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Language Reference Guide For Hungarian
Posted on Monday, October 15 @ 05:19:58 EDT
Topic: Lingustics

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1. Grammar and Spelling
2. Punctuation
3. Measurements and Abbreviations
4. Hyphenation
5. Miscellaneous Peculiarities
6. Geographic Distribution
7. Character Set

Section One – Grammar and Spelling

1. Gender: Hungarian nouns are not distinguished by gender.

2. Plurals: The plural is generally formed by adding 'k' for words ending in a vowel, or -ak, -ek, -ok, -ök for others (NB: many verb and other endings end in 'k' too).

3. Affixes: Hungarian is an agglutinative language. This means that prefixes and suffixes are added to the beginning and end of words to render verb endings, tenses, cases, possessive adjectives, prepositions, etc.

4. Capitalisation: Unlike English, Hungarian uses a small letter for the names of nations, adjectives derived from proper nouns, the names of months, days, holidays and historical events.

Diacritics/accents are used on upper case letters.

Section Two - Punctuation

Hungarian punctuation is very similar to English, but there are some important differences:

1. Speech/Quotation marks: Speech is not separated by a comma but by a dash (-). For quotations, Hungarian uses the format „ ... ”.

2. Apostrophe: Hungarian does not make use of the apostrophe.

3. Exclamation marks: In letters, the salutation is followed by an exclamation mark rather than a comma.

4. Ampersand symbol (&): This is never used in Hungarian.

5. Footnotes: In Hungarian, footnotes (as introduced by asterisks, superscript numbers, etc.) do not have to begin with a capital letter, but still take a full stop (as they are not regarded as 'text' in their own right, but as information continued from something in the body text).

Section Three - Measurements and Abbreviations

1. Dates: Dates are written as follows:
year - month - day
1998. március 15.
1998. március 15-e
(the 15th March 1998)
Dates are usually abbreviated in writing. If the month is shown as a number,
Roman numerals are used: 1998.III.15.

2. Weights and measures:

The ‘dekagramm’ is often used, which equals 10 grams. The 'mázsa’,
however, equals 100 kilograms.
The ‘deciméter’ is a measure of length, which equals 10 centimetres.

When specifying an exact plural number of something, the noun stays in the

The abbreviation for 'seconds' can be s (for secundum) or mp (for

Section Four – Hyphenation

Hyphenation in the Hungarian language is a rather complex matter. However, the basic rule is to separate words wherever a new syllable begins. There are different rules though for names, proper nouns, foreign words and words containing double consonants. If a compound word contains more than seven syllables, a hyphen should be added between the constituents. A precise definition of such rules would require several pages.

Section Five – Miscellaneous Peculiarities

Names: when using Hungarian names, the surname is always written/spoken first, followed by the first name. However, for non-Hungarian names, this does not apply.

The words video, audio and stereo are foreign words which were taken over by the Hungarians - they should not have an accent on the 'o'.

Section Six – Geographic Distribution

Hungarian is spoken by about 10 million people in Hungary, 1½ million in Romania, and smaller minorities in Yugoslavia and Slovakia. It is one of the Finno-Ugric languages, which include Finnish, Estonian, and a number of languages spoken in Russia. Most of these languages, however, belong to the Finnic branch of this group, while Hungarian belongs to the Ugric. The only other existing Ugric languages, and thus the only other languages to which Hungarian is closely related, are the remote Ostyak and Vogul languages of Siberia, spoken in an area more than 2,000 miles from Hungary.

As may be gathered from these facts, the original Hungarian people came from Asia and eventually reached the Danube, where they settled in 896. In the more than a thousand years that have elapsed since that time the Hungarians have become completely Europeanized, with only their language serving to reveal their Asian origins. The Hungarians call their language Magyar. It is considered extremely difficult for foreigners to learn, with its vocabulary largely from Asia and its grammar containing a number of complex features not to be found in other Western languages.

Hungarian is spoken/used in the following countries:
Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Yugoslavia.

Language Family
Family: Uralic
Subgroup: Finno-Ugric
Branch: Ugric

Copyright © Katzner, K. The Languages of the World. Routledge.
Available from http://www.worldlanguage.com/Languages (Accessed March

Section Seven – Character Set

[ ] = Alt key codes

a á [160]A, Á [193]
c csC CS
d dz dzsD Dz Dzs
e é [130]E É [144]
g gyG Gy
h H
i í [161]I Í [0205]
l lyL Ly
n nyN Ny
o ó [162] ö [0246] o [0245]O, Ó [0211] Ö [153] O [0213]
r R
s szS Sz
t tyT Ty
u ú [163] ü [0252] u [0251]U, Ú [0218] Ü [0220] U [0219]
z zsZ Zs
Letters used only in foreign words:

By Wordbank Ltd,
TEL: +44 (0) 20 7903 8800, FAX: +44 (0) 20 7903 8888,


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