Hungarian 101

Hungarian is written using a variant of the Latin alphabet, and has a phonemic orthography, i.e. pronunciation can generally be predicted from the written language. In addition to the standard letters of the Latin alphabet, Hungarian uses several additional letters. These include letters with acute accents (á,é,í,ó,ú) which represent long vowels, with umlauts (ö and ü) and their long counterparts ő and ű. Sometimes ô or õ is used for ő and û for ű, due to the limitations of the Latin-1 / ISO-8859-1 codepage, though these are not part of the Hungarian language. Hungarian can be properly represented with the Latin-2 / ISO-8859-2 codepage, but this codepage is not always available. (Hungarian is the only language using both ő and ű.) Of course, Unicode includes them, and they therefore can be used on the Internet.

Single R's are tapped, like the Spanish "pero"; Double R's and initial R's are trilled, like the Spanish "perro".

Hungarian distinguishes between long and short vowels, where the long vowels are written with acutes, and between long consonants and short consonants, where the long consonants are written double.

Usually a trigraph is a double digraph, but there are a few exceptions: tizennyolc "eighteen" is tizen + nyolc. There are doubling minimal pairs: tol (push) vs. toll (feather).

While it seems unusual to English speakers at first, once one learns the new orthography and pronunciations, written Hungarian is nearly totally phonemic.

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