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Learn the Hungarian Alphabet from A to Z!

Learning to speak a new language is exciting; learning to write a new language is even more exciting! It will open new worlds for you. So, dig into these tips and advice for learning how to master the Hungarian alphabet easily - at HungarianPod101 we make it easy, fun and relevant for you!

Starting anything from scratch can be challenging, especially if you learn how to write in a language completely different from your own. It is really like navigating through a territory that is completely unknown to you.

However, this need not be a big hurdle or a problem! At HungarianPod101, we introduce you to Hungarian writing in simple, easy-to-follow steps, and you can ask for advice or help anywhere along the way. It is important to master the Hungarian alphabet completely from the start.

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Introduction to Hungarian Writing

Introduction

Hungarian used to have its own writing system called Old Hungarian script, but only a very few amount of text remained. Instead, Hungarians adopted the Latin alphabet very early, around the eleventh century. What we call the Hungarian alphabet today, is actually the Latin basis extended to conform to the characteristics of the Hungarian language.

Alphabet

When learning the Hungarian alphabet, the good news is that it is mostly phonetic—that is, once you learn which letter corresponds to which sounds you’re pretty much done, you can read Hungarian decently. Apart from a few traditional forms and exceptions, this rule stands.

The alphabet has 40 or 44 letters, depending on whether you include Q, W, X and Y, which appear rarely and only in names and foreign words.

Using the greater alphabet here, Hungarian has 30 consonants. Prospective students should will be happy to know that there are no little squiggly marks or any other weird symbols that human imagination can conjure up—but you will have to learn what the combination of two consonant letters represent. Here is the list of all the consonants in the order they appear in the alphabet: b, c, cs, d, dz, dzs, f, g, gy, h, j, k, l, ly, m, n, ny, p, q, r, s, sz, t, ty, v, w, x, y, z, zs.

The vowels are a bit more challenging, what makes them easier is that they come in pairs of short-long sounds (or at least this is how they are taught). The seven pairs are:

a-á, e-é, i-í, o-ó, ö-ő, u-ú, ü-ű

Some of these might look bewildering at first, especially ű, which is the arch-enemy of all the world processing softwares even today. But really, once you learn the first one of the pair, the short vowel, forming the longer version is easy—with the exception of a-á and e-é, where the difference is not in length, but equally straightforward.

The layout of a Hungarian keyboard is very similar to the English one, but instead of being QWERTY it is QWERTZ (the German type). Other than z and y trading places, everything is at the same position. The specifically Hungarian vowel letters can be found on the right side while í like to wonder around the left side of the keyboard. Using the Hungarian keyboard to type English is very easy, except for the infuriating reflex of hitting z every time you want to write y.

If you’d like to follow along with the audio, the full alphabet in order is:

A,  Á,  B,  C,  Cs,  D,  Dz,  Dzs,  E,  É,  F,  G,  Gy,  H,  I,  Í,  J,  K,  L,  Ly,  M,  N,  Ny,  O,  Ó,  Ö,  Ő,  P,  Q,  R,  S,  Sz,  T,  Ty,  U,  Ú,  Ü,  Ű,  V,  W,  X,  Y,  Z,  Zs.

Hungarian Alphabet Chart

Alphabet

The people of Hungary have an extended alphabet. The Hungarian alphabet contains 44 letters. No fewer than four versions of the letter “O” are found in the Hungarian alphabet, and there are several combined letters including Dz, Dzs, Gy, Ly, Ny, Sz, Ty, and Zs . The Hungarian alphabet is derived from the Latin alphabet. The Hungarian language itself is derived from Latin. You might hear of the smaller and greater Hungarian alphabets, which depend on whether the letters Q, W, X, and Y are listed; these letters are found only in foreign words and in traditional names.

