How shall we count with Hungarian numbers?

—lit. "Hogyan számoljunk magyar számokkal?"

I had the idea that I would give you a little overview of cardinal numbers in the Hungarian language (and save ordinal numbers for another time) here on Duolingo discussions. I'm writing in accordance with the Official Spelling Rulebook (in Hungarian) where possible; otherwise, based off of my own experience. Please feel free to comment on anything.

How do Hungarians read their numbers out loud?

Key points:
  • 11 and 12 are not any more special than 13 or 14 or 15.
  • Group by thousands first. There is no 15 hundred etc.
  • Years are also read out loud the same way.
  • Use the long scale for large numbers.
Numeric identifiers

If you have to tell someone your telephone or bank card number, do it in any way you like. The most common thing to do is either to say every individual digit or to form numbers in the 10–99 range. For numbers in the 200–999 range, száz (hundred) is often dropped. Be careful that kétszáz then becomes kettő.

  • (46) 365-111
  • "negyvenhat, három(száz)hatvanöt, száztizenegy"
  • (20) 640-3201
  • "húsz(as), hat(száz)negyven, harminckettő nulla egy"
  • +36 1 768 9000
  • "plusz harminchat, egy, hét(száz)hatvannyolc, kilencezer"

Because kétszáz, hétszáz and négyszáz sound similar as does hét and négy, and the quality of the phone line may be bad, if you are asked which one a number was, say it like this:

  • 200 = "kettőszáz" or "kettes|száz"
  • 400 = "négyes|száz"
  • 700 = "hetes|száz"

The idea here is that the names of numbers used to reference them (e.g. "This is the number two.") have the -as/os/es/ös suffix, and the stem before the suffix changes differently.

Here is what to listen for:

  • 2 = "kettes" (short vowel 'e' + double-length stop consonant 'tt')
  • 4 = "négyes" (long vowel 'é')
  • 7 = "hetes" (short vowel 'e' + single-length stop consonant 't')

How do Hungarians write their numbers?

Key points:
  • Use the decimal comma instead of the decimal point.
  • Group by thousands with a space (optional).
  • Put a space before units of measurement.
  • Signs such as # and % are joined (a common stylistic rule).

There is a rule that says that, when writing numbers over 2000 as text, put a dash between every group of thousands. It is also worth mentioning here that egy should not be dropped from the initial egyezer and egyszáz when filling out cheques.

  • 1 750 535
  • common: "egymillió-hétszázötvenezer-ötszázharmincöt"
  • 121 000
  • common: "százhuszonegyezer"
  • bank-teller-approved: "egyszázhuszonegyezer"
  • 1500 Ft
  • common: "ezerötszáz forint"
  • bank-teller-approved: "egyezerötszáz forint"
  • 30 960 000 000 Ft
  • commoner/VIP-approved: "harmincmilliárd-kilencszázhatvanmillió forint"
Decimal numbers
Key points:
  • The decimal comma is read out loud as egész (whole); before that, it is the integer part.
  • The part after the comma, the fractional part, is either read out like a number (colloquial) or as a fraction where the denominator is a power of 10.
  • 0,5
  • colloquial: "nulla egész öt"
  • math-teacher-approved: "nulla egész öt tized"
  • 0,05
  • colloquial: "nulla egész nulla öt"
  • math-teacher-approved: "nulla egész öt század"
  • 0,505
  • colloquial #1: "nulla egész öt nulla öt"
  • colloquial #2: "nulla egész ötszázöt"
  • math-teacher-approved: "nulla egész ötszázöt ezred"
Units of measurement (adjectival form)
Key points:
  • When either the number word or the word after it is a compound word, put a space between them; otherwise, join the two words.
  • 10 vs 11 y/o
  • "tízéves" (long vowel 'í')
  • "tizenegy éves" (short vowel 'i')
  • 1 m-es
  • "egyméteres"
  • 2 dl-es
  • "két deciliteres" (colloquially: "kétdecis")
  • 500 cm³ (colloquially: 500 cc)
  • "ötszáz köbcentiméteres" (colloquially: "ötszáz köbcentis")

This joining of words (tízéves and egyméteres) can only happen when the adjectival -as/os/es/ös suffix is used.

  • "ezerforintos bankjegy" = 1000 Ft bank note
  • "tízezer forintos bankjegy" = 10 000 Ft bank note
2 years ago


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