Levike wrote:@dEhiN: Thanks. I think that if you look at the core vocab of two languages and they are somewhat similar then it's very probable that they are also related and not just random borrowings.
For example Hungary is surrounded by Slavic speakers (Slovak, Ukrainian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovene),
but if you look at the Slavic words in Hungarian you'll see that they are mostly used for specific fields like agriculture, which I guess Hungarians didn't practise until coming here to the Pannonian Basin and meeting all the Slavs.
Now that I'm learning Polish it was very funny that it has almost nothing to do with Hungarian, but when we got to learn the names of vegetables suddenly half of all words gave me a strong deja-vu
( egres = agrest, cseresznye = czereśnia, kukurica = kukurydza ).
But if you look at day-to-day words like "to live", "eye", "water", "fish" or the numbers maybe then you'll probably see some Finno-Ugric things.
Yeah, if we focus on the core vocabulary, we can establish reliable sound correspondences between Finnish and Hungarian. My understanding is that Finnish has mostly been in contact with Germanic languages whereas Hungarian has been in contact with Slavic ones, and a lot of the differences between those two languages can be attributed to that. But if we factor out language contact (including borrowing), the similarities are a lot clearer.
That example that I bolded above is interesting, by the way, because it's not a Slavic loanword in Hungarian; it's a word that both
Hungarian and Polish borrowed from Ottoman Turkish (kukuruz
قوقوروز), which in turn borrowed it from Albanian (kokërrëz
). Neither Turkish nor Albanian has this word today; instead, they both got their modern words for 'corn' from the Ottoman Turkish word for 'Egypt'. Hungarian does have another word kukorica
, though (also meaning 'corn' AFAICT), which was
borrowed directly from a Slavic language - specifically, Serbo-Croatian (kukuruz
), which also borrowed this word from Ottoman Turkish.
I've been looking into its grammar a bit and I just want to point out that every verb can be conjugated in a definite and in an indefinite way, that's simply the most useless thing I ever saw in a language. Seriously how drunk does a conlanger have to be to come up with this.
But the cool thing about that is that it allows objects to be dropped. In a lot of languages, you can drop subjects and objects at the same time but only if they can be inferred from discourse context. For example, in Malayalam, if I was telling a story about having to buy my dad a Christmas present, I could eventually say something that literally means "then in-the-end gave," and that would be understood to mean "and then I finally gave him his Christmas present" because I already specified earlier in the story that I was the one trying to give something to someone, my dad was the intended recipient, and his Christmas present is what was to be given.
In Hungarian, that's actually written into the grammar, so the verb form already tells you both who the subject is and who the object is without requiring you to specify either of those in the sentence.