History of the Hungarian language

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by francisgranada, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. francisgranada Senior Member


    I have started this thread inspired by the following question in the thread about the "Language stability":

    Szia, Olaszinho!

    1. Some phonetical shifts and the loss of final vowels in some cases took place (circa 9th-13th centuries), e.g. hodu (1055) > had (today), útu > út ...

    2. Some prefixes still maintained their adverbial character (written separately), e.g. migé szokosztja (12th century) > megszakasztja (today)

    3. Some "cases" were rather postpositions (not yet attached to the noun): e.g. útu reá (1055) > útra (today). Otherwise the case/postposition system was the same as today.

    4. More grammatical tenses were used:
    mundá (12th century) > mondá (today, but circa from the 19th century practically not used) - simple past tense
    szokosztja vola (12th century) > szakasztja vala (today, but no more used) - continuous past tense
    mondottam volt - a kind of plusquamperfectum (trapassato), sometimes (rarely) used also today
    mondandok - future (today only the future participle [mondandó] survives)
    mondatik - present passive (similar to Lat. "dicitur", in some phrases still used, but "normally" no more)
    mondattam - past passive (as the present passive, survives in some set phrases etc.)
    mondottam - perfectum (used today as the "general" past tense)

    5. As to the Slavonic loanwords, as far as I know, they entered in the Hungarian language mostly during the first centuries after the arrival of the Magyars to the Carpathian Basin, prevailingly from the Southern Slavic languages.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  2. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    What was the meaning of the predecessor of "meg-" when it had an adverbial nature?
  3. francisgranada Senior Member

    The etymology is *mig (behind) plus (ending of lativus). So the original meaning of migé could be something like back, backwards, re- ... This meaning partially survives in verbs like megadni (to give back, to return), megfordulni (to turn back) etc ...

    But, as far as I have noticed, in the medieval documents the usage of migé already corresponded to the today's usage of meg (i.e. it expressed the "finiteness" or the perfective aspect of verbs in general).
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  4. ancalimon Senior Member

  5. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    This is the sort of rubbish that gets published on line because no reputable publishing house will touch it. If Mr Toth really thinks everything is Sumerian why does he not posit at least a few regular sound correspondences rather than just listing vaguely similar sounding words?
  6. ancalimon Senior Member

    I don't think it would matter much because when Sumerians are the case, people tend to not accept even regular sound correspondences (as in the example of Osman Nedim Tuna's work).

    I think his etymological dictionary is not really related with his Sumerian research anyway and Sumerian language is not the case in this topic.

    I think the Hungarian language changed as a result of some kind of religious-political interfering like some nations from Balkans or Russia after the Romanovs came to power.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  7. francisgranada Senior Member

    I don't understand ... Changed from what to what and when?
  8. dihydrogen monoxide Senior Member

    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    Are there any cases in Hungarian where PFU *p didn't change to f? And when did that change occur and is there any explanation why it only happened in Hungarian?
  9. francisgranada Senior Member

    The PFU *p regurarly changes to f at the beginng of the word, in other positions the p remains unchanged (e.g. lép, lep ...).
    I don't know why only in Hungarian an when exactly. Surely after the separation of the Magyars from the Ugric branch and before the appearance of the first Hungarian written testimonies, i.e. approximately between 10th-5th century BC and the 10th century CE (after Christ).

    P.S. The p>f is not a rare phenomenon in non FU languages, as well.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  10. olaszinho Senior Member

    Central Italian

    Thank you for opening this thread.

    Apparently the Hungarian language has not changed so much since the first Magyar tribes decided to settle in the Carpathian Basin. Having studied a little bit of Hungarian I have always been struck by the fact that there is only one past tense in Hungarian, unlike most Indo-European languages, which can boast a lot of tenses, particularly English, the Romance languages, Bulgarian and literary Serbo-Croatian. However, Hungarian verbs can convey the perfective and imperfective aspect by using prefixes, such as meg and el. As far as I know, other finno-ugric languages, like Finnish and Estonian, should have more past tenses: imperfect, perfect and pluperfect, if I am not mistaken. Thanks to Francisgranada's post I have discovered that even Hungarian has (had) one pluperfect tense, but its use is extremely rare nowadays, I am wondering whether the pluperfect is literary and poetic or it can be also used in current spoken language.
    The evolution of some postpositions into "cases" is also very interesting to me. Were all Hungarian "cases" originally postpositions?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2013
  11. francisgranada Senior Member

    I don't find it partcularly literary or poetic, it can be used in the spoken language as well. But I'd say that the pluferfect in Hungarian is typically not really necessary. Instead of giving long explanations, I show it on an example:

    Azt mondta (past), hogy otthon van (present) - He said (past), that he was (past) at home.
    Azt mondta (past), hogy otthon volt (past) - He said (past), that he had been (pluperfect) at home.

