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the official language of Hungary, also spoken in Romania and elsewhere, belonging to the Finno-Ugric family and most closely related to the Ostyak and Vogul languages of NW Siberia



the language of the Hungarians. Belongs to the Ugric group of the Finno-Ugric languages. Spoken in Hungary, in the border regions of Rumania, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, and in Transcarpathia (Ukrainian SSR). Hungarian is spoken by approximately 13.4 million people (1960, estimate). Vowel harmony, with the opposition of back and front, rounded and unrounded vowels is characteristic for Hungarian phonetics; inflectional and derivational suffixes are assimilated accordingly: fal-on, “on [the] wall”; kép-en, “on [the] picture”; tükr-ön, “on [the] miror.” Vowels and consonants are phonemically opposed according to length. Stress occurs on the first syllable of a word. Morphologically, Hungarian is an agglutinative language. Nouns are inflected for two numbers, cases (approximately 20), personal possessive forms, and three degrees of comparison. There is no grammatical gender. Adjectives and numerals as attributives do not agree with the members they modify. Words are formed mainly by suffixation and compounding. Verbs have two numbers, three persons, three tenses (past, present, and future), and three moods (indicative, imperative, and conditional). The future indicative and the past conditional are formed by means of auxiliary verbs; the other tenses and moods are simple forms. Syntactic words include postpositions, definite and indefinite articles, conjunctions, and particles. There are significant layers of Turkic, Slavic, and German borrowings in the Hungarian vocabulary.

The first written record in Hungarian is the Funeral Oration (C. A.D. 1200). Until the latter half of the 16th century most of the literary monuments were written in Latin and German rather than Hungarian. With the awakening of national consciousness in the 16th and 17th centuries, writers began to use Hungarian. The works of P. Pázmány and I. Gyöngyösi and the translation of the Bible by G. Károli played a normalizing role in the development of literature in Hungarian. A movement for “renewal of the language,” led by the literary figure F. Kazinczy and associated with the social upsurge immediately before the Revolution of 1848-49 and the struggle of the Hungarians for national independence, arose in the late 18th century. The work of the writers S. Petőfi, J. Arány, M. Jókai, and K. Mikszáth contributed to the development of literature in Hungarian in the 19th century. In the 20th century, Hungarian approached a colloquial style in literature.


Maitinskaia, K. E. Vengerskii iazyk, parts 1-3. Moscow, 1955-60.
A mai magyar nyelv rendsze: Leíró nyelvtan, vols. 1-2. Budapest, 1961-62.