[Hungarian] Accusative Adjectives

Adjectives in Accusative

The majority of cases decline adjectives the same as nouns, however Accusative is a bit different, so we will go over that here.

You can read my previous post on plural adjectives here.


Adjectives Ending in Vowels

Ending in -a / -e

  • make sure to lengthen the vowel! (a – á / e – é)
  • add -t

sárga – sárgát (yellow)

csúnya – csúnyát (ugly)

gyenge – gyengét (weak)

szőke – szőkét (blonde)

Ending in all other vowels

  • add -t

borzasztó – borzasztó(awful)

ehető – ehetőt (edible)

sűrű – sűrűt (dense/thick)

szomorú – szomorút (sad)

régi – régit (old)

kíváncsi – kíváncsit (curious)


Adjectives Ending in Consonants

These take linkings vowels -a (back-vowel words) and -e (front-vowel words), so that:

  • back-vowel words: -at
  • front-vowel words: -et

kék – kéket (blue)

értékes – értékeset (valuable)

kész – készet (ready)

alacsony – alacsonyat (low/short)

biztos – biztosat (sure)


Exceptions

These adjectives take -o as a linking vowel

nagy – nagyot (big)

gazdag – gazdagot (rich)

vastag – vastagot (thick/dense)

boldog – boldogot (happy)

vak – vakot (blind)

szabad – szabadot (free)


Adjectives with –atlan / -etlen construction

These adjectives decline as nouns in the Accusative, and as all of these words end in “n”, you simply add -t at the end. No linking vowel needed. (See the Accusative post for the explanation on this)

Szükségtelen – szükségtelent (unnecessary)

Ismeretlen – ismeretlent(unknown)

megváltozhatatlan – megváltozhatatlant (unchangeable)

gondtalan – gondtalan(carefree)


Ethnonyms

def: a name applied to a given ethnic group.

NOTE: in Hungarian, ethnonyms are not capitalized.

Ethnonyms ending in Vowels

These decline as nouns, so they simply take -t at the end. Don’t forget to lengthen the vowels a and (a – á / e – é)!

Ethnonyms ending in Consonants

These decline as nouns, just like the Accusative case.

NO link vowel after j, l, ly, n, ny, r, s, sz, z, zs (see Accusative post for the explanation on this)

All other ethnonyms ending in consonants: take link vowel -o / -e /  for back, front, and rounded front vowels respectively.

horvát – horvátot

finn – finnt

lengyel – lengyelt


Adjectives with a stem change in Accusative

nehéz – nehezet

derék – derekat

kevés – keveset

bátor – bátrat


The other cases all decline adjectives just like nouns, so no need to learn anything new with that! Feel free to message if you have any questions. 

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[Hungarian] Plural Adjectives

Hungarian Adjectives (Nominative Plural)

I’ll be going over adjectives in Accusative in a separate post (here!!), so that this doesn’t end up too horribly long.

As always, if you haven’t already, take a look at Vowel Harmony and Vowel Lengthening first.


So, adjectives are pretty easy to decline in Hungarian (in my opinion, it’s easier than Finnish). What makes them so much easier?

You ONLY decline adjectives when they are used predicatively. Predicatively, typically, means the adjective comes after the noun, but that is not always the case. If the sentence structure involves the words “is, was, are, etc…” then it is usually predicative.

For example: “The girls are very pretty” – A lányok nagyon szépek. (in this case the adjective is predicative, so “szép” has to agree in case and number with “lány”)

If an adjective is used attributively as a modifier (typically before the noun), then it is NOT declined, and stays in the singular.

For example: “I see pretty girls” – Látok egy szép lányokat – the adjective (“szép”) does not have to agree in case or number to the noun, because it is modifying the noun (“lány”).

So, fortunately, you don’t constantly have to worry about declining the adjectives to match the nouns. Only when they are being used predicatively.

Now, let’s look at how to decline them:


For Nominative Plural (aka, just regular plural)

Adjectives Ending in a Vowel

Ending in -a / -e

  • make sure to lengthen the vowel! (a – á / e – é)
  • add -k

barna – barnák (brown/brunette)

fekete – feketék (black)

Ending in -i / -ú / -ű  

These take linking vowels -a (for back vowel words) and -e (for front-vowel words). Then you add -k. So it will look something like this:

  • back-vowel word: -ak
  • front-vowel word: -ek

kanadai – kanadaiak (Canadian)

hosszú – hosszúak (long)

egyszerű – egyszerűek (simple)

 

Some Exceptions (because why not)

kicsi – kicsik (small)

hiú – hiúk(vain)

 

Ending in -ó / -ő

For participles (this means a word formed from a verb – burned, visible, working, etc)

They can either take the linking vowels -a / -e, OR they can be left out.