    In the above example the present tense expresses the "contemporaneity" and the past tense (perfect) the "anteriority" (according to the tense of the main clause).
    Mostly yes, and they can be used separately even today and they often maintain their abverbial character. E.g. -be: kertbe (illative -into the garden), bemenni (prefix - to go inside/into), be (adverb - inside, as direction)

    But the accusative -t, superessive -on/en/ön, translative -vá/vé, locative (no more productive) -t/tt , terminative -ig and some so called "improper cases" were evidently not adverbs.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  12. olaszinho Senior Member

    Central Italian
    Szia Francis
    Your examples are quite clear. You probably don't need the pluperfect because Hungarians are not accustomed to using it. For instance, how would you translate into Hungarian the following sentence:
    When I met him I realised I had already seen him.
    Amikor találkoztam vele rájöttem, hogy már láttam (őt) ?? Perhaps my translation is not correct, but are you sure the pluperfect is not necessary in this kind of sentence? Of course, I am saying this from an Italian/English perpective. A Russian would agree with you. :)
  13. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    Czech is similar to Hungarian in this respect. The plusquamperfect is bookish. In the last clause ("... that I had already seen him") it is commonly replaced by the past tense supplemented by a temporal adverb ("... that I saw him already before/previously/...").
  14. francisgranada Senior Member

    Your translation is (plu)perfect :). Yes, I am sure because "hogy már láttam" is subordinated to "...rájöttem". So "láttam" expresses the "past" or anteririority with regard to "rájöttem".

    I don't say that we couldn't find examples when the pluperfect would make the sense clearer ... But see another "curiosity":

    Amikor (majd) találkozom vele rájövök, hogy már láttam (őt). When I shall meet him I'll realise I have already seen him.
    Majd ha már megjöttél, adok neked pénzt. When you will have already arrived, I'll give you money
    (maybe this is not best sentence in English ...)

    This "past tense" (or better "perfect") can be used also in future contexts. The explanation is perhaps the following: unlike the "old" simple past (no more used today), it originally expressed rather the copmletedness (perfective aspect) than the tense itself. It is marked with the morpheme –t which etymologically corresponds to the past passive participle. E.g. ment (gone), mentem, mentél, ment ... (I have/had ... gone, you have/had ... gone, he has/had ... gone …)
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  15. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    Hi Olaszinho,

    The exampes in your quote and your post are very good.
    The Hungarian does not use - now - past perfect tenses to express that an action happened earlier that an other.
    It uses adverbs "miután=after" ,"már=already".

    I have to explain my interposition - now.

    There used to be as much past tenses as in the Spanish languages.
    Yo can find them in the tales of Benedek Elek "mondotta volt";
    in the poem of Petőfi: "egész úton hazafelé azon gondolkodám".

    I use extict past "lőn" instead of "lett" when I want to say that somebody at long last understood something:
    "És lőn világosság" <- Moses I. 1. http://www.biblia.hu/biblia_k/k_1_1.htm

    There is another living short speach containing the "mondta vala" form widely used in the 16th-17th century:
    "Bölcs Salamon mondta vala:
    Hangos fingnak nincsen szaga,
    De amelyik sunyi-lapos,
    Annak szaga irtózatos."

    There was a future similar to Spanish, too:
    Megoldandod = meg fogod oldani = Yo'll solve it.
    The future participle for almost all verbs is still used:
    Megoldandó feladat, elintézendő ügy.

    The evolution of some postpositions into "cases" is also very interesting to me. Were all Hungarian "cases" originally postpositions?
    1. "Cases" are bad denominations of "határozóragok" created by Induoeuropean linguists transporting idea alien to the structure of the Hungarian Language because they do not change according to genders and declination groups, and they are not different in singular and plural as in e.g. the Russian.
    In Russian -ban may be в ...е, в ...у, в ...и , в ...ах.
    2. Yes, with two exceptions:
    You can see it from their forms with personal pronouns:
    -ban, ben -> bennem, benned, .... = in me, in you;
    -val, vel -> velem, veled, .... = with me, with you.

