A reference guide to Hungarian grammar, designed with English-speakers in mind

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Reflexive pronouns in Hungarian


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Reflexive pronouns are simply pronouns that refer back to the speaker's self or to the self of the subject in disucssion. They're words like "myself" or "himself."

The basic word for self is maga. This then takes personal endings to make the following words:

  • magam myself
  • magad youself
  • maga himself/herself/itself
  • magunk ourselves
  • magatok yourselves
  • maguk themselves

Reflextion to self

When used reflexively, the words can take endings just like any other noun. (It behaves more like a noun than an pronoun in this respect). When used with a postposition it is uninflected.

Inflected examples

  • jól érzem magamat I feel well or more commonly: I'm having a good time.
  • jól érezte magát she had a good time. (irregular)

It takes the definite conjugation when used as a direct object. Note the use of the accusative in the above.

  • veszel magadnak új autót? are you buying for yourself a new car?. (dative)
  • magáról beszél he speaks about himself.

Postpostion examples

When used with postpositions it does not take endings.

  • magunk között beszéljünk let's talk amongst ourselves
  • maga mellé tette a kulcsodat he put his key next to himself

Emphasis

For emphasis one can use these pronouns instead of or next to the nominative pronouns.

  • magam megyek I myself am going
  • én magam megyek I myself am going
  • csak Áginak magának adom I'll give it only to Ági herself

Alone and own

This pronoun can also mean "alone":

  • maga lakik? does he live alone?
  • magam vagyok I am alone

In also means "own" (as in, ownership of an object). In this sense, it takes the possessive suffixes according to the owner, but the object itself only ever takes the third person possessive.   In these examples, note how the house or the car are always in third person, no matter whose it it.  The owner is shown by the endings on "maga".

  • a magam házában lakom I live in my own house
  • a magad autójában jössz? are you coming in your own car?
  • a magunk házában lakunk we live in our own house
  • a maguk autójában jönnek? are they coming in their own car?

Formal address

Hungarian has several forms of second person address, of varying levels of politeness. The polite form sees the second person becomes the third person, and the word "maga" is used for "you". It's a bit like "vous" in French.

Conjugations and possession then become third person.

  • (te) magyar vagy? are you Hungarian?
  • Maga magyar? are you Hungarian? (polite)
  • (te) magyarországra mész? are you going to Hungary?
  • Maga magyarországra megy? are you going to Hungary? (polite)

Another form of polite address uses "Ön" instead of "Maga" and is for official speech.


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