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Postby Levo » 2006-11-28, 19:42

I am so happy that so many people want to learn Hungarian. :D

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Postby Oleksij » 2006-11-28, 21:45

Yeah, I was starting it bit by bit too, although I don't really have enough time.

CoBB, could you please send me a copy of those lessons too? :lol: 8) Thanks! :wink:
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How many cases?

Postby Ateesh » 2007-01-04, 21:56

Hungarian is not like Latin or Russian where you have a set number of 'cases' proper and therefore a declination. In school, you never learn or practice declination in Hungarian.

Hungarian is an agglutinative language 'gluing' one (or often much much more than one) suffix to the root of the word. So you learn endings:

-ban = "in"
ház+ban = "in (a/the) house"

Then you learn "vowel harmony" varieties of this ending:

-ban, -ben
házban, mecsetben ("in a/the house", "in a/the djami")

The you learn that endings often come in groups of three:

(1) -be/-be: into the house [directional INTO]
(2) -ban/-ben: (with)in the house [static WITHIN]
(3) -ból/ből: out of a/the house [directional OUT OF]

So trying to learn "tables" and declinations won't get you far. You have to expose yourself to the language grassroot style, understanding one step at a time and learning exceptions and special cases all the way through. Hungarian is simply not as mechanical as Indoeuropean languages. It is much more similar to North American Indian languages like Lakota.

From an Indoeuropean direction, Hungarian is just as difficult as Turkish or Lakota. Instead of memorizing declinations or conjugation, you have to immerse yourself in the language quite intensively to pick it up. This is simply because the grammar and syntax and word formation logic and word order logic are such that they cannot be mechanically memorized -- there are too many exceptions. You have to become comfortable with one structure before you can understand the next one. Slow, rewarding process. And a fantastic language, I'm telling you. :)


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Postby muhaha » 2007-01-05, 16:06

Does Hungarian have any root changes when adding the suffixes?

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Postby CoBB » 2007-01-05, 17:11

muhaha wrote:Does Hungarian have any root changes when adding the suffixes?

Well, there is some, but not very extensive, I dare say. Most case endings and verb conjugation leave the stem intact (except for a general rule that stems ending in a or e have this letter changed to á or é with most suffixes). The plural marker (-k) can cause some changes, e.g.:

gyufa - gyufák
kanál - kanalak
sátor - sátrak
szó - szavak (there are only a handful of words in this category)
pehely - pelyhek (this is very rare, I can only think of three words following this rule)

In other words, the last vowel of the word can often shorten or even disappear, and there are a few words with even more radical changes. The possessive endings affect the stem almost always the same way as the plural (kanalam - my spoon, sátram - my tent, szavam - my word, pelyhem - my flake etc.). And there’s also the accusative case (-t), which can cause similar changes, but it can’t be formed the same way as the plural in general.

Verb conjugation is quite regular, the stem hardly ever changes if you fix the mood and the tense.
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