List of two-letter Hungarian words
Every language has a few two-letter words, and since there are not so many varieties to build them, there are a lot of short words that exist in several languages with different meanings. As a native Hungarian speaker, I tried to enlist all two-letter words.
Ág: branch, sector
Ah: poetic sigh
Ám: more poetic way of saying de
Ár: flood, price
Át: through (verb prefix or postposition)
Be: in (Where to?) (verb prefix)
Bú: more poetic way of saying "gloom, sadness" than 'bánat'
Cső: tube, pipe
Eb: less used word for dog (kutya). Except some idioms and compound words, nowadays its use is somewhat archaic
Edz: work out
Ég: sky, burn
Ej: archaic interjection used when frowning or being surprised
Éj: night, this word suggests closer to midnight than éjszaka
Él: to live, edge
El: verb prefix, I can't think of a similar English word
Ér: reach, vein
Ész: mind, intellect
Gyí: interjection used when trying to make animals run
Hé: very rude way of addressing somebody
Hú, hű: interjection words used when being positively surprised. Informal way of praising sb. Hú can also be used to express being tired.
Így: like this
Ily, oly: extinct way of saying something like this/that
Ím: old-fashioned conjuction word, has the same meaning as double point (:)
Ír: write, Irish
Is: too, as well
Jé: surprise interjection
Jő: archaic version of jön (comes)
Ki: out (as a verb prefix), who?
Kő: rock, stone
Le: down (verb prefix)
Lé: juice (e.g. narancslé)
Mi: what?, we
Mű: work of art, fake
Na: interjection used when urging
Ne: don't (imperative)
-né: suffix added to husband's name when referring to wife, only if that wife chose to be called like this
Ni: interjection, meaning 'Here it is!'
No: similar to na
Nő: woman, to grow
Nyű: worm (kukac, which is also the name of the @ symbol is used more often)
Ok: cause, reason
Ól: barn, hutch
Óv: defend (stronger meaning than véd)
Óz or Oz: wizard Oz
Öcs: younger brother, also a village in Veszprém county
Öl: kill; lap; an extinct measurement
Ön: formal you pronoun
Őr: guard, a village's name
Ős: ancestor, ancient
Ősz: grey (hair), autumn
Őt: accusative singular 3rd person pronoun
Pó: river Po
Rá: on him/on her/on it
Rí: to cry for some reason which is not worth crying, this word is mainly used by older people in the countryside
Ró: ride in some contexts, e.g. rója a köröket = goes round and round and round.
Se: don't either (imperative)
Sé: village in Vas county
Szű (more often szügy): horse's chest
Te: informal you
Ti: informal plural you
Tó: lake, pond
Úgy: like that
Ük: family prefix (great-great grand), the prefixes for ancestors are in order: édes, nagy (grand), déd, ük, szép, ős, jobb.
Un (valamit): be bored of sth (being bored is unatkozik)
Úr: title used to men, e.g. professzor úr is commonly used towards university teachers, surname+úr is Mr. surname
Űr: space, emptiness
Üt: to hit
Űz: elűz - chase away, also used in some expressions like 'milyen sportot űz' (what sports does he do)
Vő (often vej): son-in-law
Some Greek letters also have two-letter Hungarian names: nű, pí, ró.
Two more: agy (brain) and ágy (bed).
Because the letters cs, dz, gy, ly, ny, sz, ty and zs – as well as the three-letter dzs – are separate letters in the Hungarian alphabet.
So on a Hungarian keyboard they each have a key for themselves, and in Scrabble they have one tile each? Otherwise I don't understand why people call them 'letter', or is it just that the translation of the word 'letter' is what makes it confusing? I mean you even say above that the three-letter dzs is one letter, so it's 3 and 1 at the same time which seems contradictory, so I'm just wondering if maybe in Hungarian there are two words for 'letter'? I just can't get my head around it... :) For an explanation, I'm German and we have 26 letters, we don't even count ß as a separate letter (or ä, ö, ü), let alone sch or ch or others which have a distinct sound. I'm just trying to understand the logic behind it. :)
That is a hungarian speciality. I made some thoughts about that (in German) many years ago.
After all the Finns added å, ä and ö to their alphabet at the end. In the dictionnaries you find words with these initial letters at the end. So å-words come after z-words.
In Scrabble they have separate tiles, but no distinct keys on the keyboard.
I don't agree with Windrammer. Digraphs are like ie or ch in German. These are letters, they're a distinct chapter in dictionaries, this means you will find any word with zs later than zulu in a Hungarian dictionary.
There are 44 letters in the hungarian alphabet. In this context, we call them betű (betűk in plural).
One betű can be egyjegyű / kétjegyű / háromjegyű, which means that a letter can consist of one, two or three characters. Here, jegyű means character, basically.
In Scrabble, we use letters, but on the keyboard, there are characters, which means you have to type in two or three characters to get a 'kétjegyű vagy háromjegyű' letter.
Thanks everyone for the explanation! So I now understand that 'betű' is not really the same definition as 'letter' or 'character' in English which is why I found it confusing. I guess I was thinking of it more in terms of how many different symbols would someone Greek or Russian need to learn to write Hungarian for instance. :)
They're digraphs, not single letters but considered so when in conjunction with the Hungarian alphabet.
Are you sure? Even in school I was taught that the word dzsúsz is three letters but six characters. I think a digraph is like English sh.
They are single letters (betű) in Hungarian. They have their own names and entries in the dictionary ("s" is esh while "sz" is ess).
And there is still some more beside those two, perceptivity mentioned:
tő - root
fő - prime, leading, to boil
fű - grass
hű - You already mentioned it above, but it has also the meaning of true, loyal, faithful.
If you count the suffixes as well:
-ba / -be - in, into (Where to?) -ra / -re - on, onto (Where to?) -on / -en /-ön - on (Where?) -vá / - vé - Suffix for transforming/translating processes
Thanks. I didn't count suffixes, but if we do, - ka - ke y (for nicknames) and - ít (causitive for adjectives) also works.