    On me, on you = rajtam, rajtad.

    Topic 2: The influence of Russian.
    More loan word came from the Stalinism(2) than from the Tzarism(1) but no grammatical changes.
    1. kancsuka, ukáz, kozák ...
    2. traktor, kombájn, partizán, gulág ...

    I beg the other contributors' pardon whom I have not quoted by name.

    Topic 3: Finnugor or Török?

    It is a hot political question since the poor Hungarian astronom went to Lapponia to observe the passing the Venus in front of the Sun.
    The "kuruc" party says that the Finno-Ugrian relationship is a wickid German attempt to line up the warrior Hungarians in the group of fish-lard Finn and alike peoples who have been surrendered to the Swedish and Russian great powers.
    The Turkish peopela are on the contrary warriors and powerful.

    Let me to publish my own theory.
    The saga of the Miraculous Deer is absolutely true.
    Some Finno-Ugrian women were searching for other men than the boring Finno-Ugrian men with the same color of skin and other genes.
    1. Their instict to search for different sexual partners in order to improve the inherited DNA lead them to an nudist bathing excursion from the Northern jungle to the shore of the Black or Azovian sea where the appearence of Turkish lads was predictable.
    2. One of them painted the horn of a deer with golden dye and used it as a lure.

    On the other hand the soldiers of Hunors and Magor wanted women having blonde hair and pale skin instead of ones having black hair and yellow skin.

    It was a good choice for women and man and the Hungarian Nation was born.

    Best wishes
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  16. francisgranada Senior Member

    I think it's worth to notice that the Hungarian compound past tenses do not correspond exactly to the Indo-European “logic”, as not the auxiliary verb (“to be”), but the main verb is conjugated. The aux. verb is always in the 3rd pers. singular, for example: “írtam volt, írtad volt, írta volt …“.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  17. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    Dear Francis,
    It is an interesting observation, and it is true for the presently used Past Conditional, too:
    "Írtam volna, írtál volna, írt volna" = "I should have written, you would have written, he/she would have written."

    It is very interesting that it corresponds to the Russian conditional where the бы word is fixed.
    [The Hungarian and Russian omission of copula "is" means a strange common feature of very different languages. It is explained with the fact that Slavic tribes penetrating from Poland to the the Volga found there Finnougrian tribes.]

    May I ask you why are you interested in obsolete Hungarian grammar?
  18. francisgranada Senior Member

    For those who do not know, the "poor Hungarian astronom" was János Sajnovics, who publised his work about the relationship between the Hungarian and Lapponic in 1770 in Coppehagen. This is considered the first work on Finno-Ugristic using already comparive linguistics (precedeing thus Franz Bopp's and Rasmus Kristian Rask's works on the Indoeuropean language family).
    Yes, but it is not the same construction. The Russian бы is "remnant" of a Slavonic aorist and it was once conjugated (see the Czech forms bych, bychom ...).
    Because it is interesting :). I am interested in other languages, too.


    P.S. Please, let us not be OT ... The Russian language and theories about the Hungarian ethnogenesis should be discussed in different threads.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  19. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    I think that we should mention some of the key phonological developments that affected Hungarian:

    - 'p' changed to 'f' in the syllable onset
    - 'k' changed to 'h' in the syllable onset in front of back vowels
    - 't' changed intervocalically to sz/z
    - 's' in the syllable onset disappeared in many cases
    - the sequences of a nasal and a voiceless stop produced voiced stops, e.g. 'mp'>'b' and 'nt'>'d'
    - the sequences of a vowel and 'v' produced long vowels (initially, diphthongs)

    I hope someone expands and completes this list (and corrects anything that's wrong with it).

    As for the disappeared tenses, I think we should explain the full conjugation:

    Elbeszélő múlt: root + the same suffixes as in the conditional, but without the "-n-"
    Folyamatos/félrégmúlt: present/past* conjugated form + vala
    Régmúlt: past conjugated form + volt
    Jövő: root + "-and-" + present personal suffixes

    *What is the difference between the usage of the present and the past with the verb "vala"? Are these two different tenses? I have read about "várok vala", but now I have seen "mondta vala" in the quoted speech above.
  20. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member


    The thread is so long that I cannot collect alll quotes.

