Sentence Structure Part 3

THERE ARE NO SUBORDINATE CLAUSES IN HUNGARIAN.

The best way to show you what I’m talking about is if I give you a German example. Our example means: I’m not going to school because I’m in hospital.

Ich gehe nicht zur Schule, weil ich im Krankenhaus liege.

German subordinate clauses are indicated by inversions after the conjunction. However, the basic German word order is SVO. If we remove the subordinate clause from the sentence, we’ll get an inversed sentence which does not make any sense in itself. It has to be the basic SVO order.

Weil ich im Krankenhaus liege. > incorrect sentence; it should be SVO like this:
Ich liege im Krankenhaus.

There is no such thing in Hungarian because there is no basic word order or inversions. Questions are not formed with inversions because the word order can be changed freely just like in any statement.

Hungarian uses conjunctions to connect two thoughts.

This explanation might seem ridiculous. Of course, it connects two thoughts. But if we take a look at the German example, we see why it is important to stress it. With all the possibilities we can have, let’s take a look at only a few to prove my point.

Nem mehetek iskolába, mert kórházban fekszek.
Nem mehetek iskolába, mert fekszek a kórházban.
Iskolába nem mehetek, mert kórházban fekszek.
Iskolába nem mehetek, mert fekszek a kórházba.

Nem mehetek iskolába = Iskolába nem mehetek; Kórházban fekszek. = Fekszek a kórházban. A different word order changes the importance of a certain part of the sentence, but it doesn’t make it subordinate to anything, especially not to the main clause. The conjunction BECAUSE-MERT simply connects two thoughts. That’s all. And that is true for every Hungarian conjunction.

Another example. Let’s change the word order only in the secondary clause:

I talked to him yesterday, although he couldn’t give me any new information.

Tegnap még beszéltem vele, jóllehet nem tudott új információval szolgálni.
Tegnap még beszéltem vele, jóllehet új információval nem tudott szolgálni.

I said to my colleague that if he was going to the post-office, he could take my letter, too.

Azt mondtam a munkatársamnak, hogy ha postára megy, elvihetné a levelemet is.
Azt mondtam a munkatársamnak, hogy ha megy a postára, a levelemet is elvihetné.

Give my drivers’ licence back or I can’t go to Pest by car.

Add vissza a jogosítványomat, különben nem mehetek autóval Pestre.
Add vissza a jogosítványomat, különben autóval nem mehetek Pestre.
Add vissza a jogosítványomat, különben nem mehetek Pestre autóval.

If we change the word order of the secondary clause, we have as many possibilities as many units there are in the sentence. We’ve talked about in Part 1. If we also change the main clause, the number of possibilities will increase according to how many units the main clause has.

Just a few examples, again. Writing it all down would be exhausting 🙂

Tegnap még beszéltem vele, jóllehet nem tudott új információval szolgálni.
Még beszéltem vele tegnap, jóllehet új információval nem tudott szolgálni.

Azt mondtam a munkatársamnak, hogy ha postára megy, elvihetné a levelemet is.
A munkatársamnak azt mondtam, hogy ha megy a postára, a levelemet is elvihetné.

Add vissza a jogosítványomat, különben nem mehetek autóval Pestre.
A jogosítványomat add vissza, különben autóval nem mehetek Pestre.
A jogosítványomat add vissza, különben nem mehetek Pestre autóval.

Sentence Structure Part 2

In Part 1 it is easy to understand how to form sentences. What you’ve read there is valid for all kinds of sentences: statement, yes or no question, question with an interrogative pronoun, I wish…/If only, exclamatory sentences.

Nonetheless, there are times when it might seem difficult findind the UNITS. By the way, no book will tell you about these units. I call them units so that I can explain sentence structure easier. So what sentences might be difficult? Mainly the sentences having a copula in English because Hungarian does not use the 3rd person sing. and plur. in present tense.

