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Hungarian OR Finnish - please help!

 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
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Serpent
Octoglot
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Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 41 of 64
13 January 2008 at 10:33am | IP Logged 
Thanks, Wilma. I'm a native speaker of Russian and I didn't know the meaning of krugovaja poruka (the spelling is correct btw).
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ruffy
Diglot
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 Message 42 of 64
04 March 2008 at 7:23am | IP Logged 
PolyglotNZ wrote:


The Hungarian cases are:

Nominative - ház (house)
Dative - háznak (to (a) house)
Accusative - házat (house)
Inessive - házban (in (a) house)
Elative - házból (from (a) house)
Illative - házba (to (a) house)
Adessive - háznál (at (a) house)
Ablative - háztól (from (a) house)
Allative - házhoz (toward (a) house)
Sublative - házra (onto (a) house)
Superlative - házon (on (a) house)
Delative - házról (off (a) house)
Instrumental - házzal (with (a) house)
Translative - ház ((turning) into (a) house)
Causal-final - házért (for the purpose of (a) house)
Essive-formal - házként (as (a) house)
Terminative - házig (up to (a) house)
Distributive - házanként (per house)
Sociative - házastul ((together) with (a) house)

Plus essive-modal, temporal, distributive-temporal, sociative and locative which are less productive.

Cheers!


Wow! I hadn't realised how many cases were involved in the Hungarian language! This has certainly got me at least curious about learning the language! I think I'll have to add this to my 'to do' list! There is something about the use of cases that makes a language much more neat than having to interject a variety of prepositions to get one's meaning across. To me Latin has always had a certain neatness about it because of this, however the number of cases in Hungarian is much greater compared to Latin. What can I say? I'm a sucker for cases! :)

Thanks for the info.

AJ
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Cisa
Super Polyglot
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 Message 43 of 64
04 March 2008 at 10:17am | IP Logged 
Go for Hungarian, of course! :p

Oh, no, no campaign, but I think you should decide which culture/territory are you more attached to. If you choose Finnish, you´ll probably get more familiar with Northern Europe, if Hungarian, then you´ll get nearer to Central-Eastern Europe.

By the way, Hungarian has really many Slavic and Indo-Iranian, Turkish, German and Latin loanwords. And yes, prepare for grammar, but pronunciation is really easy, and if I don´t take into account some special cases and linguistical definitions, then yes, we can say the alphabet is phonetic. Speakers are helpful and encouraging if you try speaking. Speaking Hungarian won´t help you to understand Finnish or Estnian, neither I can´t understand a word of Finnish... However, as far as I´m concerned, the Finnish can understand Estonian and vica versa.

What more to say... hm. Oh, and we can sound both romantic and dark, sometimes you can find Hungarian actors playing vampires... ;)

But if you choose Finnish, you make a choice as good as this one. Both are very unique and intersting languages, with friendly speakers and nice culture. :)

Good luck!!! :)

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Camambert
Triglot
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 Message 44 of 64
05 December 2008 at 3:35pm | IP Logged 
Isn't there anybody that speaks/learns both languages to share some experience? :-)

I have the same problem actually. I've read a lot about the languages, the countries and the cultures. Hungary seems to have a richer culture and literature and the hungarians are thought to be much more frank and talkative. On the other hand it is much more influenced by indo-european languages what makes it less exotic. The finnish language sounds better to me and I like the fact of its regularity. So still don't know what to do :)
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Masked Avenger
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 Message 45 of 64
05 December 2008 at 9:57pm | IP Logged 
Camambert wrote:
Isn't there anybody that speaks/learns both languages to share some experience? :-)

I have the same problem actually. I've read a lot about the languages, the countries and the cultures. Hungary seems to have a richer culture and literature and the hungarians are thought to be much more frank and talkative. On the other hand it is much more influenced by indo-european languages what makes it less exotic. The finnish language sounds better to me and I like the fact of its regularity. So still don't know what to do :)


I strongly disagree with your statement that Hungarian is more influenced by indo-european languages than Finnish. If anything, it is Finnish that can claim as much, because it has been surrounded by Germanic, Slavic and Baltic people for thousands of years with little to no influence from other language families (Estonian is a not too distant offshoot of Finnish and Lapp has had little influence) to the point than there remains only a hundred or so base words that are purely Finnish.

Hungary is located in the middle of Europe, yes that had an impact, but one can not underestimate the influence of Turkish during the long Ottoman occupation and that had a signiicant influence on Hungarian.
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Chung
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 Message 46 of 64
05 December 2008 at 10:47pm | IP Logged 
Camambert wrote:
Isn't there anybody that speaks/learns both languages to share some experience? :-)

I have the same problem actually. I've read a lot about the languages, the countries and the cultures. Hungary seems to have a richer culture and literature and the hungarians are thought to be much more frank and talkative. On the other hand it is much more influenced by indo-european languages what makes it less exotic. The finnish language sounds better to me and I like the fact of its regularity. So still don't know what to do :)


I don't speak Finnish, but I do speak some Hungarian and am learning Estonian which is similar to Finnish.

It's hard to judge whether Hungary has a richer culture and literature than Finland. I think that one factor that gives the impression that Hungarian culture (includes literature) is richer than Finland's is that the Hungarian Kingdom was independent for several centuries (or at least enjoyed some autonomy even when under Austrian control) and at a crossroads in Europe. Therefore Hungarians got more exposure to outsiders and outsiders had a greater chance at acquainting themselves (but not always thoroughly) with Hungarian culture. The Finns however were relatively isolated in Scandinavia and were occupied for several centuries by the Swedes and then for a century by the Russians. Therefore any hints of a distinct Finnish culture or literature were kept at a relatively low profile by the Finns in order not to alarm the authorities who were vigilant for any internal challenge to their hegemony. However, I have heard of the stereotype that Hungarians are more jovial but direct than Finns who suffer from a stereotype of being a quiet, independent but hard-drinking people.

