Hungarian is a language that sounds totally different from the dialects spoken by the country’s neighbours. Although Hungary is located in the middle of Europe, the language locals speak does not belong to the Indo-European language family. Have ever wondered why? Read on to find the answer.
If people who do not know the origin of the Hungarian language were to guess what language family it belongs to, they would most likely pick one of the three groups those languages around us are parts of: Germanic, Slavic or Romance. However, Hungarian does not belong to either of them!
In fact, the Hungarian language belongs to the Uralic language family. Some of its “relatives” are Finnish, Estonian, Sami (another term for Sami is Lapp or Lappish, but these two are considered pejorative). However, these languages are still closer to each other than they are to Hungarian. Hungarian stands out even among its relatives!
On top of that, since there are 13 million native Hungarian speakers, it is the most widely spoken language in the Uralic language family.
This video talks about why Hungarian is such an isolated language in Central Europe and provides some historical background.
How come the Hungarian language is so unique in the middle of Europe? The answer lies in history. In the 9th century, Hungarian (Magyar) tribes migrated from their original home in the Ural Mountains (today it is situated in Central Russia) to the Carpathian Basin where they eventually settled.
Out of the 13 million native speakers of the language, only 9.8 million people live within the borders of Hungary. The rest of them live in the neighbouring countries: Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Croatia. Apart from these countries, many native Hungarian speakers live all across the globe, for example in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
Hungarian is often said to be one of the hardest languages to learn. Of course, this is not black and white, it depends on many factors such as one’s native language. It can also depend on what techniques one uses to learn the language. In one of our previous articles, we shared some of the first steps you can take if you are determined to learn this beautiful unique language.
This video goes into depth as regards the history of Hungarians and the rich language.
Source: alllanguagesources.com, theculturetrip.com, Wikipedia