    Let me reflect in random order to some statements.

    I) The auxiliary verb is in fixed form unlike in Indoeuropean languages.

    I think it comes from the Hungarian stress rules and the usage of suffixes.
    1. The stress is always on the first syllable.
    2. The unstressed vowels must be pronounced clearly. "Schwa" is prohibited.
    3. The odd syllables get secondary stress.
    4. The suffixes must be pronounced without reduction.

    The languages reducing ending syllable must repeat some way the tools expressing person, case, gender and plural.
    The Hungarian speakers are asking modes of quicker speach, too.
    They invented that the tools expressing person, case and plural must be present once or at most twice in a sentence.
    The grammatical gender is completely missing.

    Piros almákat vettem.
    Három piros almát vettem.
    Az almák pirosak.

    II) Obsolete past tenses

    I do not know whether they were used in the Pest common language when Petőfi was living.
    I think he used th "elbeszélő múlt" in order to achieve anapestus [u u -] :
    "Már hó |takará| el a bér|ci tetőt".

    Too many past tenses -> to many rules of usage -> Let us throw them out.

    III) History and evolution of the languages

    The political and economical surrender causes more words to infiltrate to a language than loaning grammatical structures.
    New tools and forced political institutions are accepted easily than absolutely foreign grammatical stuctures.
    See: Fr "gendarmérie"-> Ger-> Hu "zsandár".

    When the Turks occupied a town their first duty was to climb up to the tower of the church and replace the cross with the moon. So the word "hód|olt"="surrendered" comes from the "hold"="moon" not from the animal beaver.

  21. olaszinho Senior Member

    Central Italian

    Is this old past a sort of Aorist? Is it still used in the Bible? If so, It should not be archaic but only literary....

    Piros almákat vettem. This is quite typical of agglutivative languages, they attach different suffixes to the same word to express different meanings, unlike flexive languages, for instance Russian: Я Купил яблоки, actually this is not a good example because there is no difference between accusative and nominative.
    A tanárokat láttam yвидел учителей (Russian only uses one ending indicating both the plural and the accusative).

    Három piros almát vettem. This is also quite peculiar: plural suffixes are not used if plurality is explicity expressed by other means: numbers or words like: sok, kevés, néhàny and so on.
    Az almák pirosak. This is not unique to Hungarian, you can say: las manzanas rojas, but it is true that in Hungarian when the adjectives precede the nouns, they are unchangeable.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
  22. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    When the adjectives is for some poetic reason is after the noun, they are indeed fitted to the nouns.
    Szép piros, de sajnos kukacos almákat vettem. <---> Almákat vettem, szépeket, pirosakat, de sajnos kukacosakat, hogy a fene egye meg!

    Try to say in Russian:
    with a cat, with a tomcat, with a monster [чудовище], with my litte daugher, with my aunt, with my adult daugther, on the way [1. путь 2. дорога], with love, with Puskin. Then put all this in Plural.

    How many different endings mean the same case expressed with the same -val, -vel in Hungarian?

    -IG, -VÁ/VÉ
    This suffixes cannot used with personal pronouns: *igem, *iged, *ige, *vám, *vád, *vája do not exist.
    Only "azzá, ezzé" can be said. Strange azzal, avval and ezzel, evvel are equally correct but *avvá, *evvé hurt my ears.

    Illativus, Ablativus, Hablatyivus
    The fantasy of linguists and their will to force Hungarian suffixes into Procrust's bed of Indoeuropean cases are inexhaustible. They mean an absoultely unnecessary category for the pupils because the suffixes are fixed, carved in stone, unlike in the above series of Russian words.
    If the old professor kicks the bucket then the young one can freely find out new arbitrary, gibberish terminology.

  23. francisgranada Senior Member

    Az almák pirosak means las manzanas son rojas. This is another case (the lack of the copula). The adjective always precedes the noun (if not separated as in Franknagy's example "Almákat vettem, szépeket, ..."), this is a typical feature of the Uralic languages.
    Nowadays only the "perfect" ("-t past") is used, inclusive the modern translation of the Bible (I prefer the the old translation from the 16th century ...).
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
  24. olaszinho Senior Member

    Central Italian
    Yes, of course. One can learn the omission of the copula in the first Hungarian lesson. Probably I was a bit dizzy. I should have used Russian as an example and I was actually thinking about it.
    Two more questions:
    Was the old past a sort of Aorist?
    Has Hungarian ever had a real imperfect tense?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2013
  25. francisgranada Senior Member

    I don't know if the term "aorist" fits the Hungarian "old past" (maybe yes, however in Hungarian it is grammatically marked, unlike e.g. in Greek, as far as I know). However, the original function of this old past tense was to express actions/events that happened in the past, typically without any reference to the present and the perfective/imperfective aspect was not an implicit criterion.