When it comes to sounds, Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian sound fairly similar to me. When I first visited Estonia, I told my friend there that Estonian sounded somewhat like Hungarian with all of the wrong words (Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian all fix the stress on the first syllable - thus the rhythm of what I heard in Estonian sounded similar to Hungarian regardless of the differences in vocabulary and grammar). However, judgments on which language sounds "better" are purely a matter of taste and say little about a given language's intrinsic worth.

On regularity, I would say that Hungarian is more regular than Estonian (and from what I can deduce, Finnish too). One thing that you may be overlooking is that Estonian and Finnish have gradation. This means that when declining nouns and adjectives or conjugating verbs, sounds start to change or drop altogether when going from one case to the next or one tense to the next. Moreover the changes in stems caused by gradation aren't that regular or predictable and you come to grips with them after lots of practice. There's no rhyme or reason for the effects of gradation unless you also make a detailed study of historic phonology in Balto-Finnic languages and start to substitute ancient antecedents for their contemporary counterparts. In contrast, Hungarian doesn't have such gradation.

If you want to see some comments on the effect of gradation in Estonian and the difficulty it can present to foreigners, look at the profile on Estonian in the "Collaborative Writing" section of this forum (the link to the profile is below).

http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?T ID=12437&PN=1

Like Masked Avenger, I also have doubts about the degree of influence on Hungarian by Indo-European languages when compared to that same influence on Finnish. According to Hungarian linguists, about 30% of the vocabulary appears to have no cognates in other languages, 21% has cognates in Finno-Ugric languages (e.g. Finnish, Lappish, Komi, Mansi), 20% consists of loanwords from Slavonic languages, while the remaining stock (approx. 30%) consists mainly of loanwords from Germanic, Turkic, Romance or classical languages (i.e. Ancient Greek and Latin). More to the point, while Slavonic languages are Indo-European, for people who speak only Romance or Germanic languages (e.g. most Western Europeans), Slavonic languages are still fairly "exotic" for them and it's unlikely that the presence of so many Slavonic loanwords make Hungarian that much more accessible. In other words, about 70% of Hungarian vocabulary wouldn't be transparent to a beginning student of Hungarian who knows only Romance or Germanic languages.

On the other hand, Finnish (and Estonian) have been noticeably influenced by Germanic languages and linguists hypothesize that this Germanic influence began before the ancestors of the Estonians and Finns were speaking separate languages (i.e. during the Proto-Balto-Finnic period). The Swedish occupation of the Finns and Estonians from the Middle Ages to the Age of Enlightenment also reinforced the Germanic influence on Estonian and Finnish. Therefore the assertion that Hungarian displays a stronger and more visible Indo-European influence than Finnish does is at best difficult to demonstrate.

Here's a link to an article and list that deals with Indo-European loanwords in Finnish.

http://koti.welho.com/jschalin/

In any case you can't truly go wrong with Finnish over Hungarian or vice-versa. Just pick what interests you most and run with it.
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Kuunhalme
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 Message 47 of 64
06 December 2008 at 7:16am | IP Logged 
Chung gave a very informative and thorough response, thank you for that. From the grammatical point of view, Hungarian indeed is more regular than Finnish or Estonian, but it might have less Indo-European loan words than Finnish. I'd like to point out, however, that often it might be hard to notice that a Finnish word indeed is a Germanic loan word. When I browse my etymological dictionary, I often come upon words which to my great surprise turn out to be Germanic loan words. In many cases, they have been borrowed a long time ago.

Just as Chung said, pick the language that interests you most or choose the culture that interests you more. The Hungarians have a more glorious history, whereas our Finnish-language culture has nothing significant to show before the 19th century. But if you dislike a nervous and hectic life style and prefer peace and quiet – choose the Finns.
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Camambert
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 Message 48 of 64
22 December 2008 at 2:49pm | IP Logged 
Wow! Such interesting responses! Thank you all, friends!

Masked Avenger wrote:
I strongly disagree with your statement that Hungarian is more influenced by indo-european languages than Finnish.


Péter Hajdú in his book "The Uralic folks and languages" writes, that in general the Finnish language is to a lesser extent influenced by Indo-Eropean languages as compared to other Finno-Ugric languages (for example Hungarian) due to puristic movement has been taken effect from the XIX century until nowadays and promoted creation of finnish equivalents of previously borrowed words.

Masked Avenger wrote:
Hungary is located in the middle of Europe, yes that had an impact, but one can not underestimate the influence of Turkish during the long Ottoman occupation and that had a signiicant influence on Hungarian.


Yep, infuence of another language family just makes the language less "Finno-Ugric".

Chung wrote:
When it comes to sounds, Estonian, Finnish and Hungarian sound fairly similar to me.


Leopejo shared with me the idea that another distinctive feature of Finnish is there are voiceless consonants only with "v" being the exception. I agree with this and could admit that Finnish sounds even more like Swedish than Hungarian, while the latter seems something between slavic languages and Turkish.

Chung wrote:
In any case you can't truly go wrong with Finnish over Hungarian or vice-versa. Just pick what interests you most and run with it.


Kuunhalme wrote:
Just as Chung said, pick the language that interests you most or choose the culture that interests you more.


The point is that if I and foram knew, which language/country/culture was more attractive, this thread wouldn't ever exist :-) As for me, I want to know other people's ideas and opinions in hope to make up my mind, cause otherwise, I guess, I will give up and choose none of the languages. I spent like 3 weeks reading and asking about the topic, but as I obtained more information, it was getting just harder to make a decision.

Finno-Ugric languages are damned fascinating, but... Which to choose :'(


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