The Only Hungarian Pronunciation Guide You’ll Ever Need (2022)

Knowing how to correctly pronounce words when you learn to speak a new language is crucial for speaking it well. It is no different with Hungarian. At HungarianPod101, we put a lot of emphasis on teaching and demonstrating correct pronunciation, as it is our aim to help you to speak like a native after a while!

According to Dictionary.com, ‘pronunciation’ is: the act or result of producing the sounds of speech, including articulation, stress, and intonation, often with reference to some standard of correctness or acceptability.

Paying attention to your Hungarian pronunciation not your own essentially means you’re learning to ditch most of your foreign accent. This is very important if you want to be a successful communicator in any language. Getting Hungarian pronunciation right may seem like a daunting task at the onset, but it need not be!

Download Your FREE Guide to the Hungarian Alphabet!

If you want to master the Hungarian language and become fluent, you must learn the Hungarian alphabet letters first. And you need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Hungarian learning beginners!

The Only Hungarian Pronunciation Guide You’ll Ever Need (1)

Download your FREE Hungarian practice sheets PDF today and learn the Hungarian language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Related Lessons

Say Hello in Hungarian

Introduce Yourself

Hungarian Alphabet

Thank You in Hungarian

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Hungarian Pronunciation
  2. Why is Correct Pronunciation in Hungarian Important?
  3. Secrets to Learning the Correct Hungarian Pronunciation
  4. How to Download Your Free Hungarian eBook
  5. Related Lessons

(Video) This is How You'll perfect your Hungarian Pronunciation

1. Introduction to Hungarian Pronunciation

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The Only Hungarian Pronunciation Guide You’ll Ever Need (6)


Hungarian Pronunciation

As with any language, one of the building blocks to learning Hungarian pronunciation is being able to say its alphabet correctly and confidently. It takes repetition and persistence in addition to the proper knowledge. For starters, Hungarian has seven sets of vowel pairs, one long and short. They are as follows:

  • i, í
  • o, ó
  • ö, ő
  • u, ú
  • ü, ű
  • a, á
  • e, é

With the last two pairs, they are not technically long and short vowels, but they are generally treated as such in writing and by teachers. Regardless, each vowel has its own distinct pronunciation.

Many Hungarian consonants are familiar, but there are several which are unique such as the clusters ty and gy. These clusters are another aspect of learning Hungarian pronunciation that is sometimes confusing. Also called digraphs, one of the most commonly used clusters is sz. Now, this digraph is pronounced like the English “s,” while the s in Hungarian makes a “sh” sound. Other digraphs include:

  • zs (pronounced like the “s” in pleasure)
  • cs (pronounced like the “ch” in chock)
  • dz (pronounced like the “ds” in fads)
  • dzs (pronounced like the “dg” in edge)
  • ly (pronounced as the “y” in lay)

One of the fascinating aspects of Hungarian pronunciation is the existence of long and short consonants. Though rare, at times a speaker will have to lengthen the pronunciation of a consonant to distinguish in meaning one word from another. For example, the words kasza and kassza are very similar. You must double the “s” sound in the latter word, which means cash register, or your listeners might believe you’re saying the first word, which means sycthe.

With all these differences, it’s a relief to know that syllable stress is always the same. Without fail, the stress is placed on the first syllable. This is one of the easiest aspects to learn when pronouncing Hungarian.

Finally, vocal harmony is an important facet of proper Hungarian pronunciation. Vocal harmony means that any vowel in the suffix of a word (highly common in this language) is the same category as the vowel in the root word it’s attached to. There are two categories of vowels, determined by how your mouth physically forms and pronounces them. There are front vowels (e-é, i-í, ö-ő, ü-ű) and back vowels (a-á, o-ó, u-ú). Let’s use an example to make this concept easier. Take the word várunk, which means “we wait.” The first person plural suffix -unk is attached to the word vár. Since á is a back vowel, you must choose the back vowel form of the first person plural.

2. Why is Correct Pronunciation in Hungarian Important?

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The Only Hungarian Pronunciation Guide You’ll Ever Need (7)

Proper pronunciation is important, very important. Some say it’s even more important than getting the grammar perfectly correct! Why would this be?

1) Good Understanding

If communicating with native speakers matters to you when learning Hungarian, you need to be understood when you talk, and you need to be able to understand the native speakers. After all, without understanding, the purpose of language is null and void! In order to be understood, you need to be able to speak the language in a way that is familiar to native speakers, or at least recognizable by them.

When learning to speak a new language, you will learn that the more you progress the more intricate it becomes! For instance, almost every language has vocabulary that may look the same in writing, but because the words are pronounced differently, they have very different meanings. This means that you may say a word in Hungarian, and because of a slight change in pronunciation, the meaning of the word changes completely. Understandably, this can make for pretty embarrassing situations! At worst, your mispronounced Hungarian will sound garbled to a native speaker.