    In the last centuries, when the perfectum (or “-t past tense") considerably prevailed, it was used mainly as some kind of "narrative past tense" (hence it's Hungarian name "elbeszélő múlt").
    I think not, at least not in the Romance or Latin sense of the term.
    Good question. Examples from the 12th century (modern spelling):

    “terümtevé ... miü isemüküt Ádámut“ (he created … our ancestor Adam)
    odutta vola neki paradicsomut házoá“ (he gave him the paradise as home)
    „turkukat migé szokosztja vola“ (it was ‘breaking‘ their throats)
    (I don't know a good English equivalent for "szakasztani/szakítani")

    terümtevé – created („old past tense“)
    vola – he was („old past tense“)
    odutta - ‚given-he‘, ‚he has/had/will have given‘ (perfectum, today’s past tense)
    szokosztja – it breaks (present tense)

    My interpretation of the compound tenses:
    odutta vola: the action was completed in the past
    szokosztja vola: the action was happening in the past
    *odutta volt: the action was completed in the past before an other action

    P.S. Does anybody know the English terminology for the Hungarian historical tenses?
    (to avoid ad hoc terms like „old past“, „perfectum“)
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2013
  26. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    Gentle List Members,
    I have found a good summary:
    Past Tenses in the Old Hungarian Language

    I have quoted only the terminology.
    Here is another 2-page summary:

    You have mentioned many time thes Aoristos.
    Is it an extraordinary mode of forming the past tense or juslt do you like the Greek terms?
    What is it in the Spanish or English terminology of tenses.
  27. olaszinho Senior Member

    Central Italian
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  28. francisgranada Senior Member

    Thanks, Franknagy and Olaiszinho, for the links. So the English terminology could be as follows:

    mond – (egyszerű) jelen – (simple) present
    mondott – befejezett jelen - present perfect
    monda – egyszerű/elbeszélő múlt - simple past
    mond vala – folyamatos múlt - past imperfective
    mondott vala – befejezett múlt - past perfect
    mondott volt – régmúlt - pluperfect
  29. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    I have added to this thread my opinion. See there.

    What is pluperfect in English? I can imagine it in Spanish: "Ella hubo dicho".
    Thank you for for the added links.
    One more form of the perfect tense or the passive voice
    Is the <flexed "to be">+<participle> construction a new Germanism in the Hungarian?
    I think "a kérdés meg van válaszolva" is not really equivalent with "a kérdést megválaszoltuk" because of the omitted person.
    The phrase "a macska fel van mászva a fára" is a caricature.
    But the "le vagy szarva", "le vagy érdelve", "ki vagy rúgva" expressions are widely used. Read

  30. francisgranada Senior Member

    This is not a tense, rather a kind of a "quasi-passive" voice. I don't think it is a germanism, however it's inappropriate usage (as in your example "...fel van mászva") may be a German (Latin?) influence.

    See also the here
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
  31. francisgranada Senior Member

    No. The verb hódolni comes from the Middle High German "holden" (toady Germ. huldigen). There are equivalents in some Slavic languages, too (e.g. Slovak hold, holdovať, Polish hołd).
  32. olaszinho Senior Member

    Central Italian

    "Ella hubo dicho" is not a form of pluperfect in Spanish, it is called pretérito anterior and it is rarely used in contemporary Spanish. Habìa dicho/ he/she had said is pluperfect
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2013
  33. francisgranada Senior Member

    Of course. The common Uralic language is supposed to split in the 3rd century BC, the Finno-Ugric around 2000 BC and the Proto-Hungarian is dated between 1000 and 500 BC, so during these practically thousands of years many phonological changes took place subsequently in different periods etc …. So the reconstruction of a complete and “sure” list is impossible. Plus, we lack older testimonies of different Uralic languages, as the oldest known written documents are in Hungarian (10th century) and in Komi (14th century).