Látható – Láthatóak – Láthatók (visible)

Érthető – Érthetőek – Érthetők (available)

Other regular adjectives do NOT take a linking vowel. Simply add -k.

Jó – jók (good/well)

Apró – aprók (small/tiny)

Olcsó – olcsók (cheap)


Adjectives Ending in a Consonant

add linking vowel -a (back-vowel words) or -e (front-vowel words)

add -k, so that:

  • back-vowel words: -ak
  • front-vowel words: -ek

csinos – csinosak (pretty)

erős – erősek (strong)

érdemes – érdemesek (worthy)

türelmes – türelmesek (patient)

Exceptions

These nouns take the linking vowel -o instead of -a / -e

nagy – nagyok (big)

gazdag – gazdagok (rich)

vastag – vastagok (thick/dense)

szabad – szabadok (free)

boldog – boldogok (happy)

vak – vakok (blind)

aljas – aljasok (villainous)

más – mások (other)


Adjectives with –atlan / -etlen construction

These adjectives decline as nouns, so they take linking vowels e / ö. Therefore:

  • back-vowel words: -ok
  • front-vowel words: -ek
  • rounded front-vowel words: -ök* (*these technically don’t exist, as these types of adjectives will never have a rounded front vowel as their last vowel)

Egészségtelen – egészségtelenek (unhealthy)

Boldogtalan – boldogtalanok (unhappy)

Türelmetlen – türelmetlenek (impatient)

Láthatatlan – láthatatlanok (invisible)


Ethnonyms

def: a name applied to a given ethnic group.

NOTE: in Hungarian, ethnonyms are not capitalized.

Ethnonyms ending in -i

These decline as adjectives, so they take the linking vowels -a (back-vowel words) and -e(front-vowel words)

pesti – pestiek (from Budapest)

bécsi – bécsiek (Viennese – from Vienna)

amerikai – amerikaiak (American – from the USA)

All other Ethnonyms

These decline as nouns, so they take the linking vowels o / e / ö for back, front, and rounded front vowels respectively.

Magyar – magyarok (Hungarian – from Hungary)

Spanyol – spanyolok (Spanish – from Spain)

Görög – görögök (Greek – from Greece)


Adjectives with a stem change in Plural

nehéz – nehezek

derék – derekak (why is it “ak” and not “ek”? I honestly don’t know)

kevés – kevesek

bátor – bátrak


Please feel free to message if you have any questions!

[Hungarian] Plural Possession

Plural possession functions the same way as singular possession, it just has different endings. You will not add the standard plural ending to nouns in this case. You would only add the endings specified here, which will indicate the noun is both plural and possessive.

If you haven’t already, please go over Vowel Harmony and Vowel Lengthening so you will know how to apply the correct endings.

I also have a post on Singular Possession HERE.


Possession: Multiple Objects

Én

  • words ending in a vowel: -im
  • back-vowel words: -aim (*-jaim)
  • front-vowel words: -eim (*-jeim)

Macska – Macskák – Macskáim (cat – cats – my cats)

Aztal – Aztalok – Aztalaim (table – tables – my tables)

Szék – Székek – Székeim (chair – chairs – my chairs)


Te

  • words ending in a vowel: -id
  • back-vowel words: -aid (*-jaid)
  • front-vowel words: -eid (*-jeid)

Kutya – Kutyák – Kutyáid (dog – dogs – your dogs)

Polc – Polcok – Polcaid (shelf – shelves – your shelves)

Szék – Székek – Székeid (chair – chairs – your chairs)


Ő  (Ön)

  • words ending in a vowel: -i
  • back-vowel words: -ai (*-jai)
  • front-vowel words: -ei (*-jei)

Macska – Macskák – Macskái (cat – cats – xir/your (pl) cats)

Polc – Polcok – Polcai (shelf – shelves – xir/your (pl) shelves)

Szék – Székek – Székei (chair – chair– xir/your (pl) shelves)


Mi

  • words ending in a vowel: -ink
  • back-vowel words: -aink (*-jaink)
  • front-vowel words: -eink (*-jeink)

Macska – Macskák – Macskáink (cat – cats – our cats)

