Learn Hungarian

Hungarian Phrases

Select the phrases that you want to learn from the list. These cover a wide variety of Hungarian topics, including the numbers in Hungarian, Hungarian days, Hungarian greetings and the months in Hungarian. Listen to and copy the native speech, and learn with flashcards.



Hungarian language learning games

As well as the flashcards for the Hungarian phrases on the right, there are additional learning games for colours, days, fruit, months, numbers and vegetables.





Test whether you know the difference between a cseresznye, ananász, krumpli and paradicsom, can count from egy to tíz and know piros from narancssárga.

Hungarian

Hungarian is one of the Uralic (superfamily of languages consisting of the Finno-Ugric family and Samoyed) languages believed to have emerged many thousands of years ago from the northern Urals in Russia. It is part of the Finno-Ugric branch (of the Uralic languages) which include around fifteen languages scattered across Eurasia. In the fifth century AD it was spoken by the Onogouroi who spread through the Russian steppe in a sequence of migrations before finally populating modern day Hungary. The Hungarian name for themselves is Magyars, and their country Magyarország.

Hungarian grammar

Hungarian is an agglutinative language - words are build up from components (or morphemes which are speech elements which have a specific meaning or function and can not be split further).

Articles

The word for 'the' is a apart from words beginning with a consonant when it is az.

So 'the table' is az asztal but 'the flat' is a lakás.

The word for 'a' is egy so 'a table' is egy asztal.

This can be seen in 'I'd like to book a table for two' which is Szeretnék egy asztalt foglalni két személyre.

Hungarian definite and indefinite articles do not change when in the plural as do some European languages. E.g. In Spanish el perro 'the dog' becomes los perros 'the dogs' when referring to more than one.

Nouns

Nouns in Hungarian have a complicated system of Inflected endings. Learning Phrases is a simple way to start to communicate in Hungarian as you can avoid learning these rules.

Inflection is the modification of a word to alter its grammatical function, and in Hungarian nouns the modification is made to the noun ending by adding layer of suffixes.

The distinction between singular and plural Hungarian nouns is used to illustrate inflection in Hungarian:

könyv 'book' becomes könyek 'books'
kalap 'hat' becomes kalapok 'hats'

The prefix used to show number (singular or plural) and is here either ek or ok. The prefix depends on the noun and Hungarian rules of vowel harmony.

Hungarian nouns are inflected to show case and possession in addition to singular or plural. The prefex's showing case and possession are added in order to the noun stem:

Noun Stem + Number (singular or plural) + Possessive + Case.

An example showing number, possession and case is:

az emailj + ei + m + et my e-mails.

ei is a plural suffix, m is a suffix indicating possession and et indicates (Accusative).

Nouns do not distinguish between masculine and feminine.

Adjectives

Adjectives are either Attributive or Predicative. Used predicatively an adjective comes before the noun which it describes (and does not decline).

a piros autó the red car
zöld kártya green card
nagy ház big house

piros 'red', zöld 'green', nagy 'big'.

Adjectives used attributively do not agree with the noun being described (by changing case or number). In contrast, when used predicatively adjectives in Hungarian agree in number with the noun being described.

Hungarian Possessives

Endings are added onto the noun (after the suffix indicating number but before that indicating case). So, 'flat' is lakás and 'my flat' is lakásom, with the vowel plus -m providing the 'me' component.

Related languages

Estonian Finnish


Links

Hungarian Reference A guide to the Hungarian language with a useful section on Hungarian grammar.