English and Hungarian (UNI)

This is my university essay for Academic Writing

English and Hungarian belong to different language families, so it’s obvious that they have a lot of distinctions. The main differences (apart from vocabulary, of course) are connected with verb forms, a place of prepositions and harmony of vowels.

The first point is verb forms. Hungarian has a proper verb ending for every person, which is absent in English. Another thing is a specific object verb conjugation. It’s used when we are operating with a well-known, concrete thing, i.e. “írja a levelet” — “he writes the letter”.

The second point is a place of prepositions. In English prepositions are separated from words and go before them, but in Hungarian prepositions are added to the end of a word which they correspond with. So do possessive pronouns too, i.e. “barátnőm” — “my friend”, “a térre” — “to the square”, “polcon” — “on a shelf”. Sometimes endings can consolidate to avoid creating very long words.

The third point is harmony of vowels, which is very important in Hungarian language and which doesn’t exist in English language. Every ending (a plural form, a possessive pronoun, a preposition etc.) has two or more forms with vowel type accorded to the vowel type in a word. Words with back vowels (a, á, u, ú, o, ó) has back vowels in endings, i.e. “tollak”  — “pens”, and words with front vowels (e, é, i, í etc.) has front vowels in  endings (“Péterhez” — “to Peter”, “jövök” — “I come”).

So, as we have seen, Hungarian language is pretty different from English.