    p>f, mp>b, nt>d, t > sz/z …
    Hungarian innovations (absent in Ugric, though some of them present in other Uralic languages independently)

    Common for the Ugric languages:
    Mansi húrum, Khanty hutəm, Hungarian három (but Komi kuim,Finnish kolme) - „three
    Mansi husz, Khanty husz, Hungarian húsz – (but Udmurt küz) - twenty

    s (syllable onset) > …
    Common for the Ugric languages (though with different phonetical solutions):
    Mansi tal, Khanty löl, Hungarian öl (but Komi sül, Finnish syli) - „fathom

    vowel + 'v' > diphtong > long vowel
    Hungarian innovation (attested in written documents):
    lov > lou > ló - „horse“ ('v' conserved in accusative and plural lovat, lovak; the diphtong ou still present in some dialects)

    vowel + 'guttural' > diphtong > long vowel
    Hungarian innovation (attested in written documents):
    meneh (1055) > *men> menő - literally "going, Lat. iens/Sp. yente“

    NOTE: Khanty, Mansi (Ugric) and Komi, Udmurt, Mari (Finnic) use today the cyrillic alphabet, so my transcriptions are very approximative (rather informative).
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
  34. olaszinho Senior Member

    Central Italian

    I'm interested in having more information about the use of tenses in old Hungarian. The verb forms Mondott or ettem were used like today's English present perfect "he has said/I have eaten", while for completed actions in the past only elbeszélő múlt (monda) was used. Am I wrong?
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
  35. francisgranada Senior Member


    The problem is that what we call present perfect has gradually replaced the simple past during the last centuries, i.e. a "universal" answer that covers, let's say the last 10 centuries, is not possible. Another “problem” is that the oldest written documents contain mostly religious texts and not examples from the contemporaneous colloquial language. As consequence, we encounter rather examples for "mondotta vala" than "mondotta". However, I try to give you my personal opinion/explanation:

    The perfect (let's ommit the word "present") originally was not a real tense but it expressed the perfective aspect. When used with the verb ‘”to be”, this perfect was “collocated” in a temporal context. In the present 3rd person the copula is ommitted, so without the verb “to be” implicitely the present tense is intended. Thus we have “mondottam/mondottad/mondotta ... (*van)/vala” (as if we said something like “dicho-mío/dicho-tuyo/dicho-suyo ... es/ fue" in Spanish).

    So I think that the forms like mondott/ettem might often, but not necessarily, coincide with the English "he has said/I have eaten”, as they expressed the completedness of the actions viewed from the present ("passato prossimo").

    For illustration (using the examples I have given before, from the 12th century):
    “… terümtevé ... miü isemüküt Ádámut, és odutta vola neki paradicsomut házoá.”
    (literal translation to "modern" Hungarian: "... teremté ... [a] mi ősünket Ádámot, és adta vala neki [a] paradicsomot házává")

    From the “English point of view” we might think that the Paradise was given to Adam before he (our ancestor Adam) was/had been created. Instead, in Hungarian terümtevé expresses the past (regardless of the perfective/imperfective aspect) and odutta vola expresses the perfective aspect in the past, regardless of the “consecutio temporum”.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  36. olaszinho Senior Member

    Central Italian
    Thank you for your detailed response. I had asked my question because of the name given to the Hungarian tenses. However, I can easily realise that the evolution of Hungarian pass tenses must have been gradual and not always clearly documented.
  37. These are really informatic discussion.The description are really interesting.Hungarian stress rules and the usage of suffixes more.
  38. francisgranada Senior Member

    De nada, figurati :).

    I have looked up the usage of the Hungarian tenses in a book printed in 1688. An example, for illustration:

    És végre meg-igéré és meg-is küldé a' könyveket deák nyelven, amelyeket én még Rómában lévén, meg is vettem volt magamnak olasz nyelven, és ottan által olvastam.

    My very bad English and Italian "literal" translations, for illustration purposes:

    And finally he promised and he (also) sent the books in Latin language that I had bought for me in Italian language, when I was still in Rome, and there I read (??) them (trough/over/across < által).

    E finalmente promise e (anche) mandò i libri in latino, i quali, quando ero ancora a Roma, io li avevo comprato per me in lingua italiana, e lì (=a Roma) li avevo (ri)letto/(ri)lessi (??).

    igéré, küldé - simple past (~ he promised, he sent)
    vettem volt - pluperfect (~ I had bougth)
    olvastam – perfect & past (~ I have/had read ??)

