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

Bencze Imre: Édes, Ékes Apanyelvünk

Can you translate this poem in your language? 🙂

Kezdjük tán a “jó” szóval, tárgy esetben “jót”,
ámde “tó”-ból “tavat” lesz, nem pediglen “tót”.
Egyes számban “kő” a kő, többes számban “kövek”,
nőnek “nők” a többese, helytelen a “növek”.
Többesben a tő nem “tők”, szabatosan “tövek”,
amint hogy a cső nem “csők”, magyar földön “csövek”.
Anyós kérdé: van két vőm, ezek talán “vövek”?
Azt se’ tudom, mi a “cö”? Egyes számú cövek?
Csók – ha adják – százával jő, ez benne a jó;
hogyha netán egy puszit kapsz, annak neve “csó”?

Bablevesed lehet sós, némely vinkó savas,
nem lehet az utca hós, magyarul csak havas.

Miskolcon ám Debrecenben, Győrött, Pécsett, Szegeden;
amíg mindezt megtanulod, beleőszülsz, idegen.

Agysebész, ki agyat műt otthon ír egy művet.
Tűt használ a műtéthez, nem pediglen tűvet.
Munka után füvet nyír, véletlen se fűvet.

Vágy fűti a műtősnőt. A műtőt a fűtő.
Nyáron nyír a tüzelő, télen nyárral fűt ő.

Több szélhámost lefüleltek, erre sokan felfüleltek,
kik a népet felültették… mindnyájukat leültették.

Foglár fogán fog-lyuk van, nosza, tömni fogjuk!
Eközben a fogházból megszökhet a foglyuk.
Elröppenhet foglyuk is, hacsak meg nem fogjuk.

Főmérnöknek fáj a feje – vagy talán a fője?
Öt perc múlva jő a neje, s elájul a nője.

Százados a bakák iránt szeretetet tettetett,
reggelenként kávéjukba rút szereket tetetett.

Helyes-kedves helység Bonyhád, hol a konyhád helyiség.
Nemekből vagy igenekből született a nemiség?

Mekkában egy kába ürge Kába Kőbe lövet,
országának nevében a követ követ követ.

Morcos úr a hivatalnok, beszél hideg ‘s ridegen,
néha játszik nem sajátján, csak idegen idegen.

Szeginé a terítőjét, szavát részeg Szegi szegi,
asszonyának előbb kedvét, majd pedig a nyakát szegi.

Elvált asszony nyögve nyeli a keserű pirulát:
mit válasszon? A Fiatot, fiát vagy a fiúját?

Ingyen strandra lányok mentek, előítélettől mentek,
estefelé arra mentek, én már fuldoklókat mentek.

Eldöntöttem: megnősülök. Fogadok két feleséget.
Megtanultam: két fél alkot és garantál egészséget.

Harminc nyarat megértem,
mint a dinnye megértem,
anyósomat megértem…
én a pénzem megértem.

Hibamentes mentő vagyok.
Szőke Tisza pertján mentem:
díszmagyarom vízbe esett,
díszes mentém menten mentem.

Szövőgyárban kelmét szőnek: fent is lent meg lent is lent.
Kikent kifent késköszörűs lent is fent meg fent is fent.
Ha a kocka újfent fordul fent a lent és lent is fent.

Hajmáskéren pultok körül körözött egy körözött,
hajma lapult kosarában meg egy tasak kőrözött.

Fölvágós a középhátvéd, három csatárt fölvágott,
hát belőle vajon mi lesz: fasírt-é vagy fölvágott?

Díjbirkózó győzött tussal,
nevét írják vörös tussal,
lezuhanyzott meleg tussal,
prímás várja forró tussal.

Határidőt szabott Áron: árat venne szabott áron.
Átvág Áron hat határon, kitartásod meghat, Áron.

Felment, fölment, tejfel, tejföl; ne is folytasd, barátom:
első lett az ángyom lánya a fölemás korláton.

Földmérő küzd öllel, árral;
árhivatal szökő árral,
ármentő a szökőárral,
suszter inas bökőárral.