In these three examples we have 6 possibilities for each:

1 SET OF NUMBERS (3 UNITS) x 6 VARIATIONS = 6 POSSIBILITIES

A)
Let’s use an interrogative pronoun first. You can put it at the beginning or at the end of the question.

-Az a hosszú szürke szerszám a fészerben micsoda? -Gereblye.

-What is that long gray tool in the shed? -It’s a rake.

1.Micsoda 2.az a hosszú szürke szerszám 3.a fészerben?
1.Micsoda 3.a fészerben 2.az a hosszú szürke szerszám?
2.Az a hosszú szürke szerszám 1.micsoda 3.a fészerben?
2.Az a hosszú szürke szerszám 3.a fészerben 1.micsoda? > This is our question above.
3.A fészerben 1.micsoda 2.az a hosszú szürke szerszám?
3.A fészerben 2.az a hosszú szürke szerszám 1.micsoda?

B)
Now we don’t have an interrogative pronoun. This sentence has a copula in English, but a noun-predicate in Hungarian.

-Az a hosszú szürke szerszám a fészerben gereblye? -Igen.

-Is that long gray tool in the shed a rake? -Yes, it is.

1.Az a hosszú szürke szerszám 2.gereblye 3.a fészerben?
1.Az a hosszú szürke szerszám 3.a fészerben 2.gereblye? > This is our question above.
2.Gereblye 1.a hosszú szürke szerszám 3.a fészerben?
2.Gereblye 3.a fészerben 1.a hosszú szürke szerszám?
3.A fészerben 1.a hosszú szürke szerszám 2.gereblye?
3.A fészerben 2.gereblye 1.a hosszú szürke szerszám?

C)
In sentence C szürke-gray is an adjective in A and B, but now it is used as a noun.

-Abban a fészerben az a hosszú szürke kerti szerszám? -Igen.

-Is that long gray one in that shed a garden tool? -Yes, it is.

1.Az a hosszú szürke 2.kerti szerszám 3.abban a fészerben?
1.Az a hosszú szürke 3.abban a fészerben 2.kerti szerszám?
2.Kerti szerszám 1.az a hosszú szürke 3.abban a fészerben?
2.Kerti szerszám 3.abban a fészerben 1.az a hosszú szürke?
3.Abban a fészerben 1.az a hosszú szürke 2.kerti szerszám? > This is our question above.
3.Abban a fészerben 2. kerti szerszám 1.az a hosszú szürke?

There is not really a problem with A and B. However, C can be tricky and here’s why: if you don’t realize that the question has a noun-predicate (copula) in it, it might seem like the sentence didn’t finish. Not realizing it, you might also mistranslate the question like this: Is that long gray garden tool in the shed….WHAT? You don’t know what it is.

Correctly:
Is that long gray one in the shed a garden tool? OR
Is that long gray one a garden tool in the shed?

A LITTLE EXCERCISE

The nouns and the verb in this sentence has adjectives and an adverb of manner.

1.A kristálytiszta patak 2.ráérősen torkollik 3.a hegyeken túli tóba 4.egész évben.
1.The crystal-clear creek 2.calmly flows 3.into the lake over the mountains 4.all year round.

4 SETS OF NUMBERS x 6 VARIATIONS = 24 POSSIBILITIES

So here’s a little excercise for you. Write all the 24 possibilities down.

————–

————-

————- …

EXCLAMATORY SENTENCE

Gyere ki a házból! and A házból gyere ki! – Come out of the house.

The first sentence emphasises the action COME, the second one emphasises the place I want you to come out of.

Compare these:

Ne írj nekem leveleket, különben baj lesz.
Don’ write letters to me or there will be trouble.

Fejezd be a sírást és leveleket meg ne írj nekem, különben baj lesz.
Stop crying and letters, don’t write them to me or there will be trouble.

Still about sentence structure, more next time.

