Are Turkish 'var' and Hungarian 'van' related?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Roel~, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Roel~ Junior Member

    Nederlands - Nederland
    I know that in Hungarian 'van' means: to be, is.

    For instance:

    Ház van. = The house is.

    In Turkish the word 'var' has the same meaning, for instance:

    Kolay var. = It is simple. ( I 'm not sure if you can use it in this way, but I believe so, if I 'm wrong though, please correct me. )

    My question was, did the Hungarians used the word 'var' from the Turkish and did it change into 'van' after a while, or did the Turks use the word 'van' from the Hungarians and did it change into 'var' after a while, or aren't the words related at all?

    I always found it quite surprising how similar these words are, how they are gramatically similarly used (often at the end of a phrase) and how they have the same meaning.
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    But they're quite different word classes. Turkish var and yok are uninflected particles, whereas the Hungarian is an inflected verb "be" with forms such as vagyok "I am" and volt "was". They don't look so similar then. The old idea that there was a family connexion between Finnish and Hungarian on the one hand and Turkish and its relatives on the other is no longer held.
  3. bibax Senior Member

    The Turkish word var is also strikingly similar to the German word war (ich war = I was), nicht wahr?
  4. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    I'm not quite sure what this should tell us.
  5. Roel~ Junior Member

    Nederlands - Nederland
    Yes, but the language groups are completely different, 'ich war' isn't used often at the end of a sentence, German is a Germanic language and Turkish an Altaic language which agglutitative. German isn't. I noticed the similarity between Turkish and Hungarian in that the word 'van' and 'var' have the same meaning and are both often used at the end of a sentence. The german 'ich war' only refers to 'I' and not to 'being' in general, like the Turkish and Hungarian words 'van' and 'var' seem to do.
  6. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    The two words are used at the end of a sentence because that's where verbs go in both languages.

    By the way, I think I can correct your original statement, though I'm no expert on Turkish and in fact it doesn't much affect the point, but my recollection is that var is not used with adjectives. It means "there is, there exists", as in köpek var "there is a dog". With adjectives (and nouns) the meaning "is" is given by the suffix -dir (with voice and vowel assimilation, giving -dür, -tür etc.), as in büyüktür "it is big" and köpektir "it is a dog".
  7. bibax Senior Member

    @Moderator: I probably violated some rule, my previous post was not meant too seriously.
    The German war also refers to the 3rd person singular (er/sie/es war = he/she/it was), like the Hungarian van: ő van (= he/she is).
    The same for Hungarian (and for Russian as well): a ház kicsi (= the house [is] small.), mi ez? (= what [is] this?), without any copula. Van is used in the sense 'is located': ott van a ... (there is the ...), itt van a ... (here is the ...), Britney Spears már Budapesten van. (BS is already in Budapest).
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  8. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    Are Uralic and Turkic any less different than Indo-European and Turkic?
  9. Roel~ Junior Member

    Nederlands - Nederland
    Grammatically the similarities between Turkic and Uralic are bigger than the similarities between Indo-European and Turkic. When I read Turkish it's completely different from Indo-European languages which I know, but I recognize a lot of features from Hungarian in it.
  10. Melaike

    Melaike Junior Member

    In Turkish : Ev ..... dir/dır/dur/dür. (Ev=house). The house is beautiful=Ev güzeldir.

    In Turkish the word 'var' has the same meaning, for instance:
    Kolay(ı) var = There's an easy way of it.There's an easy way to do it.
  11. francisgranada Senior Member

    The Hungarian van is of Finno-Ugric origin (on in Finnish). Some forms of this irregular verb have the stem vol-/val- (e.g. volt, vola, vala, való ...) that correspond to the Finnsh ol- (as in ole, olit, olla ...). An archaical form vagyon is also attested.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013

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