Magyarország olyan ország hol a nemes nemtelen,
lábasodnak nincsen lába, aki szemes: szemtelen.
A csinos néha csintalan, szarvatlan a szarvas,
magos lehet magtalan, s farkatlan a farkas.
Daru száll a darujára, s lesz a darus darvas.
Rágcsáló a mérget eszi, engem esz a méreg.
Gerinces, vagy rovar netán a toportyánféreg?

Egyesben a vakondokok “vakond” avagy “vakondok”.
Hasonlóképp helyes lesz a “kanon” meg a “kanonok”?

Nemileg vagy némileg? – gyakori a gikszer.
“Kedves ege-segedre” – köszönt a svéd mixer.
Arab diák magolja: tevéd, tévéd, téved;
merjél mérni mértékkel, mertek, merték, mértek.

Pisti így szól: kimosta anyukám a kádat!
Viszonzásul kimossa anyukád a kámat?
Óvodások ragoznak: enyém, enyéd, enyé;
nem tudják, hogy helyesen: tiém, tiéd, tié.

A magyar nyelv – azt hiszem, meggyőztelek Barátom –
külön-leges-legszebb nyelv kerek e nagy világon!

Vocabulary – On The Phone

(telefon)hívás phone call
(telefon)kagyló receiver
csipogó pager
csörög to ring

felveszi a telefont to answer the phone
>literally: to pick up the phone

foglalt busy signal
hívó caller
kijelző display (like on a cell phone)
mobil(telefon) cell phone
tárcsahang dial tone
tárcsáz to dial
telefon (tele)phone
telefonfülke phone booth
telefonkönyv directory book
telefonon beszél to talk on the phone
üzenetrögzítő answering machine
vezeték nélküli telefon wireless phone
vezetékes telefon wired phone
visszahív to call back

Telefonbeszélgetés – Conversation on the phone

Halló? Hello?
Tessék! Hello?
Itt az XY ügyvédi iroda. This is the XY laywer’s office.
Itt Péter beszél. Peter speaking.
Miben segíthetek? How can I help you?

Szia, Dávid! Itt Péter (beszél). / Péter vagyok. Hi, David! It’s Peter calling.

Otthon van Erika? Is Erika in?
Ott van Erika? Is Erika there?
Beszélhetnék Erikával? Can I talk to Erika, please?
Erikával szeretnék beszélni. I’d like to talk to Erika.
Ő most (nem) elérhető. He/She is (not) available now.

Egy pillanat, átadom. Just a second. I’ll get him/her.
Várjon egy pillanatot (legyen szíves)! Wait a moment please. (formal)
Átkapcsolom az irodájába. I’ll put you through his office. (formal)
Egy pillanat türelmét kérem. One moment please (formal)
>literally: I’m asking you a moment’s patience.
Kérem, tartsa! Hold on please. (formal)

Megismételné? Could you repeat please? (formal)
Beszéljen hangosabban, kérem! Could you speak up please? (formal)
Beszéljen lassabban, kérem! Could you speak a little slower please? (formal)
Visszahívna? Can you call me back? (formal)
Rossz a vonal. Alig hallom. We have a bad connection. I can barely hear you. (formal)
Nincs térerő. No reception.

Sajnálom, nincs itthon. I’m afraid he’s not in.
Ki beszél? Who is this?
Hagy üzenetet? Would you like to take a message?
Tudna telefonálni később? Can you call again later?
Megmondom, hogy kereste. I’ll let him know you called.
Átadom az üzenetet. He’ll get the message for sure.
Rendben, majd később hívom. That’s okay. I’ll call back later.
Hogy mondta, mi a száma? What did you say your number is? (Formal)

Ön a 384-583-as számot hívta. A sípszó után hagyjon üzenetet.
You’ve reached 384-583. Please leave a message after the beep.