Sentence Structure Part 1

The Hungarian way of constructing sentences is extremely flexible, but there are some rules to follow. The parts of sentence can be moved around freely. The parts of speech have a certain order:

  • the indefinite and definite articles always precede the word they refer to:
    a ház, az emelet, egy kirándulás, a kék ég, egy szép nyár…
  • adjectives as attributes (including past participle and present participle) always precede the noun:
    szép lány, ismert ember, rohanó élet
  • adverbs of manner precede the verb:
    magyarul beszél, okosan dönt, gyorsan fut

Other than the rules above, topic-prominent aspect prevails. What you think more important can be placed at the beginning of the sentence. Usually, the new information always precedes the verb unless you want to emphasis the action.

This phenomenon is more interesing with long sentences because short sentences like (The lawyer is a tall man – Az ügyvéd magas ember) leave you with two solutions. Either you put the subject first or you move it at the end:

1.Az ügyvéd  2.magas ember. <> 2.Magas ember  1.az ügyvéd.

I.

3 UNITS

Our basic sentence has 3 UNITS. For simplicity’s sake let’s use Simple Present Tense in English.

1.A fű-The grass 2.nő-grows 3.a réten-on the meadow

How many variations can such a sentence have?

1.A fű 2.nő 3.a réten
1.A fű 3.a réten 2.nő
2.Nő 1.a fű 3.a réten
2.Nő 3.a réten 1.a fű
3.A réten 1.a fű 2.nő
3.A réten 2.nő 1.a fű

We have 6 possibilities depending on which part of the sentence we think is more important. If it’s a yes or no question, it has the same possibilities because questions without a question word just get a question mark and you rise your intonation.

123
132
213
231
312
321

1 SET OF NUMBERS x 6 VARIATIONS = 6 POSSIBILITIES

What happens if we add an adjective to the noun (a fű), an adverb of manner to the verb (nő) and an adjective to the adverb of place (a réten)? Nothing really. As the adjectives and adverbs of manner belong strictly to the word they refer to, they must be considered a single unit.

1.A zöld fű 2. gyorsan nő 3.a napsütötte réten
The green grass grows fast on the sun-lit meadow.

We still have 6 possibilities because the number of units haven’t changed, only they are specified with some attributes.

II.

4 UNITS

Let’s add another unit to our sentence, an adverb of time: tavasszal – at spring. Now we have 4 UNITS. It is easy to see that we always have 3 units to move around compared to which we set as first.

1234
1243
1324
1342
1423
1432

2134
2143
2314
2341
2431
2413

3124
3142
3214
3241
3412
3421

4123
4132
4213
4231
4312
4321

4 SETS OF NUMBERS x 6 VARIATIONS = 24 POSSIBILITIES

1.A fű 2.nő 3.a réten 4.tavasszal
1.A fű 2.nő 4.tavasszal 3.a réten
1.A fű 3.a réten 2.nő 4.tavasszal
1.A fű 3.a réten 4.tavasszal 2.nő
1.A fű 4.tavasszal 2.nő 3.a réten
1.A fű 4.tavasszal 3.a réten 2.nő

2.Nő 1.a fű 3.a réten 4.tavasszal
2.Nő 1.a fű 4.tavasszal 3.a réten
2.Nő 3.a réten 1.a fű 4.tavasszal
2.Nő 3.a réten 4.tavasszal 1.a fű
2.Nő 4.tavasszal 3.a réten 1.a fű
2.Nő 4.tavasszal 1.a fű 3.a réten

3.A réten 1.a fű 2.nő 4.tavasszal
3.A réten 1.a fű 4.tavasszal 2.nő
3.A réten 2.nő 1.a fű 4.tavasszal
3.A réten 2.nő 4.tavasszal 1.a fű
3.A réten 4.tavasszal 1.a fű 2.nő
3.A réten 4.tavasszal 2.nő 1.a fű

4.Tavasszal 1.a fű 2.nő 3.a réten
4.Tavasszal 1.a fű 3.a réten 2.nő
4.Tavasszal 2.nő 1.a fű 3.a réten
4.Tavasszal 2.nő 3.a réten 1.a fű
4.Tavasszal 3.a réten 1.a fű 2.nő
4.Tavasszal 3.a réten 2.nő 1.a fű

III.