    "I had bought the Italian translation of the books before he (XY) promised and sent (to me) the Latin version (of the books)"
    “I read/had read/have been reading …(??) the books while I was still in Rome” (not explicitely stated if before or after having received the Latin books)

    While igéré, küldé are a priori past tenses and vettem volt is a “clear” pluperfect, the verb form olvastam, though maintaining it’s perfective aspect, here has already the fuction of a past (perfect) tense. Otherwise *olvastam vala should have been used (according e.g. to odutta vola in my previous example from the 12th century).

    In general, the historical “present perfect” (today’s practically the unique past tense) was already used in the 17th century very frequently (often instead of other historical tenses), eventhough the simple past was still commonly used.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  39. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Hi olaszhino,
    I have just one (say, maybe two) historical curiousity: which part of the Carpathian Basin the first Magyar tribes settled? The major part of it is in Romania and you sounded like you are living in it?
    Similarly, important towns in this area are from Serbia, Poland, Slovacia, Ukraine, while the majority of the towns are in Romania.
    What towns do you have in these mountains?
    Firstly, I am asking this in order to clarify myself about the migration of the Magyar (huni) tribes. And secondly, where do they put an end to their migration?
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  40. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    Hi Irinet,
    The Hungarian tribes settled in the Great Hungarian Plain and in the hilly countries because they could continue their traditional ecomomy there. They avoided the hight mountains. They tribes have summer accomodations and winter accomodations. This can be followed by similar village names.

    If you look at the relief map of the Carpathian Basin then you see plains around the rives Danube from Vienna (now Austria) down to Beograd (now Serbia) and Tisza (from the current Zakarkatskaya Oblast' of The Ucraine down to Serbia. There are basins in Transylvania (now Romania) which are separated by the high mountains of Bihar. The Bihar mountains were always inhabited by Slavic later Rumanian mountain shepherds.
    The question of Székely nation which now speak Hungarian and lives as an island in Rumania.

    is very interesting because they were not speaking Hungarian when the Hungarian tribes arrived to th Carpathian basin.
    A migration of Székelys led to Moldva. They are called Csángó's.

    The area occupied by Hungarian people extended to the river Enns of Austria in the 10-th century.
    Vienna has a special Hungarian name "Bécs". The folk tales have an expression "Óperenciás tenger" = "Sea O." which can be explained by the German expression "ober Enns".

    The Southern end of the Great Hungarian Plain
    where the rivers Danube, Tisza, Dráva and Száva meet was rich agricultural and wine-growing area which used to be inhabited by Hungarians until the Turkish invasion in 1521. (This part was earlier occupied that the Battle of Mohács 1526.)
    The Carpathian basin is somewhat similar to the steppe over the Black sea.
    The mountanous area of the Alpes was improper to their economy.
    So the Hungarian tribes settled down there and they led only adventures against Western and Souther Europe.
    The settlement was executed after detailed consideration of the feudal anarchy of Germany and Italy as auxiliary troops called by King Berengar and other fights between fathers and sons of kaiser families.
    According to the theory of Gy. László the Magyars made double homeland conquest, first in the 7th then in the 9th century.

    I have to continue later
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  41. franknagy

    franknagy Senior Member

    The Hungarian settlement has not common border with Poland because the Slovak-inhabited mountains separate us.
    On the other hand, forced and spontaneous migration has made family connections all over the 1100 year we have living as good neighbors with the Polish people. I myself have a Polish great-grandmother. There were Polish schools in Hungary during the WW II.
    Let me enlist some towns
    Cluj = Kolozsvár
    Baia Mare = Nagybánya
    Marosvásárhely = Tîrgu Mureş

    Subotica = Szabadka
    Novi Sad = Újvidék

    The Ucraine
    Munkachevo = Munkács
    Beregovo = Beregszász

    Bratislava = Pozsony
    Štúrovo = Párkány
    Nové Zámky = Érsekújvár
    Šahy = Ipolyság

    Čakovec = Csáktornya

    That is enough for today.

