As I am sure you have noticed, Hungarian is a language that
uses additional endings to convey meaning, rather than additional words.
those of my hats, accusative
kalap + jai + m + é + i + t
hat + plural possession + 1st person + that of hat + plural + object
hat ... his hats
... my hats ... that of my hats ... those of my hats .... (object)
When a word, or a word with an ending, ends in a vowel,
the vowel may be lengthened when it has an (additional) ending added to it.
The vowels which display this most are a and e.
-m my -
apa + m = apám my father
körte + t = körtét pear (object)
As you will see in the nouns section, different cases will often require a vowel
between a consonant-final stem and an ending.
The usual endings a -o- for back-vowel words
and -e- or -ö- for short and long front-vowel words respectively.
But low vowel words will always take -a- (back) or -e- (front).
Such words are usually flagged as such in the dictionary.
A good example is ház, which would normally (according the the regular rules)
take -o- to make házom, házot, etc,
but in fact it takes
-a- to make házam, házat.
A fleeting vowel is one that gets squeezed out when endings are applied. An examle is
eper. Normally the accusative
would make this eperet, but the second e is ejected
toi make epr
et. This is a fleeting vowel.
This is a subtle different but it's very important. It can totally change the
meaning of the sentence.
én láttam a házat. I saw the house.
én láttam a házát. I saw his house.
The formation of the former is
ház + at = házat. (the) house (object).
The formation of the latter is
ház + a = háza. his house.
háza + t = házát. his house (object).