5 UNITS

1.A fű 2.nő 3.a réten 4.tavasszal 5.nagy örömünkre
The grass grows on the meadow at spring to our great pleasure.

12345
12354
12543
12534
12435
12453
13245
13254
13425
13452
13524
13542
14235
14253
14325
14352
14523
14532
15234
15243
15324
15342
15423
15432
21345
21354
21435
21453
21534
21543
23145
23154
23415
23451
23514
23541
24135
24153
24315
24351
24513
24531
25134
25143
25314
25341
25413
25431
31245
31254
31425
31452
31524
31542
32145
32154
32415
32451
32514
32541
34125
34152
34215
34251
34512
34521
35124
35142
35214
35241
35412
35421
41235
41253
41325
41352
41523
41532
42135
42153
42315
42351
42513
42531
43125
43152
43215
43251
43512
43521
45123
45132
45213
45231
45312
45321
51234
51243
51324
51342
51423
51432
52134
52143
52314
52341
52413
52431
53124
53142
53214
53241
53412
53421
54123
54132
54213
54231
54312
54321

5 SETS OF NUMBERS x 24 VARIATIONS = 120 POSSIBILITIES

1.A fű 2.nő 3.a réten 4.tavasszal 5.nagy örömünkre
1.A fű 2.nő 3.a réten 5.nagy örömünkre 4.tavasszal
1.A fű 2.nő 5.nagy örömünkre 4.tavasszal 3.a réten
…it would take way too much time to list all. The numbers above tell everything.

SUMMARY:

1 SET OF NUMBERS (2UNITS) x 2 VARIATIONS = 2 POSSIBILITIES

1 SET OF NUMBERS (3 UNITS) x 6 VARIATIONS = 6 POSSIBILITIES

4 SETS OF NUMBERS (4 UNITS) x 6 VARIATIONS = 24 POSSIBILITIES

5 SETS OF NUMBERS (5 UNITS) x 6 VARIATIONS = 120 POSSIBILITIES

I’ll continue with more examples.

Hungarian Word Root System

Hungarian has a word root system that has been known for centuries, but for political reasons certain people made sure that the Hungarian people had never really known about it up until now. In the recent years we’ve rediscovered this fundamental aspect of our language.

Linguists say that languages change quickly. That’s only true for young languages like those belonging to the Indo-European branch. Because the story of the settlement of the Magyars in Hungary (Honfoglalás) is a big fat lie and we’ve always known that, some Hungarian linguists and archeologists didn’t rest to prove it wrong. We’ve found houses made of stone in Hungary buried under a considerable amount of soil. Interestingly enough, those houses are 7500 years old. Meaning Hungarians have always lived in the Carpathian Basin and certain groups had migrated to other territories, but the ‘dyed-in-the-wool’ population stayed in Hungary. Forget the Finno-Ugric lie. Nobody capable of critical thinking believes that today.

Nowadays we can clearly prove the Scythian-Hun-Avar-Hungarian continuity. Bad luck for those trying to suppress our history for a thousands years now.

The Hungarian language is the evidence for the fact that we’ve always lived where we live now. To be more precise, its root system is the evidence. Such a complex language can only develope in a closed land protected from foreigners for thousands of years and more.

Honestly, I don’t know if this knowledge helps you understand Hungarian better or confuses you more, but I’ll give it a try.

Our ancestors didn’t write or say anything in vain. The word roots are built up with a vowel + consonant or a consontant + vowel + consonant combination. (VC or CVC)

These roots have their own meaning and the ones that lost their meaning by now (but had it long ago) are shaded with suffixes to create new meanings in the same category the word roots were originally intented to express.

Roots that kept their meaning in themselves are like ég (sky), tér (space)…

Roots that don’t mean anything in themselves are like ker-. This root refers to something circular, enclosed: kerek (round, circular), keret (frame), kert (garden).