Aztal – Aztalok – Aztalaink (table – tables – our tables)

Gyerek – Gyerekek – Gyerekeink (kid – kids – our kids)


Ti

  • words ending in a vowel (back-vowel): -itok
  • words ending in a vowel (front-vowel): -itek
  • back-vowel words: -aitok (*-jaitok)
  • front-vowel words: -eitek (*-jeitek)

Macska – Macskák – Macskáitok (cat – cats – your (pl. inf.) cats)

Körte – Körték – Körtéitek (pear – pears – your (pl. inf.) pears)

Polc – Polcok – Polcaitok (shelf – shelves  your (pl. inf.) pears)

Szék – Székek – Székeitek (chair – chairs – your (pl. inf.) chairs)


Ők (Önök)

  • words ending in a vowel: -ik
  • back-vowel words: -aik (*-jaik)
  • front-vowel words: -eik (*-jeik)

Macska – Macskák – Macskáik (cat – cats – their/your (pl. formal) cats)

Aztal – Aztalok – Aztalaik (table – tables – their/your (pl. formal) tables)

Szék – Székek – Székeik (table – tables – their/your (pl. formal) tables)


***Okay, you’re all probably wondering about the “j” thing. Remember the post about singular possession, and I included the pdf about the special endings for 3rd person singular and plural**? Basically, if a noun receives one of the “j” endings in 3rd person singular possession (i.e. -ja/-je), then it will have a “j” in plural possession.

Now this is not always the case. There will be some exceptions. I really will try to make some sort of comprehensive list, but for now this is sufficient to at least cover the basics.

**whenever I say “3rd person singular and plural” I am also talking about Ön Önök because they take the same endings as ő and ők respectively.

[Hungarian] Singular Possession

So the basis of Hungarian possession is very easy. You add on endings in the same way that you would with regular cases. There are some exceptions, which I will explain to the best of my ability.

I’ll be covering Plural Possession in a separate post, so that this one doesn’t end up too long!

If you haven’t already, you should go over Vowel Harmony and Vowel Lengthening, so you can know how to apply the correct endings.

I also have a post on Plural Possession HERE.


Possession: Singular Objects

Én

  • words ending in a vowel: -m
  • back-vowel words: -om (sometimes -am*)
  • front-vowel words: -em
  • rounded front-vowel words: -öm

A macska –> A macskám (the cat – my cat

Az anya –> Az anyám (the mother – my mother)

A szék –> A székem (the chair – my chair)

A hörcsög –> A hörcsögöm (the hamster – my hamster)


* “a” as a linking vowel: this was briefly touched upon in my post about plurals, and it applies here with possessives as well. Most back-vowel words will take “o” as a linking vowel, but some words take “a” instead. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a simple, clear-cut rule on this, and the only thing I can suggest is memorizing the words that take “a” as you come across them.

For example, “my house” (ház) would be “házam” and not “házom”.


Te

  • words ending in a vowel: -d
  • back-vowel words: -od (sometimes -ad**)
  • front-vowel words: -ed
  • rounded front-vowel words: -öd

A kutya –> A kutyá(the dog – your dog)

Az ágy –> Az ágyad (the bed – your bed)

A feleség –> A feleséged (the wife – your wife)

A hörcsög –> A hörcsögöd (the hamster – your hamster)

 

** “a” as a linking vowel: same situation as above.


Ő  (Ön)*  

(*Ő (xe) and Ön (you – formal sg.) use the same endings)

  • words ending in a vowel (back-vowel word): -ja
  • words ending in a vowel (front-vowel word): -je
  • back-vowel words: -a
  • front-vowel words (including rounded): -e

!!!!There are actually special rules for the 3rd singular/2nd person singular formal possessive ending. My friend @morietris​ wrote an explanation here (downloadable PDF file). While it speficially says 3rd person, it applies to Ön/Önök as well, as they take the same endings as ő and ők respectively.


