The key feature of plurals in Hungarian is -k.
Of course, according to vowel
harmony, we often apply a link vowel. These are: o,
e and ö.
We sometimes see a too, for [low-vowel] words.
The usual [lengthing] of -a and -e occurs.
- kar arm
- karok arms
- ember person
- emberek people
- sör beer
- sörök beers
- autó car
- autók cars. Note the attach the
-k directly, lengthening the -o.
- ház house
- házak houses (low vowel word)
One can see -k at work in the plural forms of pronouns.
For example, ő he becomes this
when made plural: ők they.
Similarly, neki for/to/of him becomes
plural as nekik for/to/of them.
Note that Hungarians have a different concept of plural than we do in English. It
is sufficient to use a qualitative or quantitive amount prefixing
a noun, and not have to put the noun into plural.
- kutya dog
- kutyák dogs. Note the -k.
- három kutya three dogs. Note that
kutya is singular!
- sok kutya many dogs. Note that kutya
See also the section on possession.
A shout to young Balazs Toth for this, for trying to catch me out at the salonna
sütés party :)
With the exception of possession, the plural ending is usually applied first, and
then the other regular noun endings.
- hal fish
- látok halat I see a fish
- látok halakat I see fishes
(one of those words that takes -a- as the link vowel)
- gyerek child
- gyerekek children
- mentem a gyerekekkel I went with the children
Note! When ownership of more than one item is shown, DO NOT apply the regular plural
It is WRONG to say: gyerek+ek+em my children
It is correct to say: gyerek+eim my children. See the section on
multiple object possession.
- sok many, much
- néhány a few
- kevés few
- (egy) kicsi (a) little
- több more
Látok sok embert I see many people.
N.B. it's not embereket.
In Hungarian the words in a phrase (N.B. in linguistics a phrase is not the same
as a sentence!) generally have to all agree. This is particularly true of
In the section on adjectives
we see how predicative and attributive adjectives behave differently.
As a quick introduction, we see
- a magyar lány szép the Hungarian girl is
- a magyar lányok szépek the
Hungarian girls are pretty
The point to note here is that the attibutive adjective (Magyar
Hungarian ) does not adjust, but the predicative one (szép pretty) does.
We can see that when we make the below sentence plural, there are a lot of changes!
- Ez a város nagyon szürke. This city is
- Ezek a városok nagyon szürkék. These cities are very grey.
- Ezek a városok, amelyekből elköltöztek,
nagyon szürkék. These cities, away from which they moved,
are very grey.
relative pronouns, and the