          The fundamental meaning of the word is expressed by the consonants, the vowels refer to distance, space, earth-bound or celestial quality. Therefore linguists capitalize the consonants: KeR, éG, TéR…

For example the a-e, á-é word pairs are extremely common. Take a look at this:

tér (space) – tár (to open wide)
>TéR has an é because the sky and the earth is one big space. TáR has an á because you open something wide on the ground.

ég (sky) – ág (branch)

>éG has an é because it refers to the sky itself, áG has an á because it’s on the ground attached to a tree and the branch reaches towards the sky.

It’s clear that we can’t talk about German, French and Slavic loan-words. Our word root system proves that 95% of our words belong to the original Hungarian vocabulary. Foreigners and especially the Vatican want to make us believe that Hungarians were a herd of uneducated people and when (Judeo) Christians arrived and spred their love with iron and fire, suddenly we formed a civilized nation. Apparently the Vatican has really smart people. Hungarians have always been Christians, only Christianity was a positive thing with no blood-shed unlike that blood-thirsty Bible with crucifictions, inquisitions and holy wars. What is so holy about any war? I’m having trouble understanding that part.

Our Hungarian alphabet (runic alphabet if you will) also proves that ordinary people in the ancient Hungary could write and read just our priests, while in the highly developed west only priests could write and the ordinary people were illiterate.

A simple archaeological find proves that our ancestors talked pretty much like we do now 3000 years ago. On a piece of stone, among other words, somebody wrote gyümölcs (fruit) with the Hungarian alphabet. He wrote it with ü and ö just like as we pronounce it now. 3000 years ago! If you read a text from 400 years ago, say, something from Bálint Balassi, there is no need to change one letter in it because it sounds like we speak today. Try to do that with a text from Shakespear. Give it to some English students and ask them if they can understand it without explanation.

Unfortunately, Christians had burnt everything they found, so there’s very little left above the ground. Under the ground archaeologists have found a good number of artifacts with our original Hungarian alphabet. Today a considerable number of Hungarians have rediscovered it (including me) and at least we use it to keep it alive.

The other interesting feature of the Hungarian language that it thinks in images. The word spoken evokes the image of what we talk about. It also heavily relies on dual meanings. Just an example:

ég (sky) – ég (to burn)

What’s the connection between the ég noun and the ég verb? Our ancestors saw that a big fiery ball was up there and it seemed to behave like fire – it burned. And it’s still burning today. So what’s up there? It’s the sky (ég) where the sun burns (ég).

A Nap az égen ég. – The sun burns in the sky.

Other example:

láng (flame) – leng (to swing, to wave)

What does the flame do? It swings, waves as it’s blown by the wind.

A láng leng. – The flame is swinging.

Another aspect of our word roots is the reversal of the root (szófordítás). Our ancestors made up the word mag (seed). They shaded its meaning with different vowels and consonants:

mag – seed > meggy (sour cherry)…

Then they reversed the word root to shade its meaning even further or to reverse the meaning. In this case mag became: MaG <> GaM (no meaning today)>GoM (no meaning today) > GoMb (button) > GoMba (mushroom)> GYüMölcs (fruit). These words refer to an object that has a seed or it reminds us of the shape of a seed.

So much for one breath. If you’re interested in more, here are some links for you:

http://www.szozat.org/images/tudastar/A%20magyar%20nyelv%20gyo%CC%88krendszere%CC%81nek%20alapjai4-1.pdf

http://www.hunsor.se/dosszie/adorjan_amagyarnyelv.pdf
> Things start getting interesting from page 4.

The suffixes -ás, -és versus -at, -et

Hungarian verbs can be turned into nouns with the suffixes -ás, -és and -at, -et. The question is: what’s the difference between their meanings?