The Hungarian Alphabet

Upper case Lower case Sample word Sounds like
A a alma first o in “obvious”
Á á ág a in “father”
B b bokor b in “bed”
C c cica ts in “hats”
CS cs csók ch in “chill”
D d darál d in “dance”
DZ dz edző ds in “heads”
DZS dzs dzseki dg in “hedge”
E e egy e in “bed”
É é négy e in “hey”
F f fodor f in “fish”
G g gaz g in “give”
GY gy gyalog d in “dew”, when pronounced with British accent
H h határ h in “hat”
I i lift i in “pit”
Í í híd ee in “need”
J j jég y in “yogurt”
K k kastély c in “come”
L l leány l in “lend”
LY ly hely y in “yogurt”
M m mag m in “more”
N n nap n in “neck”
NY ny nyak similar to “ny” in canyon
O o hol o in “boy”
Ó ó o in “more”
Ö ö föl similar to German ö
Ő ő similar but longer variant of German ö
P p pörkölt p in “pot”
Q q Aquincum q in “cheque”
R r rajz rolled ‘r’
S s sarok sh in “ship”
SZ sz szám s in “sail”
T t táska t in “top”
TY ty tyúk similar to the t and the y combined from “hit you”
U u Hun oo in “oops”
Ú ú út oo in “cool”
Ü ü süt similar to German ü
Ű ű similar but longer variant of German ü
V v vad v in “very”
W w vécé (Hungarian pronunciation of WC) v in “vacuum”
X x Alexandra x in “extra”
Y y Báthory y in “synth”
Z z zongora z from “zoo”
ZS zs zsiráf s in “pleasure”

Hungarian is an Ugric language which has been spoken since the late 9th century. Before this, people in Hungary spoke Uralic words that dated back to the Neolithic era. Old Hungarian script displaying the beginnings of the Hungarian alphabet came into use around the 10th century, and the oldest surviving coherent text in Hungarian is a funeral sermon and prayer that dates back to 1192.

The Latin language was the official language of Hungary between the 11th and 15th centuries, being primarily used to write religious texts and literary works, but in some cases, letters from the Hungarian alphabet were fitted into Latin documents in order to prevent disputes.

Students who learn Hungarian as a second language are inevitably pleased to find that Hungarian is for the most part a phonetic language. This means that Hungarian words are read and sound just they are spelt. Once you learn how to pronounce and use the additional letters in the alphabet, you’ll find pronunciation and spelling is easier to learn than with some other languages. Those who learn Hungarian by listening find learning Hungarian writing later on surprisingly simple.

Like English, the appearance of two letters at the same time can indicate a change in pronunciation, but you will need to learn to watch for the letters that combine two characters, for example Zs or Sz. In your Hungarian lessons you will learn that there are only a few variants of these occurrences, and thanks to the extra letters, learning speeds up as you go. With only a little bit of practice, you will have few problems picking up on any irregularities.

Hungarian letters use an accent system that looks complicated at first, but which, once you learn it, makes understanding new words a breeze. As you will see, a certain indication on a specific word means that pronunciation should be affected in a different way. Hungarian accents can seem quite complicated when you first begin learning, but once you have a good grip on the subject it really is easy to understand. You’ll pick it up in no time!

Why is Learning the Hungarian Alphabet Important?

AlphabetA language’s alphabet is its building blocks. Trying to learn how to write in Hungarian without first learning its alphabet is a bit like trying to build a brick house without touching the individual bricks! It is impossible to do a good job that way. So don’t believe language schools and methods that try to teach you otherwise. You will regret it later.

Also, once you start recognizing symbols and words, you will be encouraged by your own progress and motivated to learn even faster. Even just learning the basics of the alphabet will allow you to start recognizing simple Hungarian words, and it will feel great!

Furthermore, knowing the alphabet even helps with pronunciation, as learning the individual letters of any language will start uncovering nuances and intricacies that are not always apparent when you’re simply listening to the words.

Completely mastering the Hungarian alphabet, no matter how long it takes, will give you an excellent head start in learning how to write and read the language. It will offer you a solid foundation on which to build the other language skills, so set a goal to learn the alphabet so well that you’re able to recite it in your sleep!

Read on for helpful tips and secrets to learning the Hungarian alphabet quickly and effectively.

How to Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Hungarian

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You need physical worksheets to practice on.

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3 Reasons to Learn Hungarian Through PDF Lessons

Let’s now take a closer look at how studying Hungarian lessons in PDF format can help you reach your dream in up to half the time of normal video or audio lessons!

① Saves Minutes on Your Data Plan

Learning Hungarian through PDF lessons can dramatically reduce your data use. Once a lesson or tool is downloaded, you can then access it offline via your computer or smartphone any time or place regardless of Internet access. And once you’ve download the Hungarian lessons in PDF format, you can actually access them faster than logging in and trying to do so via a live site. So not only will learning Hungarian using PDF lessons save minutes on your data plan—it will save you some significant time as well as the lessons add up!

② Print and Take All Hungarian Lessons and PDF Tools With You Anywhere

Sometimes, a tiny smartphone screen just isn’t adequate, especially when you are trying to learn something new. The great thing about PDF lessons, tools or files is that they can be quickly printed and taken anywhere after you download them. In fact, printing out Hungarian lessons in PDF format can actually save you time when compared to going through the material on a smartphone with a small screen—even with the extra printing time!