Mi

  • words ending in a vowel: -nk
  • back-vowel words: -unk
  • front-vowel words (including rounded): -ünk

A kutya –> A kutyánk (the dog – our dog)

Az autó –> Az autónk (the car – our car)

Az ablak –> Az ablakunk (the window – our window)

A gyerek –> A gyerekünk (the kid – our kid)


Ti

  • words ending in a vowel (back-vowel words): -tok
  • words ending in a vowel (front-vowel words): -tek
  • words ending in a vowel (rounded front-vowel words): -tök
  • back-vowel words: -otok (sometimes -atok***)
  • front-vowel words: -etek
  • rounded front-vowel words: -ötök

A macska –> A macskátok (a cat – your (pl.) cat)

A körte –> A körtétek (a pear – your (pl.) pear)

Az erdő –> Az erdőtök (a forest – your (pl.) forest)

A polc –> A polcotok (a shelf – your (pl.) shelf)

A szék –> A széketek (a chair – your (pl.) chair) 

A hörcsög –> A hörcsögötök (a hamster – your (pl.) hamster) 

*** “a” as a linking vowel: same situation as the 1st and 2nd person situations above.


Ők (Önök)*

(*Ők (they) and Önök (you – formal pl.) use the same endings)

  • words ending in a vowel (back-vowel words): -juk
  • words ending in a vowel (front-vowel words): -jük
  • back-vowel words: -uk
  • front-vowel words (including rounded): -ük

!!!!There are special rules for the 3rd person plural/2nd person plural formal as well. You can read my friend’s explanation here (downloadable PDF file).

[Hungarian] Plurals

Hungarian plurals are fairly simple. They rely on vowel harmony, which if you haven’t studied already, please have a look here so that you can understand! You should also review vowel lengthening as well.


Plural Endings

  • words ending in a vowel-k
  • back-vowel words-ok (sometimes -ak*)
  • front-vowel words-ek
  • rounded front-vowel words-ök 

* “a” as a linking vowel in nouns – you will encounter this with plurals, possessives, and Accusative case. The fact is that while most back-vowel words take “o” as a linking vowel before the standard ending, there are some that take the linking vowel “a”. There are really no clear-cut rules for this (believe me, I’ve tried), so it’s honestly just something that, unfortunately, has to be learnt and memorized as you go.

  • For example, “ház” (house) will be “házak” in plural, and not “házok”.
  • This applies to possession as well: “ház – házam” (not “házom”)
  • It also applies to the Accusative case: “ház – házat” (not “házot”)

My native-speaking Hungarian friend and I have both been trying to find some sort of rule or pattern on this, and while some of it relies on historical linguistics, it’s nothing simple enough for me to explain here. The best thing to do is just memorize these words as you encounter them. I’ll try to make a comprehensive list at some point (well…as comprehensive as possible).


Examples

kar –> karok (arm – arms)

ember –> emberek (person – people)

autó –> autó(car – cars)

anya –> anyák (remember vowel lengthening!) (mother – mothers)

sör –> sörök (beer – beers)


Vocabulary

sok –> many/much

néhány  –>  a few

kevés  –>  few

(egy) kicsi  –>  (a) little

több  –>  more


Important Notes

1. When using a qualitative (many, few, some…) or quantitative (one, three, seven…) amount in front of a noun, you do not put the noun in the plural. It is left in singular, as the qualitative/quantitative descriptor is enough to signify a plural.

  • “three dogs” = három kutya (NOT “három kutyák”)
  • “many dogs” = sok kutya (NOT “sok kutyák”)

2.  Plurals also apply to adjectives in certain cases, but I will cover that in an adjective-specific post, as they decline a bit differently than nouns! (you can read my post about declining plural adjectives HERE)

3. When dealing with possession, there are different endings for plural nouns. You would not use the regular plural or possessive endings for a plural noun. I cover possessive endings here: singular / plural

4. When using demonstrative pronouns (this, that, these, those) you apply the plural to those articles as well.

  • these dogs” = ezek a kutyák
  • those boys” = azok a fiúk

There are, of course, exceptions to these rules, but those you will learn along the way.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to message me!

[Hungarian] Vowel Lengthening

So this was something that confused me at first, but it’s actually really simple!

It all has to do with a noun that ends in vowels a or e, and what we do to them when we add a suffix to a word.

Essentially, when a noun ends in vowels a or e, and we add any kind of suffix (plural, possession, cases, verb conjugation, etc), we lengthen the vowel – which means that we turn a into á, and e into é. That’s it. Just a lil accent!


Examples:

medve + nek –> medvének (to/for the bear)

alma + nak –> almának (to/for the apple)

bátya + val –> bátyával (with the brother)

táska + ból –> táskából (out of the bag)

anya + m -> anyám (my mother)

kutya + k -> kutyák (the dogs)

See! It’s pretty easy!


