Whereas the majority of the national languages in Europe belong to the Indo-European language family, Hungarian is a member of the Finno-Ugric family of languages, along with Finnish, Estonian, and various languages across northern Russia. More than a thousand years ago, the Hungarian (Magyar) tribes migrated from Central Asia to the Carpathian Basin. In time, they “settled down,” converted to Christianity, and established a large medieval kingdom, which included much of Transylvania to the south, much of modern-day Slovakia, parts of the former Yugoslavia, etc. Naturally, within this kingdom, in which various Slavic, German and Latinate dialects/languages were spoken, Hungarian was only one of several languages; only since the end of the WWI and the Treaty of Trianon has Hungarian been the main language of the state known as “Hungary.”
As a Finno-Ugric language, Hungarian presents numerous features which will appear strange and/or difficult for the foreign learner. These include but are not limited to vowel harmony, post-positions and agglutination, and a lexicon with few cognates to other European languages.
There are also several features which may or may not aid learners of Hungarian, including a lack of grammatical gender and a perfectly consistant stress pattern. Furthermore, there is only one main “dialect” of Hungarian to be learned.
In the following set of pages I will attempt to outline several aspects of the Hungarian language, including basic vocabulary, verbs (tenses, conjugation, etc.), vowel harmony, noun declension, and the general manner of adding suffixes to words.
Hungarian uses the Latin alphabet, but there are several letters not used in English. More precisely, many Hungarian vowels are marked by various "accent" marks, and I will lay out the method used in these pages to represent Hungarian words, as the presentation of these symbols in HTML is occasionally difficult.
This is obviously a large-scale project and will take time. Please be patient as more information is added. Thank you.