③ Great Study Tool to Boost Retention and Mastery

Studying video or audio lessons online is a great way to learn a language because students can play and rewind sections as many times as needed until the lesson is mastered. But when you review the same Hungarian lessons again in PDF format, an incredible thing happens: your retention dramatically improves! Thanks to Time Spaced Repetition, seeing the information again in written format helps reinforce the information in your mind and improves both retention and recall. The benefits of learning Hungarian using PDF lessons quickly add up to significant time savings for you, your data plan, and your dream of learning a new language!

Why are we giving it away?

Learning to read and write is a must for all beginners. Although you get video lessons on how to write in Hungarian at HungarianPod101, you’ll still need physical worksheets to practice on. That’s why you’re getting this printable tutorial PDFs as a gift.

Secrets to Learning the Hungarian Alphabet Fast

SecretWith a language, like with anything you have to learn from scratch, having a few mnemonic devices handy are key to learning it fast. A mnemonic device is basically any method or technique that helps you to retain or commit something to memory more easily.

Here are a few mnemonic devices to memorize the Hungarian alphabet so you can speed up learning how to write in Hungarian.

① Find and Learn an Alphabet Song or Poem in Hungarian

Can you still remember your childhood alphabet song in your own language? The best way to commit it to memory so you can recite it is still your mom or first teacher’s way - with music, a song and/or a poem! Find a recording and learn to sing the song, or recite the poem along as best as you can. Ask your HungarianPod101 teacher to help you understand exactly what you are singing or saying, and soon you’ll have reciting the alphabet under your belt! Repeat it out loud as often as possible.

However, you still need to learn how to write it.

② Study a Few Letters At a Time

Remember when you were young and learning to write for the first time? You didn’t start with words or sentences; you started with letters, one at a time!

Decide on tackling only a few letters each week, and then don’t move on from these till you are completely familiar with them. Don’t take on too many at once, or you may become discouraged. Also, remember to ask your teacher at HungarianPod101 if you have questions!

Learn to incidentally spot the letters in books, road signs (If you’re living in the country), magazines, on TV, anywhere you encounter written Hungarian. Remember to write them out!

③ Write Out the Letters of the Alphabet By Hand

Make it a goal to write out your week’s letters at least once a day, and commit to this goal. You can also do it every time you have a free moment. Get yourself a special notebook for this purpose that you can carry with you anywhere you go. Sitting on the train or bus? Waiting for someone somewhere? Whip out your notebook and write the Hungarian alphabet, or the letters you are learning. Aim for about 20 repetitions, while silently saying the letter in your head as you write it out. This way, you will soon be able to form and write words all by yourself! Exciting, isn’t it?

Writing something down with a pen also seems to engrave it in the brain in a way that nothing else does. As an added benefit, it gives you the satisfaction of seeing a new language in your own writing!

Once you’ve mastered the whole alphabet, commit to writing it out in its entirety at least once a day, for at least one month. More repetitions are obviously better.

④ Involve Your Whole Body

Research has shown that the more senses and actions we use to learn something, the quicker the new information sticks in the memory and becomes habitual. To apply this principle while learning the Hungarian alphabet, write out huge letters by tracing them in the soil, or with chalk on the floor. Now, while saying the letter out loud, walk on the lines you have just traced. In this way, you ‘write’ the letter by moving your whole body!

Having fun just makes it even easier to learn something, so why not ‘write’ the letters out with dance steps while moving to your favorite Hungarian music!

This is a simple trick that seems silly, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you will commit intricate letters to memory this way. It really works!

⑤ Use Associations To Memorize Letters

This technique would involve saying the Hungarian letter out loud, and then thinking of a word in your own language that sounds the same as the letter. That would then create a phonic association that should make it easier for you to remember the letter. Better even if the association is something you can draw or picture.

If the script of the new alphabet is very different from your own, look at it closely, and see if you can find an image that the letter reminds you of

⑥ Now Have Fun Trying To Write Words!

Try to write words from your own language in Hungarian, and ask your friendly HungarianPod101 teachers for feedback! Or post them on the forum and see if anyone can read them. You will be so pleased with yourself when you start writing words that are readable and recognizable by native speakers.

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Has anyone thanked you today? We will. Thank you for reading this article and learning with us! In fact, today, you’ll learn the many different ways to say “Thank You” in Hungarian. It’s one of the most important Hungarian phrases. Check it out and watch the video too to practice your pronunciation.

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