Now the important thing to remember is: 

1. Multiple suffixes can be added to one noun.

2. When multiple suffixes are added, the vowel lengthening rules apply to the suffixes as well.

So let’s look at one example:

medvéjével (with his/her bear)

Weird word, lots of vowels and accents. Let’s look!

medve (bear) + -je (his/her) + -vel (with)

The e on the end of medve is lengthened because we add the suffix -je (his/her)**.

Now we have medvéje.

But! There is still a vowel at the end of the suffix. So we have to lengthen it as well, when we add a second suffix. So the e in -je gets lengthened as well, when we add the suffix -vel (with).

Now we have medvéjével.

Just like vowel harmony, this is something that will start coming naturally with practise!


** -je is not the only suffix for his/her – there are others depending on the letter the noun ends in, but that will be explained later, so don’t worry too much about it now!


Exceptions

(yes, because there are always these…)

There are some cases and suffixes that do not lengthen the vowel. Those are:

-kor (at the time of) 

-féle (kinds of) 

-ként (as)

-képp(en) (in a certain way / as, by way of)

-szerű (likeness)

-ság/-ség (noun modifier – we will look into this later)

-szor/-szer/-ször (times)

There may be more, but these are the only ones I’ve specifically seen listed as exceptions. If I come across any others I will update this list!


A note on o and ö

The only words you will see in Hungarian that end in o or ö are foreign words or foreign place names.

In these instances, you will also lengthen these vowels (o -> ó ; ö -> ő).

Example: Oslo + ban = Oslóban

Actual Hungarian words will never end in o or ö so you otherwise never have to worry about lengthening them, because it’s already done!

As a side note, i, u, and ü never lengthen, even when at the end of a word.


Please if you have any questions or want further explanation, don’t hesitate to message me!

[Hungarian] Vowel Harmony

Hungarian, like Finnish, has a vowel harmony that determines which form of an ending you add to the end of words. Vowel harmony is a thing because hey, words gotta flow right and sound pretty. You may not notice a difference, but I found the more I got used to it, I was able to tell how words actually sound kinda strange with the wrong ending.

We can divide vowels into 2 basic groups: back vowels, and front vowels. It’s essentially determined by the way you say the letters – whether they’re produced from the back of your throat or at the front of your mouth.

In addition, front vowels can be split up into two groups: un-rounded, and rounded. This makes a difference when you have a 3-fold ending (an ending with 3 different forms). One form will be for back vowel words, one for front vowel words, and the last one for rounded front vowel words.


~Vowel Groups~

  • Back vowels: a, á, o, ó, u, ú,  (i), (í)*
  • Front vowels: e, é, ö, ő, ü, ű
  • Front vowels (un-rounded): e, é
  • Front vowels (rounded): ö, ő, ü, ű

*i / í does not determine whether a word is front or back vowel. If the word only contains these letters (such as ír) then it is considered a back vowel word. In a word with another vowel, such as segít, the í is ignored and only the e is used to determine whether it is a front or back vowel word.

In general, the last vowel in a word determines whether it is a front or back vowel word. 

It might be a foreign concept at first if you’ve never encountered it before, but you’ll find it starts coming naturally the more you practice!


~Examples~

2-fold endings:

Dative: -nak / -nek

gyerek – gyerekne(to/for the child)

diák – diákna(to/for the student)

süti – sütinek* (*remember, don’t pay attention to i / í !) (to/for the cake)

erdő – erdőnek* (*as there are only 2 forms for this suffix, rounded front vowels will take the same ending as un-rounded front vowels) (to/for the forest)

3-fold endings:

Allative: -hoz / -hez / -höz

busz – buszhoz (towards the bus)

templom – templomhoz* (*although this word has both a front and a back vowel, we determine based on the last vowel in the word!) (towards the church)

Jupiter – Jupiterhez (towards Jupiter)

szék – székhe(towards the chair)

erdő – erdőhö(towards the forest)

repülő – repülőhö(towards the airplane)


~Exercise~

Try to determine which endings go with which word! I’ll put the answers at the end of the post!

tanár (-nak / -nek)

tenger (-hoz / -hez / -höz)

vonat (-ban / -ben)

esküvő (-hoz / -hez / -höz)

barátnő (-val / -vel)

család (-nak / -nek)


Most endings only have 2 different forms, if that makes this any easier. It’s one of those things that I found really easy to remember and get used to the more I practiced and used it, so hopefully it will be for you too!

If you have any questions or need more explanation, please message me and I’ll do my best to answer!

Now scroll down and click the “read more” for the answers to the exercise above:

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Continue reading “[Hungarian] Vowel Harmony”