[Hungarian] Dative Case: -nak/-nek

So to continue on down the case list, I’ll be explaining the Dative case today. As far as cases go, I consider it very straightforward and simple.

It essentially is used just as “to/for” would be used in English (i.e. “I give a gift TO my mother”). There are other uses as well, which I will explain.

If you haven’t already (and you really should have by now) please look over Vowel Harmony and Vowel Lengthening.

Click the read more !

Continue reading “[Hungarian] Dative Case: -nak/-nek”

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[HUNGARIAN] ACCUSATIVE CASE: -T, -OT, -AT, -ET, ÖT

Don’t let all the different endings worry you, there’s a very simple rule for which one to use!

Today we’ll be talking about the Accusative case in Hungarian. If you’ve studied other languages with cases, then you’ve probably come across the accusative before. In German the cases are marked by the article before the noun, and depending on the gender of the noun, the article can have several different forms. In my opinion, the Hungarian (or even the Finnish way) is a lot easier to remember! Because guess what? It all has to do with vowel harmony!

Go ahead and read up on Vowel Harmony and Vowel Lengthening so you’ll know which case endings to apply.

Click on the “read more” to read the rest of the post!

Continue reading “[HUNGARIAN] ACCUSATIVE CASE: -T, -OT, -AT, -ET, ÖT”

[Hungarian] Cases explained…

…as briefly explained as I could possibly make (sorry).

If you haven’t already studied Vowel Harmony or Vowel Lengthening, I suggest you look at that post first, so you can have a base for understanding the rest of this!

Consider this a brief overview, as it doesn’t go in depth about the different cases, but hopefully gives you an idea of what they are used for.


Okay!

Hungarian, if you don’t already know, is an agglutinative language – which is just a fancy word meaning that it attaches suffixes to the end of words to form different meanings. It can get really intimidating when you look up stuff like “3500 different forms of 1 verb in Hungarian!”, but when it comes down to the stuff you’re actually going to use – it’s really not that difficult or convoluted.


HOW many cases??!

Hungarian has around 17 cases, depending on what you consider to be “cases”. For this post, I’m going to focus on the ones I consider to be technically “cases” (which is…17). Genitive is included in this list, but I’m going to cover it in a separate post where I talk about possession!

Sometimes you’ll see additional suffixes listed under “cases” in Hungarian grammar books or websites, but I think it’s easier to focus on them as more like “noun modifiers” instead of cases. We’ll look more into that later!

Don’t be discouraged by the number!

17 can seem like an intimidating number when you consider that languages like German only have 4, but the additional number of cases actually means that Hungarian is a lot more specific and there are more rules and guidelines for how to say things. In my experience, that actually makes things a bit easier. Sure, it’s a lot to memorize at first for some people, but once you get used to it, you’ll find that it makes a lot of sense!

Consider that English has many prepositions which function like cases do in Hungarian – at, about, to, from, toward, in, into, out of, etc… So 17 isn’t an irrational number when you think about what the cases are being used for!

Also, don’t worry about memorizing the official Latin names (besides maybe the accusative, dative, and genitive). If you just want to think of the other cases in terms of what they correspond to in English (or another language), then that’s fine!

The cases are obviously used in many different ways and in addition to having prepositional meanings, they are used with idioms, expressions, and all sorts of other things. But for the purpose of learning the basics, I’m going to focus more on the simple or prepositional meanings. Idioms and expressions will be covered in each case-specific post that goes into more depth on each one.

This is also going to be under a “read more” because this post is incredibly long, BUT I tried to make it kind of funny and entertaining at least – so I hope you can learn and have fun as well!

Continue reading “[Hungarian] Cases explained…”

[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. 

[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).