  42. The Hungarian tribes travel's all over Europe . The Hungarian tribes left the area of the Urals. They passed along the Volga and the Caspian Sea. After several hundred years of wandering, they reached the Carpathian Basin.
  43. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Nice history, long time travelling!
    Is someone here thinking that Transylvannia, a region in my country, should be within Hungarian borders?
  44. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    I think we can cut this short:

    • The lands under the Hungarian crown in 1920 when the kingdom was split up and that were not part of the new Hungarian state created by the treaty of Trianon any more almost all had sizable Magyar minorities. Most of them were under Magyar rule for a long time but never ethnically dominated by Magyars. The question "whom they belong" is idle today and not terrible relevant from a linguistic point of view.
    • Huns and Magyars are not the same people, despite what the name Hungary suggests. They might have been somehow related the in their urheimats (in parts, as the Huns where probably ethnically mixed)somewhere in the east but that we don't know that. The migration waves of Huns and Magyars belong to entirely different historical periods.
    • The end of the Westward expansion of the Magyars has a definite date attached to it: 955, the Battle of Lechfield where the much of the warrior-aristocracy that ruled the realm at the time was killed and those who survived lost their power base and a new Frankish-feudalistic form of government emerged and the people gave up its nomadic way of life. The Magyars retreated until the river Leitha which formed the western border with the Holy Roman Empire and with Austria for most of the time that followed until 1920.

    We can discuss details for ages but I can't see the relevance for the question of this thread. Unless someone can provide a very good reason why it is relevant, I would like to leave it at that.
  45. francisgranada Senior Member

    As this thread is about the history of the Hungarian language and not about the origin/history/frontiers etc ... of the Hungarian people/nation/state, I shall react only to the following:
    All what we know for sure is that the Székely speak a pure Hungarian tongue without any trace of a Turkic (or other) substratum. This is valid also for the known written documents.

    Ad marginem: the Szélelys do not indentify themselves as a separate "nation" (in the modern sense of this word; they are traditionally part of the Hungarian nation)
    I agree.
  46. dihydrogen monoxide Senior Member

    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    So the Hungarian that Székely speak is important to the history of Hungarian language. Are some of the words in Székely Hungarian preserved in standard Hungarian alongside the substratum? How well is the Székely Hungarian attested? So for study of Proto-Uralic I guess Székely Hungarian is more interesting than standard Hungarian.
  47. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Thank you Berndf and Francisgranada for your replies. I will follow this thread with great interest.
  48. francisgranada Senior Member

    To be clear: there is no special Székely (or Székely Hungarian) language historically attested, neither with nor without the presence of any specific substratum. The possible Pre-Hungarian or other origin of the Székely people is discussed, but no linguistical testimonies do exist that would suggest that the Székely once spoke an another language than the "rest" of the Hungarians.

    The "language of the Székely", or better the Hungarian dialects of Transylvania, from the linguistical point of view are (of course) important like any other regional variant of a languages, in general. Further more, as Transylvania was isolated from the rest of the Hungarian speaking territory (e.g. during the Ottoman invasion), the Transylvanian dialects tend to preserv some archaical features of Hungarian. But this doesn't mean that in other dialects we cannot find archaical features at all, no more present in Transylvania ...
    According to what I've said before, I don't think so.
  49. olaszinho Senior Member

    Central Italian
    "És végre meg-igéré és meg-is küldé a' könyveket deák nyelven, amelyeket én még Rómában lévén, meg is vettem volt magamnak olasz nyelven, és ottan által olvastam"

    This is a very interesting example of the usage of past tenses in old Hungarian. I almost managed to grasp the meaning of the whole sentence without your useful translations. :) Apart from a couple of words such as: meg-igéré and lévén. However I was not able to find the word "Latin" in your sentence.
    Apparently, the perfective prefixes, like meg. were already used with the old simple past.
  50. francisgranada Senior Member

    Complimenti :).
    Of course, with all the tenses, exactly like today.
    This is a participle, not archaical (though seldom used in the colloquial speach). Lévén corresponds approximately to "having been", but not always can be translated this way.
    It is "deák" :) (finally, from the Greek diakonos). The expression "deák nyelv" was used in the sense of "the language used by the learned people" as opposed to the "national" languages (Hungarian, Italian, Czech etc ...). In a certain period it was used practically as a synonym of Latin.

    P.S. The modern version of the sentence in my example would be:
    És végre megigérte és meg (here better: el) is küldte a könyveket latin nyelven, amelyeket én még Rómában lévén, meg is vettem (volt) magamnak olasz nyelven, és ottan átolvastam (here better: elolvastam).
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013

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