hungarian noun phrase
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DESCRIPTIONHungarian Noun Phrase
Hungarian noun phrase 1
Hungarian noun phrase
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cs dz dzs gy ly ny sz ty zs
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v t e 
This page is about noun phrases in Hungarian grammar.
Hungarian noun phrase 2
SyntaxThe order of elements in the noun phrase is always determiner, adjective, noun.
Grammatical markingWith a few important exceptions, Hungarian does not have grammatical gender or a grammatical distinction betweenanimate and inanimate.
PluralityHungarian nouns are marked for number: singular or plural.However, Hungarian uses the plural form sparsely for nouns, i.e. only if quantity is not otherwise marked. Thereforethe plural is not used with numerals or quantity expressions. Examples: t fi ("five boys"); sok fi ("many boys");fik ("boys").In phrases that refer to existence/availability of entities, rather than their quantity, the singular is used in Hungarian(unlike in English): Van szk a szobban "There are chairs in the room", Nincs szk a szobban "There aren't chairsin the room". (The singular may be considered as partitive here.) Also, product names are usually written out in thesingular, e.g. Lmpa "Lamps".Hungarian also uses a singular noun when the possessor is plural but the thing possessed is singular, e.g. a fejnk("our heads", where each person has one head).The plural noun marker is the suffix -ok/(-ak)/-ek/-k/-k.Before possessive suffixes, the plural k appears as ai or ei, e.g.: (laks vs) laksok ("flats/apartments") (laksom vs) laksaim ("my flats/apartments")When used predicatively, adjectives are also marked for number (see adjective marking). The suffix is -ak/-ek/-k.
Pairs of body parts
Hungarian uses paired body parts in the singular, even if the pair is meant together, and even if several people's pairsof body parts are meant. One piece of a pair is described as: "egyik lba" ("one of his legs"). As can be seen, pairs ofbody parts are considered as one in Hungarian.
lb leg Singular possessor Plural possessor
Singular possession lbalit. "his/her leg"in fact: his/her legs
lbuklit. "their leg"in fact: their legs
Plural possession lbaihis/her legs
Note the number of the noun in the following examples:
Tnc kzbensszegabalyodott a lba.(lit. "his/her leg")
His/her legs got tangled up during the dance (with his/her own ones).
Tnc kzbensszegabalyodott a lbuk.(lit. "their leg")
Their legs got tangled up during the dance.
1. People's own legs got tangled up or 2. People's legs got mutually tangled up with each other's, affecting at most one leg per person or 3.3. People's both legs got tangled up whether with their own, their partner's or other people's legs. In other words,
there remained probably no leg without having gotten tangled up.
Hungarian noun phrase 3
Note: if one wants to emphasize the third case (the involvement of people's both legs and their multiple relations),the actual plural number (Tnc kzben sszegabalyodtak a lbaik, lit. "their legs") might also be used, but the above(singular) option can fully suffice in this case, as well.
Apparent plural endings and homonymy
The letter k also occurs at the end of certain words which thus may appear plural. Examples include emlk ("a [pieceof] memory"), farok ("tail"), kldk ("navel"), knyk ("elbow"), sarok ("corner"/"heel"), pocok ("vole"), pspk("bishop"), rsek ("archbishop"), szemldk ("eyebrow"), zsk ("sack") etc. The name of the mole used to bevakondok but this form took on a plural meaning and the word is mostly used today as vakond.Homonymy may occur between a word in the singular and another in the plural. Examples:
Homonymous word Meaning as a singular form Meaning and parsing as a plural form
farok "tail" "bottoms", "buttocks"far + ok
(not usually used in the plural)
pack "bloke", "chap" "blots", "blotches"paca + k
(cf. a/e/o/ lengthening before suffixes)
telek "lot" (real estate) "winters"tl + ek
Forms for "you"Beside te (plural ti), which are used informally, there are polite forms for the second person pronouns: n (pluralnk) and maga (plural maguk). n is official and distancing, maga is personal and even intimate and some peoplethink it has rude connotations. (There are some older forms for you, like kend, which is still used in rural areas.) Seein more detail: T-V distinction for Hungarian.The polite 2nd person forms n and maga take the grammatical forms of the 3rd person, e.g. for verbs and possessivesuffixes. For example te krsz (second person, informal), but n kr or maga kr (second person, formal), just like kr (third person).
Impersonal usageHungarian does not have a distinct impersonal or generic pronoun (cf. English "one"), but there are two ways ofexpressing this: The 3rd person plural (cf. English "they"), for example Azt mondjk, hogy a lny bolond. ("They say the girl is
crazy.") The phrase az ember (lit. "the human"), for example Az ember nem is gondolna r. ("You'd never think of it.")
