I which has no dot on the top.

Now let’s see how vowels can change the meaning of a word. In English, it should be familiar to some extent: hat, hit – cat, cut – pet, put…

Examples:

Short/Long vowel <> High/Deep vowels
ver (to beat) <> ver (to beat)
vér (blood) <> vár (to wait)

rak (to put) <> szó (word)
rák (cancer) <> sző (to weave)

kor (age) <> kár (damage)
kór (disease) <> kér (to ask)

kerek (round) <> szél (wind)
kerék (wheel) <> szál (strand)
kérek (I’d like) <> szól (to tell)

IMPORTANT! There are no diphthongs in Hungarian. Every vowel is spelled separately! The only diphthongs you can find is in autó (car) and Európa (Europe).

VOWEL HARMONY

All those troubles with vowels (and consonants) have a purpose. The purpose is to understand:

Hungarian words are either HIGH or DEEP VOWEL words.

Let’s see the vowels according to vowel harmony again.

High vowels: e, é, i, í, ö, ő, ü, ű
Deep vowels: a, á, o, ó, u, ú

The Hungarian language is entirely based on VOWEL HARMONY which means that high-vowel words take suffixes containing high vowels, while deep-vowel words take suffixes containing deep vowels. Examples:

Let’s see these two suffixes: –ban, -ben meaning in, inside. -ban is deep-vowel, -ben is high-vowel.

ház (deep word) + deep-vowel suffix -ban = házban (in the house)

kert (high word) + high-vowel suffix -ben = kertben (in the garden)

Well, that’s all about it in a few words. You can read about it much more in the book. And I’ll continue blogging about it soon. I’ll give you more examples and also exercises:

ablak + -on, -en ? = ablakon (on the window)
ágy + -nál, -nél ? = ágynál (next to the bed)
étterem + -ban, -ben ? = étteremben (in the restaurant)
tér + -hoz, -hez ? = térhez (to the square)

And now the exercises after the examples above:

asztal + -on, -en ? =______________ (on the table)
repülő + -tól, -től ? =_______________ (from the airplane)
bank + -ban, -ben? =________________ (in the bank)
egyetem + -on, -en? =_______________ (at the university)
állomás + -on, -en? =_______________(at the station)

NOTE! Accents on vowels are NOT SYLLABLE ACCENTS!

Long and Short Consonants

Important! While long and short vowels are part of the Hungarian alphabet, doubled consonants are NOT!

Examples can be Italian words : pizza, mamma. You say zz and mm doubled, double as long as it were z or m.

Simple consonants are doubled (gemination) by writing the same letter after it: bb, cc, dd, ff, gg, hh, jj, kk, ll, mm, nn, pp, rr, ss, tt, vv, zz

Digraphs and trigraphs are doubled by only writing the first consonant twice: ccs, ddz, ddzs, ggy, lly, nny, ssz, tty, zzs

At the beginning of a sentence or when writing a name, only the first letter is capitalized: Zsuzsanna…Csak moziba megyek.

Like vowels, consonants can change the meaning of a word when doubled. Common examples for this:

megy (he goes)
meggy (sour cherry)

szál (string)
száll (to fly)

hason (prone)
Hasson! (It’d better have an effect / It should be effective)

Other words with doubled consonants:

dinnye (melon)
tonna (ton)
kotta (music sheet)
abba (into that) – NOTE! It’s not the ABBA band
védett (protected)
fattyú (bastard)
ggöny (curtain)

NOTE! Hungarian words NEVER BEGIN with double consonants!

The Alphabet

The entire Hungarian alphabet consists of 14 vowels + 30 consonants = 44 letters. Watch the Hungarian pronunciation in the brackets, as well.

And remember! ONE LETTER IS ONE SOUND!

a á b (bé) c (cé) cs (csé) d (dé) dz (dzé) dzs (dzsé) e é f (eff) g (gé) gy (gyé) h (há) i í j (jé) k (ká) l (ell) ly (ejj) m (emm) n (enn) ny (enny) o ó ö ő p (pé) q (kú) r (err) s (ess) sz (essz) t (té) ty (tyé) u ú ü ű v (vé) w (dupla vé) x (iksz) y (ipszilon) z (zé) zs (zsé)

More in detail:

You say the consonant + é with these letters: b c cs d g gy p t ty v w z zs (bé, cé, csé…)
You say e + the consonant with these letters: f l ly m n ny r s sz (eff, ell…)
You say the consonant + á with these letters: h k (há, ká)

Q = kú
W = dupla vé (double v and NOT DOUBLE U like in English)
X = iksz (not EKS)
Y = ipszilon