Knowing the nuances of how a word or letter is pronounced will also help you to understand spoken Hungarian better.

No worries if this feels hard; you’re learning, and with our help at HungarianPod101, you will not have a problem with mispronunciation if you follow our advice and examples carefully.

2) Good Communication

Not pronouncing Hungarian or any other language correctly can lead to a lot of frustration because you’re unable to express what you mean, and you will not be understood correctly. Even if you have total knowledge of Hungarian grammar, and can write it like a native, not knowing how to speak it properly will only make for very frustrating communication all around.

3) A Good Impression

Even if you’re only a beginner, it is possible to speak any language correctly. This way, you are bound to make a good impression on native speakers, and when you’re more fluent, you will be likely to garner a lot more respect than a fumbling newbie speaker who doesn’t care much for correct pronunciation.

People often have a lot of patience for someone who learns to speak a new language, but native speakers are more likely to address you and engage with you in conversation if you work hard on your accent. This is simply because you’ll be able to understand one another! So, proficiency in pronunciation can mean the difference between having none or plenty of Hungarian speaking friends. It will also serve you well in the workplace, and make you popular with your Hungarian speaking managers and employers or employees.

(Video) The sounds of the Hungarian alphabet

Learning to speak Hungarian properly is also a sign of respect for not only the language, but also the native speakers and their customs.

3. Secrets to Learning the Correct Hungarian Pronunciation

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The Only Hungarian Pronunciation Guide You’ll Ever Need (8)


1) Use voice recording tools to perfect your pronunciation

HungarianPod101 has plenty of resources to help you with your Hungarian pronunciation, so be sure to make thorough use of our recordings with native Hungarian speakers. These are available not only to demonstrate to you how you should pronounce Hungarian vocabulary, but also sentences and dialogues. Watch and listen to these over and over again to train your ear, and watch the teacher’s mouth as she speaks in the video lessons. Then, copy the speech as best you can. Later, you can record yourself to hear if you sound like a native speaker and compare yourself with native speakers. Great for self-motivation.

2) Practice in front of the mirror.

And see that you’re copying the correct lip and mouth movements.

3) Use our HungarianPod101 dictionary!

Use the Hungarian dictionary provided by HungarianPod101 to look up words and listen to the audio pronunciation. This will go a long way towards giving you an idea of how to pronounce a word or letter correctly.

4) Train your ear to the language!

Make an effort to often listen to Hungarian music and recorded books, and watch plenty of Hungarian movies and/or TV shows in Hungarian. This will train your ear to the language, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you pick up the accent. Remember, this is the way we learned to speak when we were young - mostly by listening to the adults talking, and repeating what they say!

5) Practice, practice, practice…

Repetition of the same thing may be boring, but in learning a new language, you’re creating new pathways in your brain. For these to remain and become habitual, you will need to repeat the correct pronunciation often.

6) Make friends with a native Hungarian speaker.

Don’t be shy to address them in Hungarian! Ask them to correct you when you make a pronunciation mistake - this is a wonderful way to practice and learn the language first-hand, and also to make new friends.

7) Practice your pronunciation with your Hungarian teacher!

If you’re a serious student and don’t know where to meet native Hungarian speakers, consider investing in HungarianPod101’s Premium PLUS plan. This means you will have your own native Hungarian teacher available to practice your pronunciation with, and much more! Send recordings of yourself speaking Hungarian and get feedback from your Hungarian teacher.

4. How to Download Your Free Guide to the Hungarian Alphabet

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Download Your FREE Guide to the Hungarian Alphabet!

If you want to master the Hungarian language and become fluent, you must learn the Hungarian alphabet letters first. And you need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Hungarian learning beginners!

The Only Hungarian Pronunciation Guide You’ll Ever Need (9)

Download your FREE Hungarian practice sheets PDF today and learn the Hungarian language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

(Video) Read Hungarian Fast and Easy with the Extensive Reading Learning Strategy

Log in with Your Free Lifetime Account and we’ll give you an instructional Hungarian PDF that covers the letters of the alphabet, practice worksheets, and a quiz to test yourself with… — absolutely FREE!

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 downloaded 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.

5. Related Lessons

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Do you know how to say hello in Hungarian? It’s the most basic phrase that you’ll need to say and hear in everyday life. If you don’t know yet, learn 15 ways to say hello and greet others in Hungarian. Why 15? The more variations you know, the more you can speak and the more fluent you become!

