Hungarian language

Paul Jorgensen has been publishing videos on his Langfocus Youtube Channel since 2015. He describes himself as a language enthusiast, avid traveller, and obsessive creator. He must do something well because now he already has almost 600 thousand followers. His latest video is about the Hungarian language.

A short history

To start with, he clarifies that Hungarian is very special because it is surrounded by Indo-European languages though it is not one of them. Hungarian speakers mainly live in the Carpathian-basin, not only in Hungary but also beyond its borders, for example, in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia or Ukraine. The

biggest minority is in Transylvania with around 1.2 million people consisting 6.3 pc of Romania’s population. 

The Hungarian language is a member of the Ugric branch of the Uralic language family’s Finno-Uralic. This former branch split into the Proto-Ugric and Proto-Finnic groups. Finnish and Estonian derived from the latter while Hungarian from the former around 800 BC. However, during their wandering to the Carpathian Basin, Hungarians had extensive contact with Turkic peoples. For example, they formed an alliance with Onogur tribes living North from the Black Sea and

this is how they got the name, Hungarian.

It is hard to tell the exact number of loan words from Turkic, but a lexicon contains 500 of them. Furthermore,

even the Old Hungarian script derived from the Old Turkic runic script.

This was used by the Szeklers until the 17th century.

During the times the language absorbed words from a variety of languages like German, Iranic and Slavic languages as well as Latin and the Turkic languages. Modern Hungarian language was developed at the beginning of the 19th century. The reform’s aim was to standardize the language and make it more suitable for literature and the sciences. As a result, Hungarian became the

official language of the country under Habsburg rule in 1844.

What is Hungarian like?

Firstly, Hungarian is an agglutinative language meaning that words are made up of a linear sequence of morphemes each contributing to the meaning of the word. This is one reason why many people find it extremely difficult to learn this language.

Hungarian language

In the case of verbs, prefixes and suffixes can change a lot as it happens below.

Hungarian language

In Hungarian, there are at least 18 cases like dative, instrumental and terminative and the word order is not carved in stone. Thus, if something stands at the beginning of a sentence it tends to be emphasized. Furthermore, there are 14 vowels and 30 consonants in the Hungarian language like cs (tʃ), zs(ʒ) or dzs(dʒ).

Not surprisingly, Paul’s diagnose is that Hungarian is very difficult from any other Indo-European languages. Even though its grammar resembles the Finno-Ugric languages but there are much less common words than one would expect. However, he thinks that

Hungarian is not that difficult to learn.

For example, there is no grammatical gender while adjectives and articles are not inflected for case.

Below you can watch the full video. HERE you can find Paul’s channel with many other interesting and easy-to-understand language descriptions.

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