Hungarian/Lesson 2

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Lessons: 1234Vocab

So, now it's time to begin learning some Hungarian words. As in elementary school, let's begin with numbers. After that, you'll get an insight into the basics of question forms.

For the first time, you'll have some short exercises to solve at the end of the lesson. Don't skip them, even if you feel quite sure of yourself.

Words part 1

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Cardinal numbers

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Number Hungarian meaning
0 nulla
1 egy (About this sound listen )
2 kettő (About this sound listen )
3 három (About this sound listen )
4 négy (About this sound listen )
5 öt (About this sound listen )
6 hat (About this sound listen )
7 hét (About this sound listen )
8 nyolc (About this sound listen )
9 kilenc (About this sound listen )
10 tíz (About this sound listen )
11 tizenegy (About this sound listen )
12 tizenkettő (About this sound listen )
20 húsz (About this sound listen )
30 harminc (About this sound listen )
40 negyven (About this sound listen )
50 ötven (About this sound listen )
60 hatvan (About this sound listen )
70 hetven (About this sound listen )
80 nyolcvan (About this sound listen )
90 kilencven (About this sound listen )
100 száz (About this sound listen )
1000 ezer (About this sound listen )
2000 kétezer (About this sound listen )
1 000 000 millió (About this sound listen )

Beyond ten you say individual numbers by saying the tens, and then the ones (just like in English, i.e. forty-four = "negyvennégy"). However, there are some cases when you connect the two words with a en or on (in case of 10 - tizen, 20 - huszon (note, that the long vowels in tíz and húsz have been shortened in these cases!), so 24 would be huszonnégy, but 34 would be harmincnégy ). After hundred the rules are the same, but the exception does not apply. Just like in English, numbers are grouped by thousands (i.e. 635 000 - hatszázharmincötezer, but 265 238- kétszázhatvanötezer-kétszázharmincnyolc), but in Hungarian you say száz (hundred) only in numbers which are less than 1000 (so for instance you never say for 1600: tizenhatszáz, but ezerhatszáz instead).

Maybe you didn't even realize that your first meeting with vowel harmony in practice has occurred: -van, -ven suffixes are no longer used in Hungarian, but they can still be observed in the words you see in the chart. As négy, öt, hét and kilenc are front words, they were suffixed with the front affix (-ven), while hat and nyolc are back words, so they were suffixed with the back affix (-van).


  • In phrases numbers always stand before the noun, adverb.
  • The nouns, adverbs are always singular after a number in Hungarian. Never use plural! e.g. két fiú ("two boys"), száz fa ("one hundred trees")
  • In writing Hungarians use comma instead of decimal point. In a large number leave space when a comma is used in English.
Hungarian English
15 342 15,342
15,342 15.342

Ordinal numbers

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Number Hungarian meaning
1st Első
2nd Második
3rd Harmadik
4th Negyedik
5th Ötödik
6th Hatodik
7th Hetedik
8th Nyolcadik
9th Kilencedik
10th Tizedik
11th Tizenegyedik
12th Tizenkettedik
21st Huszonegyedik

As you can see, Hungarian forms ordinal numbers with adding the suffix -dik. The formation of first (első) and second (második) is irregular, but irregularity disappears in larger numbers: you can't say *huszonelső (twenty-first literally) but huszonegyedik (*twenty-oneth literally) for 21.


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The number gets an -ad, -ed or -öd ending everytime, depending on its vowels. e.g. ötöd harmincad tized. Ketted and harmad are a bit different, because it's more simple to say harmad but háromad. Note: you can say half as ketted, but Hungarians use fél in everyday life, ketted on Maths lesson. Another question: how to say 1,43? Simply: egy egész negyvenhárom század. After the integer number, put the word egész (it means whole) and then say the fraction. e.g. négy egész hét század (4,07), nulla egész négy tized (0,4) In the form 3/4 Hungarians say három negyed.

Words for everyday life

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And now, for easier learning here are some sentences you might find useful (and also their meaning). You don't have to memorize them, just have a look at them to grab the feeling of the Hungarian language. Try to pronounce these sentences and find out which word means what (before looking at the solution):

Jó napot (kívánok)! (About this sound listen ) - (I wish you a)Good day (you should already know this one)

  • Hány óra van? : What time is it?
  • Hány óra? : shorter form.
    • Hány : how much.
    • óra : clock.
    • van : is.

Hold on for a minute! In Hungarian, there is a big difference of telling time from the English form. I.e. "(It's) half past three" means fél négy (van), which literally means half of four (fél-half, négy-four). So in Hungarian you tell the fraction of the next hour (i.e. quarter to seven - háromnegyed hét, half past two - fél három, quarter past eight - negyed kilenc, ten o'clock - tíz óra), and the remaining or already passed minutes are told relatively to these four orientation points (five past eight - öt perccel múlt nyolc, six to eleven - hat perc múlva tizenegy or there are more complicated ways like négy perccel múlt fél kettő literally means four past half to two). The Hungarian language also uses special expressions for the day's two turning point: dél (note, that this word means South as well) - noon and éjfél - midnight (but with these two words don't use the half past- and the quarter past/to-like expressions, instead say just fél tizenkettő, and not fél dél and so on).

  • Hogy vagy? - How do you do?/How are you?
    • Hogy-how,
    • vagy-you are

Note: Only said to people who we address by "te"

Hol van a(z) ... utca? (to use a or az depends on whether the next word begins with a consonant or a vowel respectively) - Where is the ... street? (literally the same)

  • Segítene (nekem), kérem? - Could you help (me), please?
    • Segítene - could you help.
    • nekem - for me
    • kérem - please


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Hungarian, as every language have a lot of query words. The most frequently used are listed here (note the usage differences in the given examples):

  • Ki? - Who?
    • Ki ez? - Who is she/he?
    • Kit? - Whom?
      • Kit keresel? - Who are you looking for? . For whom are you looking?
    • Kivel? - With whom?
  • Mi? - What?
    • Mi a problémád? - What is your problem?
    • Mit? - What?
      • Mit akarsz tőlem? - What do you want from me?
    • Mivel? - With what?
    • Mikor? - When?
    • Mióta? - Since when?
    • Meddig?/Míg? - Till when?
    • Merre? - Which way?
    • Miért? - Why?
  • Mennyi?/Hány? - How much?/How many?
    • Hány alma van az asztalon? - How many apples are on the table?
    • Mennyit?/Hányat? - How much?/How Many?
    • Hányat szeretnél venni? - How many do you want to buy?
  • Hol? - Where?
  • Hogyan? - How?


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Simple sentences

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-Hány éves vagy? -How old are you?
-Huszonkettő. -22.


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Using your knowledge of the Hungarian letters, try to pronounce (and memorise) the following Hungarian words, then listen to the audio file to check yourself:

süt (bake)      hűt (cool)      ül (sit)
köd (fog)	föld (ground)	öröm (pleasure)
hit (faith)	híd (bridge)	írni (to write)
hát (back)	kád (bath-tub)	sál (scarf)
vér (blood)	négy (four)	kérdez (ask)

About this sound Check your pronunciation


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How do you say the following numbers in Hungarian? 11, 18, 23, 76, 391, 1614

(For the solutions see the Exercises section of the next chapter.)

Lessons: 1234Vocab