Can you introduce yourself in Hungarian? Don’t worry! Check out the 10 Hungarian Lines You Need To Introduce Yourself with this free Review Sheet. From “My name is…“ and “I live in…” down to “My hobbies are…” Just review the 10 lines. It will only take you 2 minutes. Then, introduce yourself in the comment section below!

Check It Out

(Video) Learn Hungarian in 20 Minutes - ALL the Basics You Need

Learn everything you need to know about the Hungarian alphabet. 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.

Learn the Hungarian Alphabet

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.

Check Out the Post

FAQs

What does Irgum Burgum mean? ›

Irgum-Burgum (interjection) – An Expression of Playful Anger, mostly Used with Children. We love irgum-burgum – it's such a nice and playful word! It's one of the so-called Hungarian interjections and is a word of simulated anger and one for an empty threat.

How is Z pronounced in Hungarian? ›

The digraph ch also exists in some words (technika, monarchia) and is pronounced the same as h. In names, however, it is pronounced like cs as well as like h or k (as in German) (see below).
...
Historic spellings used in names and historical documents.
Historic spellingPronounced like modern spelling
tzc
zc
chcs
czcs
47 more rows

How do you pronounce Hogy VAGY? ›

As such, magyar is pronounced moh-jar. This fact is important to know, though, because asking how someone is doing requires this sound twice: 'hogy vagy? ' – or hoh-juh vah-juh.

What is the hardest Hungarian word? ›

We have previously reported on the “Te tetted e tettetett tettet, te tettetett tettek tettese” tongue-twister, which conquered the world and inspired us to look for even more funny Hungarian tongue-twisters on the internet.

How do you say love in Hungary? ›

The word you are looking for if you want to say I love you in Hungarian is Szeretlek.

What is the longest Hungarian word? ›

Hungarian. Eltöredezettségmentesítőtleníttethetetlenségtelenítőtlenkedhetnétek, with 67 letters is the longest word in the Hungarian language and approximately means "you could defragmentation defragmenting impenetrability defragmentation".

Is Zoltan a common name in Hungary? ›

The name Zoltan is boy's name of Hungarian origin meaning "sultan". Though a common name in Hungary, the relatively rare Z sound is striking to English speakers.

Is Hungarian hard to learn? ›

Hungarian: One of the Most Difficult Language for Foreigners to Learn. Hungarian may be the most difficult language in the world for an English speaker to learn, for a variety of grammar, spelling, and pronunciation reasons.

Is the y silent in Hungarian? ›

Hungarian follows rules of "vowel harmony." Front vowels are: e, ö, and ü. Back vowels are a, o, and u.
...
A, a- aw as in law
G, g- g as in go
Gy, gy- dju in adjulation (djy)
J, j- y as in yes
Ly, ly- y as in yes (l is silent)
46 more rows

How do you pronounce Magyar in Hungarian? ›

How To Say Magyar - YouTube

How do you say Budapest in Budapest? ›

How to Pronounce Budapest? Hungary's Capital City Pronunciation

How do you say good morning how are you in Hungarian? ›

Jó reggelt/napot/estét

“Good morning/afternoon/evening” Hungarians use these expressions as formal ways of greeting at different times of day.

Is Polish harder than Hungarian? ›

Polish and Hungarian are recognized as some of the most difficult European languages to learn, based on their grammar, structure, and pronunciation. Moreover, according to the FSI (Foreign Service Institute), Hungarian is even more difficult to learn than Polish.

What race are Hungarians? ›

Ethnic Hungarians are a mix of the Finno-Ugric Magyars and various assimilated Turkic, Slavic, and Germanic peoples. A small percentage of the population is made up of ethnic minority groups. The largest of these is the Roma (Gypsies).

Are Finns and Hungarians genetically related? ›

Even the Finns' linguistic cousins — the Hungarians — are genetically Central European but linguistically trace their lineage to the Ural mountains. Discrepancies of this sort between the genetic and linguistic roots arise through migration, conquest, massive second language learning and language shift.

Are there pronouns in Hungarian? ›

The personal pronouns are used to supply the names of persons. They are: én, I; te, thou; ő, he or she; mi, we; ti, you; ők, they; and are declined as shown p. 34, Note.

Does Hungarian use the Cyrillic alphabet? ›

The Hungarian Cyrillic alphabet was mostly based on the Russian, Macedonian, Serbian and Azerbaijani Cyrillic alphabets, and is used for writing in the Hungarian language. Most of the digraphs used in the Hungarian Latin alphabet are replaced by single letters in Cyrillic, thereby making it more phonetic.

Is the Hungarian alphabet the same as English? ›

Another difference to English is that Hungarian letters can be written with one, two, or three characters. S and z written together, for example, stands for the sound s. Ly is pronounced the same as j, or pontos j (J with a dot), so we have two letters for the same sound.

Does Hungarian have W? ›

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.

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