Hungarian language facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsHungarian
|Native to||Hungary and areas of Austria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine|
|Native speakers||14–15 million (2005)|
|Writing system||Latin (Hungarian alphabet)
|Official language in|| Hungary
European Union Slovakia (regional language), Slovenia (regional language), Serbia (regional language), Austria (regional language), some official rights in Romania, Ukraine and Croatia
|Recognised minority language in|| Romania
|Regulated by||Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences|
|Linguist List||ohu Old Hungarian|
Regions of the Carpathian Basin where the Hungarian language is spoken
Hungarian is a Uralic language. The Hungarian name for the language is Magyar.
The Finno-Ugric languages also include Finnish, Estonian, Lappic (Sámi) and some other languages spoken in Russia: Khanty and Mansi are the most closely related to Hungarian. The Hungarian name for the language is Magyar.
Speakers and dialects
Hungarian is spoken by approximately 13 million people. Most of them live in Hungary (around 10 million) and Romania (around 1.5 million), but there are also speakers in Slovakia, the northern part of Serbia (Vojvodina), Ukraine and other countries. Hungarian is the official language of Hungary and one of the official languages of the European Union (EU). It is also an official language of the Autonomous Republic of Vojvodina (Serbia) and of some places in the Republic of Slovenia.
Hungarian has several dialects, but people can easily understand one another. The Csángó dialect in Romania, however, is archaic and has changed less than the other dialects.
Hungarian literary language is based on the Northeastern dialect.
Hungarian has no grammatical gender. For example, there are no separate words for "he" and "she" but there is one pronoun (ő). Instead of prepositions, (like "from" or "with"), Hungarian uses suffixes (particles at the end of main words). For example, "from Budapest" becomes Budapestről, and "with Alexandra" becomes Alexandrával.
Another Hungarian feature is vowel harmony: suffixes change according to (harmonise with) the vowel of the main word. If they have a in the word, the suffix normally has a as well (fa "tree" and fával "with a tree"), and if they have e, the suffix will change to have e as well' (teve "camel" and tevével "with a camel").
Since Hungarian writing is mostly phonetic, it is easy to write words by knowing their pronunciation.
The earliest known written Hungarian words are to be found in a Latin document, the Foundation Charter of the Abbey of Tihany (1054). The Funeral Oration and Prayer (1192-95) and the Old Hungarian Lament of Mary (13th century) are the earliest known continuous Hungarian texts.
In the 16th century, the first printed Hungarian texts were published. The modern literary language appeared in the 18th and the 19th centuries.
Hungarian replaced Latin as the official language of Hungary between 1844 and 1849 and then again in 1867.
Images for kids
The Bible in Hungarian
Hungarian language Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.