Majd még hívlak! I’ll talk to you/call you soon. (informal)
Kösz a hívást, szia! Thanks for calling. Bye. (informal)
Köszönöm a hívást! Thank you for calling. (formal)
Viszonthallásra! Bye. (formal)
>short form: Viszhall!
Most le kell tennem. > I have to hang it up now.
A másikon hívnak. I have another call coming through.

Hungarian phone numbers for wired phones are like this:

The entire number starts with a prefix for a city, town, let’s say 06 and another prefix for a specific part of a town like 72 for Pécs. Then you have six numbers. I hope this number doesn’t exist: 0672/387-912

You read the number like this: nulla hat hetvenkettő három nyolcvanhét kilenc tizenkettő.

The cell phones have these prefixes 0620, 0630, 0670 followed by seven numbers:

0670/2674-189

And you say: nulla hat hetven huszonhat hetvennégy egy nyolcvan kilenc

Vocabulary – used to and koromban

USED TO = A LONG TIME AGO

English has a simple method to express an event that happened long ago: used to. Hungarian, in turn, uses several adverbs of time to express such events:

régen long ago, a long time ago
azelőtt earlier, in the past
valaha once

These adverbs require the verb to be in the past tense.

Régen sokat jártunk a parkba.
We used to go to the park a lot.

Azelőtt mindig húst ettek vasárnap.
They used to eat meat for lunch on Sunday.

Valaha kívülről tudtam, hogy kell írni a japán Hiragana jeleket.
I used to know by heart how to write the Japanese Hiragana signs.

You can talk about a certain period of your life, too. Examples:

gyerek koromban when I was a child
iskolás koromban when I was a student

Gyerek koromban gyakran ettem édességet.
When I was a child, I often ate sweets.

Idős korában már nem hallott túl jól.
When he got older, his hearing was not too good.

So the scheme is:

gyerek, iskolás, felnőtt, idős
koromban (when I was a child, a student, an adult, old)
korodban (when you were…)
korában (when he/she was…)
korunkban (when we were…)
korotokban (when you were…)
korukban (when they were…)

Of course, the noun kor (age) is fitted with the possessive endings as you see above and the suffix -ban is added.

Suffixes -ít vs. -ul, -ül = make vs. get

-ÍT vs. -UL, -ÜL

The difference between these suffixes is that –ít expresses an action that has an effect on someone/something, but –ul, -ül refer back to the person like –ik verbs.

You can depend on these English verbs: make, get. Take a look at this:

javít to make better <> javul to get better

The suffix –ít can be parallel with make and –ul, -ül with get.

More examples:

tanít to teach <> tanul to learn, to study
alakít to form <> alakul to take shape
szorít to press <> szorul to get pressed/squeezed
terít to spread out; to lay <> terül to be situated; to lie
merít to dip, to plunge <> merül to dive, to submerge
lazít to loosen <> lazul to loosen, to get loose
szorít to press <> szorul to get pressed/squeezed
hevít to heat <> hevül to get heated
mozdít to move; to get sg to move <> mozdul to move, to get moving
békít to conciliate <> békül to reconcile oneself
megrendít to stagger; to shake <> megrendül to shake, to be shocked
ámít to delude <> ámul to marvel
készít to prepare, to make <> készül to prepare, to be made

A tanár tanít. – The teacher teaches.
A diák tanul. – The student learns/studies.

Kisujját sem mozdítja. – He never stirrs a finger.
A kutya nem mozdul. – The dog won’t move.

A politikusok csak ámítanak. – Politicians delude us.
A nézők ámulnak a filmen. – The viewers marvel at the movie.

Omitting Or Not Omitting? That Is The Question.

WHAT’S THE POINT OF OMITTING DATIVE AND ACCUSATIVE PRONOUNS?

The very first reason the definite conjugation developed is not the fact that Hungarian people were eager to refer to specific/definite objects with a different conjugation type. The reason the definite conjugation survived the language reforms is: COMPRESSION.

Compressing the meaning of the direct object makes sentences shorter and allows to express nuances, as well as the use of the accusative and dative pronouns (may) become obsolete.

