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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...

Magyar nyelv

Hungarian (Magyar)

Despite several eras of foreign
domination, Hungary and its capital
Budapest have retained their essential
character and attractiveness.

Language 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, Austria and Slovenia, the largest population (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 after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Furthermore, there are considerable numbers of Hungarian speakers outside Europe, primarily in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, 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 in Hungary.
     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 general 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 to which for instance Finnish and Estonian belong, also to the Samí branch, and they all share morphological agglutination and vowel harmony as prominent features. Some people believe that Hungarian is related to Turkish, although the latter is an Altaic language. Though possible links were explored in the past, these days most linguists do not believe that there is any genealogical relationship between Uralic and Altaic languages (even though they, too, have agglutination and vowel harmony).
     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 the Orkhon Script used for Old Turkic in Central 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 ALL languages and dialects are beautiful, precious gifts. So cherish yours and others! Share them with the world!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 this translation).
     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. It 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.

Genealogy: Uralic > Finno-Ugric > Ugric

    Click to open the translation: [Click]Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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