Hungarian noun phrase 4
ArticlesHungarian has definite and indefinite articles. The definite article, a, changes to az before a vowel. The indefinitearticle is egy, an unstressed version of the word for the number "one". Articles are invariable (i.e. not marked fornumber, case, etc.)
Demonstrative determinersThe demonstrative determiners (often inaccurately called demonstrative adjectives in English) are ez a/ez az ("this")and az a/az az ("that").
NumeralsHungarian numbers follow an extremely regular, decimal format. There are distinct words for 1 to 9, 10, 20, 30, 100,1000 and 1000000. The tens from 40 to 90 are formed by adding -van/-ven to the digit. When the numbers 10 and 20are followed by a digit, they are suffixed with -on/-en/-n/-n (on the oblique stem). Compound numbers are formedsimply by joining the elements together. Examples: t ("five") tz ("ten") tizent ("fifteen") tvent ("fifty-five") szztvent ("one hundred and fifty-five")As in English, a number can function as a determiner or as a stand-alone noun. As a noun it can take all the usualsuffixes.Suffixes used only on numerals and hny ("how many?"): -odik/(-adik)/-edik/-dik for ordinal numbers, e.g. tdik ("the fifth") -od/(-ad)/-ed/-d for fractional numbers, e.g. td ("a fifth") -os/(-as)/-es/-s for adjectival numbers (numeric adjectives), e.g. tsThe numeric adjectives do not have an exact equivalent in English. They are used when English uses a constructionsuch as "bus number 11": a tizenegyes busz, "room 303": a hromszzhrmas szoba.
Quantity expressionsSuffixes used specifically with numerals, hny ("how many?") and other quantity expressions: -szor/-szer/-szr for how many times, e.g. tszr ("five times"), sokszor ("many times") -fle and -fajta for "kind(s) of", e.g. tfajta ("five kinds of") -an/-en/-n for numeric adverbsThe use of the adverbs suffixed with -an/-en/-n is best illustrated by examples: Sokan voltunk. ("There were a lot ofus.") ten vannak. ("There are 5 of them.") Ketten mentnk. ("Two of us went.")
Hungarian noun phrase 5
Possessive suffixesIn Hungarian, pronominal possession is expressed by suffixes applied to the noun. The following suffixes are usedfor singular nouns:
1st person -om/-am/-em/-m/-ma(z n) hzammy house
-unk/-nk/-nka (mi) hzunkour house
2nd person (informal) -od/(-ad)/-ed/-d/-da (te) hzadyour (singular) house
-otok/(-atok)/-etek/-tk/-tok/-tek/-tka (ti) hzatokyour (plural) house
2nd person (formal or official)
-a/-e/-ja/-jea(z ) hzahis/her/its housea(z n) hzayour (formal) house
-uk/-k/-juk/-jka(z ) hzuktheir houseahzuk/aznkhza(!)your (fml, pl) house.
The following suffixes are used for plural nouns:
1st person -aim/-eim/-imaz (n) hzaimmy houses
-aink/-eink/-inka (mi) hzainkour houses
2nd person (informal) -aid/-eid/-ida (te) hzaidyour (singular) houses
-aitok/-eitek/-itok/-iteka (ti) hzaitokyour (plural) houses
-ai/-ei/-ia(z ) hzaihis/her/its housesa(z n) hzaiyour (formal) houses
-aik/-eik/-ika(z ) hzaiktheir housesahzaik/aznkhzai(!)your (fml, pl) houses
The hza, hzai type (i.e., like the one with a singular possessor) is used in the 3rd person plural except when nopronoun or only the is present before it, e.g. a szlk hza "the parents' house". In other words, the plural -k of the3rd person suffix is left from the noun if there is a lexical possessor preceding it.The definite article is usually used. It can be omitted in a poetic or literary style. It may also be omitted at thebeginning of the sentence in colloquial speech.The possessor can be emphasized by adding the subject pronoun, e.g. az n hzam ("my house"). In this case thedefinite article must be used. For the 3rd person plural, the 3rd person singular pronoun is used, e.g. az hzuk (notaz k hzuk).
Hungarian noun phrase 6
Words with -j
Certain consonant-final stems always use the suffixes with -j for a singular noun with a 3rd person singularpossessor, e.g. kalap ("hat"): kalapja ("his/her hat"). This group also uses the -j for a singular noun with a 3rd personplural possessor, e.g. kalapjuk ("their hat"). The -j is also inserted for a plural noun (with a poss