Take a look at how other languages form the following sentence:

English: I write you a letter.
German: Ich schreibe dir einen Brief.
Italian: Ti scrivo una lettera.
Spanish: Te escribo una letra.

It is the same pattern. Either you need two pronouns (English, German) or you need one pronoun and you conjugate the verb (Italian, Spanish). The point is that you always form sentences of this kind in these languages.

What is the Hungarian translation?

Hungarian: Írok neked egy levelet. OR Írok egy levelet.

If you know who you’re talking about, you can omit the dative pronoun neked. Let’s say we’re in this situation:

You’re walking on the street and you meet an old friend.

You: I haven’t seen you for ages.
Friend: I know. It’s been a long time since high-school.
You: We really should meet sometime.
Friend: Yes, we should. I’ll give you my address.
You: Then I’ll write you a letter and we’ll see the rest.

(Of course, nowadays you would write an e-mail or make a call, but that doesn’t matter now.)

So we have this conversation where it is obvious who’s talking to who and who’s giving the address / writing a letter to who. English can’t make it in a different way, it uses the personal pronoun I and the indirect pronoun (dative pronoun) you actually meaning to you.

And that’s when Hungarian says ’BULLSHIT!’ Why should I refer to someone if I know exactly who the talk is about? So I just forget about the fact that dative pronouns even exist because I write a letter to you and I give my address to you, obviously.

How does the conversation above sound in Hungarian?

Te: Ezer éve nem láttalak.
Barát: Tudom, sok idő telt el a gimi óta.
Te: Találkozhatnánk egyszer.
Barát: Igen, tényleg. Megadom a címemet.
Te: Én meg írok egy levelet, a többit meg majd meglátjuk.

Wait a sec! You can omit dative (and accusative) pronouns with indefinite conjugation, as well? Sure you can. That’s the beauty of the Hungarian language.

Take a look at the English sentences if we omit the pronouns. Is the text understandable anyway?

You: I haven’t seen you for ages.
Friend: I know. It’s been a long time since high-school.
You: We really should meet sometime.
Friend: Yes, we should. I’ll give my address.
You: Then I’ll write a letter and we’ll see the rest.

YES, IT IS! It might sound strange like that, but everything is understandable from the context.

And this phenomenon works for all numbers and persons, not just for the I-you relation. Nevertheless, you need to have a context giving you a hint who or what the talk is about. With no context, that’s what we get:

Elmondod? Will you tell?

Tell? Who should I tell? There is no context whatsoever for me to deduce who I should tell. However, it is already unambiguous what I should tell. That’s why the definite conjugation is used. You could complete the question like this:

Elmondod azt? Will you tell about that?

But you don’t need to. The definite conjugation already refers to azt. What we don’t know is who the person is we should tell. It’s impossible to figure out with no context. Let’s give it a context.

Girl1: I cheated on my boyfriend last night?
Girl2: Will you tell him (about that)?

Lány1: Tegnap este megcsaltam a barátomat.
Lány2: Elmondod neki (azt)?

So she should tell HIM = NEKI. And now that there’s a context, we don’t need neki.

Elmondod? Will you tell him?

What if I ask ’Will you tell him everything?’ Then you use indefinite conjugation because everyhing = minden is an indefinite numeral.

Elmondasz mindent? Will you tell him everything?

OR

Elmondasz neki mindent? Will you tell him everything?

Despite all these explanations above, remember this:

IT IS NOT MANDATORY TO OMIT THE ACCUSATIVE AND DATIVE PRONOUNS. IT IS YOUR CHOICE.

But sometimes omitting them definitely makes the conversation ’more Hungarian’.

Vocabulary – Same Adjective, Different Meaning Part 2

sima felület – smooth surface
sima ügy >figurative sense: smooth sailing

gyenge ember – weak man
gyenge egészség – poor health

könnyű / nehéz bőrönd – light / heavy suitcase
könnyű / nehéz feladat – easy / difficult task

alap = basis, base, foundation > this word is a noun, but can be used as adjective and then it is written together with the word it modifies.

alapműveltség – basic education
alapelv – fundamental principles