-ÁS, -ÉS: they refer to the progress of the action expressed by the verb.
-AT, -ET: they refer to the result of the action expressed by the verb.

emel – to lift, to raise; to elevate
emelés – lifting; elevation
emelet – storey; floor

ír – to write
írás – writing
irat – document; written paper > note that the long í becomes short i.

von – to drag, to draw
vonás – dragging; line; feature
vonat – train

mond – to say, to tell
mondás – saying; locution
mondat – sentence

jósol – predict
jóslás – prophecy; prediction, forecast
jóslat – prophecy
>The last o is omitted in the substantivated forms.

fúr – to drill
fúrás – drilling
furat – borehole > note that the long ú becomes short u.

terem – to bear, to produce, to grow
termés – crop, harvest
termet – stature, figure
>The last e is omitted in the substantivated forms.

szel – to slice
szelés – slicing
szelet – slice (of  bread)

(fel)kel – to get up
(fel)kelés – getting up
kelet – east

akar – to want
akarás – willingness
akarat – will

áll – to stand
állás – standing; job
állat – animal

The suffixes -i and -ú, -ű

Let’s go back to grammar for this entry. I want to tell you about two common suffixes.

THE SUFFIX -I: is used to express an object / a person belonging somewhere or a characteristic. When added to the noun, it must be written in small letters as a rule. Only nouns can take it, but of course, not all of them. Examples:

belonging to a place
Budapest > budapesti >> Én budapesti vagyok.
London > londoni >> Ő londoni.

characteristic
hely > helyi >> helyi szokás local custom
egyed > egyedi >> egyedi kép unique picture
tenger > tengeri >> tengeri állat sea animal
isten > isteni >> isteni kegyelem grace of god

THE SUFFIXES -Ú, -Ű: are used to express a quality, characteristic. High words take -ű, deep words take -ú.

haj > hajú >> barna hajú brown-haired OR has brown hair
szem > szemű >> kék szemű blue-eyed OR has blue eyes
egyszer > egyszerű >> egyszerű feladat simple task
méret > méretű >> kis méretű kocsi car of small size
alak > alakú >> henger alakú tárgy cylinder-shaped object
név > nevű >> a német nevű fiú the boy with the German name
hír > hírű >> jó hírű színész actor with good reputation
szó > szavú >> halk szavú gyerek soft-spoken child
test > testű >> kis testű állat animal with a small body

Word Formation – Verbs

VERB FROM VERB

-at, -et, -tat, -tet = causative
iszik – to drink > itat – to give sy to drink
elhisz – to believe > elhitet – to make believe

-kodik, -kedik, -ködik = reflexive
mos – to wash > mosakodik – to (have a) wash
ver – to beat > verekedik – to fight with

-kozik, -kezik, -közik = reflexive
épít – to build > építkezik – to have a house built
ajánl – to offer > ajánlkozik – to offer oneself for

-ódik, -ődik = reflexive
vonz – to attract > vonzódik – to feel attracted

-ó(d)zik, -ő(d)zik = reflexive
fenyeget – to threaten > fenyegető(d)zik – to keep threatening

-hat, -het = to be allowed to
eszik – to eat > ehet – he/she can eat
áll – to stand > állhat – he/she can stand

-gat, -get, -gál, -gél = frequentative
húz – to drag > huzogat – to keep dragging
nevet – to laugh > nevetgél – to laugh heartily

-dos, -des, -dös = frequentative
lök – to push > lökdös – to jostle
csap – to hit > csapdos – to keep hitting

-kod, -ked, -köd = frequentative
lép – to step > lépked – to go stepwise
csap – to hit > csapkod – to keep beating

-dogál, -degél, -dögél = frequentative
ül – to sit > üldögél – to be sitting around
áll – to stand > álldogál – to be standing around

-ál = frequentative
mászik – to climb > mászkál – to roam about 

-n, -an, -en = momentary
villan – to flash
zörren – to rattle

-ll = momentary
szökell – to caper

-int = momentary
suhint – to flick

-d, -dul, -dül = momentary
mozog – to move > mozdul – to make a move
forog – to turn > fordul – to turn around

-l = inchoative
szédül – to feel dizzy