Good evening I wish. You can drop the 'kívánok" part, then it truly becomes "good evening". This is the normal word order with these pleasantries. And, in general, being an agglutinative language, all the little details are packed into the main words, thus the word order is pretty flexible. Many times you can use 'order of importance' for word order.
Not in the front but in the related words. Let's take a simple example:
"I am reading a book".
Now, the "I am reading" part is especially strictly structured. You can't play around with the word order. Right?
Well, "I am reading" translates to a single word in Hungarian: "Olvasok". Yes, that's it. It has an inner structure - a verb root plus a first person suffix. But the beauty of it is, you can put this word anywhere within a sentence, it does not change its inner structure. Because that is embedded in the single word.
So, this in itself results in fewer words in the sentence, and more freedom at the word level. These more restrictive relations between words are transformed into single words with a well-organized inner structure.
"I am reading a book" can be:
"Olvasok egy könyvet"
"Egy könyvet olvasok"
They mean the same thing. But the "I am reading" structure is the same in all three.
Or let's take "I did not want to go" - six words
"Nem akartam menni" - three words in Hungarian.
Less rules, more freedom in the word order. Of course, there are rules for the word order in Hungarian, too. But they are much less restrictive.
Or let's take this classic example: "the cat eats the dog". Or simply "cat eats dog". Who is eaten by whom? How can you tell? By the word order only. But if the subject and object were clearly marked, we would be able to shuffle the words, it would not change the fate of the dog. That's the point of the accusative suffix.
"Cat" - "macska"
"Dog" - "kutya"
Dog in accusative - "kutyát"
"A macska eszi a kutyÁT"
"A kutyÁT eszi a macska"
"Eszi a kutyÁT a macska"
The word order does make some difference but, invariably, the dog is dinner.
So, the bottom line is, not total chaos, but more freedom in the word order. More freedom in organizing the sentence in order of relevance. Or just to express nuances that are totally unexplainable at this stage.
Hungarian has things you can call 'accusative' and 'dative', but those are much easier to handle than the German cases. For the former, you simply add -t to the noun (with an appropriate connecting vowel), and for the latter it's the suffix -nak or -nek.
If you want to call them cases (some do, I don't), Hungarian has a lot of them, probably over 50. But they are fairly easy to learn because they're just suffixes that replace the prepositions that you would use in English. For instance, you lay something "onto the table" (az asztal), and it simply becomes "az asztalra".
Genitive doesn't exist in Hungarian, but possessive suffixes which are used a lot in the language. But that's for much later.
That is correct. But the two are more or less interchangeable, the full version being more formal and polite.
Let me note one more little difference in usage. If you address someone, adding their name, then you (usually) drop the "kívánok":
"Jó reggelt kívánok!" - "Good morning"
"Jó reggelt, napfény!" - "Good morning Sunshine"
"Jó reggelt, elnök asszony!" - "Good morning, Ms. President"
I am sure you are. What are you smoking? :)
Anyway, yes, you would have to learn to hear the differences, they are very much different sounds to Hungarians.
For the "e" sound, try these English words: "let", "level", "eleven".
For the "é" sound, try "state", "steak".
Can you hear it now?
I would say it is a very clear difference in Hungarian. But when we learn a new language, we always have to also learn to recognize the different sounds. And many times they have sounds that are very different to them but sound all the same to us. This is just how the brain works. With time, you will learn to hear the difference.
If your mother tongue is Spanish, I can understand why you don't hear the difference yet. The Spanish "e" is somewhere between the Hungarian "e" and "é". Maybe closer to "é". But there are variations, correct? Or do all the "e" sounds in Spanish sound exactly the same?
I am just guessing here, but how about the "e" in "pueblo" and "Español"? They may be closer to the Hungarian "e". Or maybe not, I really don't know.
Anyway, you probably just need time, listen a lot, let your brain process those sounds and figure out a way to tell the difference between them.
Hi, thank you for your time. I guess I have to watch some videos so that I can train my ear. In Spanish there are only five vowels and the e is the same in every word (there are just few places where there are more than 5 vowels, so it can't be considered as standard Spnish. And yes, I supose it's about time. Cheers!
I wish you good luck with that! And how about the difference between "a" and "á"? That is kind of the same difference as the one between "e" and "é". And the distinction is really important, those are different letters. If you switch one for the other, you often get another valid word. And the difference in meaning can sometimes be hilarious. This is especially true for short words.
I can hear the difference between e and é, and also between a and á. They're both pairs of different vowel sounds.
The ones that give me a hard time are o and ó, u and ú, ö and ő, ü and ű. Those are the ones where the length is different, and I really can't hear that at all. All o's sound the same to me, accented or not, and the same is true with the other pairs. The difference must be very subtle.
With those, the difference is only the length of them. That is all. Maybe you can start by saying them to yourself aloud, and trying to exaggerate the differences. Make the "o" really short, and make the "ó" really long. Try speaking aloud. Your ears need to hear what your mouth says, that helps a lot! Then you will slowly start recognizing the smaller differences. Good luck!
I agree - the English "long a" without the diphthong is different from what we anglophones normally hear. We're so used to the diphthong that we really don't notice it.
Another thing about Hungarian "é" is that I can't tell whether it's more like the 'a' in "play" (without diphthong) or like the 'e' in "me" (also w/o diphthong). It usually sounds like the latter to me. So I'm not totally sure how to say the word "szél" - should it sound more like "sail" or "seal?"
Yes, anglophones can have a really hard time producing a regular long Hungarian vowel without the diphthong. There is simply no such sound in English (probably). Those sounds seem like the easiest things to produce to Hungarians, yet they seem impossible to English speakers.
Try saying that diphthong for a really long time, like you are singing it. And try sustaining the first sound of it (a diphthong is like one vowel morphing into another). Try keeping the first vowel, do not let it morph into the second one. That should be your "é" sound.
The "é" sound is NOT what you have in "me" or "seal". That would be the "í" (long i) sound.
It should be more like how you start the vowel in "sail". The vowel sounds in "sail", "sale", "state", "bake" and such all sound like an "é" to the Hungarian ear. Perhaps with a Hungarian "j" attached.
Similarly, the sounds in "silo", "hi", "style", "bike", etc., all have the Hungarian "á" sound, with a "j" attached. Hence, the now very international words "hi" and "like" are colloquially transcribed as "háj" and "lájk".
I know what you mean about a morphing vowel. I can tell that I'm saying a diphthong when something in my mouth or my lips is moving while I'm saying it. Even the "e" in "me" has a change in the position of parts of the mouth - my jaw is closing a bit toward the end. That's what gives it the "eeeeyyy" sound.
My voice teacher is working with me on a Georgian song. She told me that the way I pronounce the letter "o" is a dead giveaway that I'm an English speaker. My lips close into a "u" position toward the end, whereas the Georgian "o" (like the "o" in many other languages) doesn't have a different closing sound. It's just "o" from start to finish. This is a very hard habit to break.
Interestingly, that "szak" in "éjszaka" is something like "a part of a whole" (time period). As in the parts of the day. So, of the parts of a (24 hour) day, that part is the one of the night. "Az éj szaka", a possessive structure.
The parts of the day are commonly called "napszakok". And the parts of the year, the seasons, are called "évszakok". "Év" (year) + "szak": "évszak".
I'm quitting this course. I would never try to learn Hungarian. I would like to thank @vv sey , He helped me immensely in making a definate decission with his comments in this forum. Goodbye everyone and don't waste your time in aggulitative lamguages unless you know one already. :-)