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What’s with this “Wren” thing?
The oldest extant version of the fable
are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology
Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche
Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”)
collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read
several eras of foreign
retained their essential
character and attractiveness.
information: Hungarian is the main language of Hungary and of most ethnic Hungarians everywhere.
As such it is one of the official languages of the European Union. In Hungary
there are currently about 10 million speakers, approximately 14.5 throughout
the world. As a minority language in nearby countries, Hungarian is used
primarily in Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia,
(close to 1.5 million) outside Hungary being in the western parts of the
Romanian-administered region of Transylvania (Hungarian Erdély, Romanian
Transilvania or Ardeal). Outside Hungary, Hungarian is an official language in Austria, Croatia, Romania
and Slovakia. In Slovenia it is an official language in Hodoš, Dobrovnik
and Lendava, whose respective Hungarian names are Hódos, Dobronák and Lendva. Some other European countries have Hungarian
minorities as well, increased primarily
numbers of Hungarian speakers outside Europe, primarily
Israel, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States of America. The vast
majority of these are ethnic Magyars, a minority being Roma (“Gypsy,” ca.
2% of the population of Hungary). Hungary is home to smaller
minorities of ethnic Germans (1.2%), Romanians (0.8%), Slovaks (0.4%), Croats
(0.2%), Serbs (0.2%) and Ukrainians (0.1%), many of whom use Hungarian as
a second language. Having once been subjects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
Hungarians traditionally use German as an important foreign language, also French. They
also had to study Russian under Communist rule, and those in Transylvania
use Romanian as their second language. These days, English is the most important
foreign language among Hungarians. Ottoman Turkish and Austrian rule account for Turkish and German influences in Hungarian, Romanian
and Slavonic influences are due to close proximity with those languages, and Latin influences are due to a long and proud history of international learning
Not belonging to
the Indo-European family of languages, Hungarian seems very alien to speakers
of most other European languages. Its closest relatives are the surviving Ob-Ugric
languages Khanty (formerly “Ostyak”) and Mansi (formerly “Vogul”), which are
used in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District of the Russian Federation, in the
area of the Urals, an area that is believed to be the original homeland of the
Magyars as well. As Ugric languages, these and Hungarian belong to the Finno-Ugric
branch of the Uralic languages. Ugric is thus related to the Finnic branch
for instance Finnish and Estonian belong, also to the Samí branch, and they all share morphological agglutination and vowel
harmony as prominent features.
is related to Turkish, although the latter is an Altaic language. Though possible links were explored
in the past, these
linguists do not believe that there is any genealogical relationship between
and Altaic languages (even though they, too, have agglutination and vowel
Of great interest
is the Old Hungarian script, which tends to be referred to as Rovásírás, popularly
also as “Hungarian runes.” This essentially pre-Christian script tradition is believed to be derived from
Asia. Astonishingly, the Rovásírás script remained in use in some remote areas of Transylvania
until the middle of the 19th century.
Despite having been
influenced by Indo-European languages for centuries, Hungarian shares several
lexical features with Asian languages, for instance with regard
to kinship terms, such as differentiating between elder and younger siblings.
Furthermore, family names precede given names (as in the case of the author of
Hungarian has been
written with the Latin alphabet for about the past one thousand years. Prior
to that, it was written with a specific type of runic writing system (Székely
rovásírás). Today’s Hungarian spelling is fairly consistent with regard to phonology.
uses the accute accent mark (´) to signify long vowels, using double accents
to mark long ö and ü (ő, ű). Like the Finnic languages, Hungarian also distinguishes short consonants and
long consonants (as for instance in Italian), and it does so in writing by means
of double consonant letters or letter groups.