Stating your birthday in Hungarian

My birthday is on the second of May = ''A születésnapom május második napján van''

Firstly is 'szülinapom' a commonly used word for 'my birthday'? Secondly, 'második napján' seems a bit much. Can't you say 'másodikán' or something like that?

Similarly 'harmadikán' and 'elsejen', can they be used?

January 1, 2019


And don't forget name days. They seem to be more important than birthdays in Hungary.

Popular names even have a choice - I usually go for the 30 July one. A névnapom július harmincadikán van.

January 1, 2019

Native Hungarian here.

Namedays are not more important than birthdays, I would say, they are a tiny bit less important, but still commonly celebrated with smaller presents and "Happy Nameday!" (Boldog névnapot!) greetings.

Namedays come from the days of the Catholic calendar, where each saint had their day, and since children were most commonly named after saints (a so called "protector saint" [védőszent]), the saint's day was the nameday.

Popular names have a choice, because there can be more saints with the same name but celebrated on different days. Take the name János for example. It's English equivalent is John, and there are a ton of St. Johns in the Catholic Church. So the parents could (and religious ones still do) decide, who should be the "protector saint" of the child among all the Johns, and thus the child's nameday is also decided.

I don't know much about this, so please, enlighten me. Are we the only country in Europe celebrating namedays?

January 2, 2019

My father's family is Reform and when he was growing up only name days were celebrated. These days both are celebrated in the family in Hungary (and only birthday's in New Zealand).

January 2, 2019

Maybe it is a tradition in your family. The Reformed Church in Hungary (Christianity) is OK with the birthdays, and the Hungarian Neolog Judaism (Reform Judaism) is OK too. I don't know. :)

January 3, 2019

I don't think it was a religious - just pointing out that name days are not just a Catholic thing. The impression I get is the only thing that really mattered was the year you were born - and maybe the month. With today's need for paperwork - sure everyone knows their birthday - but back then, no.

January 3, 2019

In Italy name days are not so important, definitely less important than birthdays

Traditionally our parents don't decide the name of the child according to the "protector saint", but according to the name of his grandfather / grandmother. But nowadays this tradition is no more followed, just in some small villages in the South it is still used.

January 2, 2019

Name days seem to be celebrated in most European countries to some extent; especially ones with Orthodox or Catholic traditions. Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovakia, Greece, Russia to name but a few.

January 2, 2019

Agree, namedays are not too important for us.

January 3, 2019

In Austria namedays are sometimes mentioned by older people who are not religious. They say "Congratulations today is your name day" but there are no gifts. But there also some younger people who know their name days and sometimes even their "saints", although they don't go to church.

And why shouldn't reformed christians celebrate name days ? Judit is a female hero who beheaded violent Holofernes in the Old Testament and saved the jewish people. As a name this is also acceptable to Chrisians who accept no religious stories outside the bible. Sorry for my mistakes, english is not my mother tomgue...

January 5, 2019

I think you are completely misunderstood my sentences. We Hungarians all celebrate name days, except the Jehovah's Witnesses.

January 5, 2019

As an alternative, instead of "My birthday is...." you can say "I was born on..." which is a little more compact.

Május másodikán születtem.

January 4, 2019

''A születésnapom május másodikán van'' this is more common. Same with elsején, harmadikán, negyedikén, yes, these are used a lot.

'szülinapom' is commonly used. It is a bit informal, so use születésnapom for more formal situations.

January 1, 2019

Is there always an 'án' or 'én'? Would it be ötödikén?

January 1, 2019


January 1, 2019


January 1, 2019

Basically, take the ordinal number and add "-án"/"-én", depending on vowel harmony. 5: "ötödik" + "-én".
Except for the number one, where the ordinal number is "első", and the date is "elseje" > "elsején".

January 13, 2019

Yes. Hungarian uses a vowel harmony phonetic strategy.

January 2, 2019

Very helpful, köszi !

January 16, 2019

You can say elsején, másodikán, harmadikán, negyedikén, ötödikén, hatodikán, hetedikén, nyolcadikán, kilencedikén, tizedikén, tizenegyedikén, tizenkettedikén, tizenharmadikán, etc.

About szülinapom or születésnapom... In Hungarian we can abbreviate a number of words by cutting off the second half of the word and adding an "i" to the first part. The end of the first part is also modified in certain cases. All these words are very informal, sometimes childish or humorous, and not all speakers approve of their use. Nevertheless, some of these forms have already stuck in the language but some others still sound unnatural.

Examples of acceptable abbreviations:
születésnap -> szülinap*
csokoládé -> csoki
nagymama/nagypapa -> nagyi
finom -> fincsi
futball -> foci
lóverseny -> lovi
luftballon -> lufi**
cukor -> cuki***

* "születés" by its own is never abbreviated to "szüli"
** Actually the word "luftballon" is hardly ever used.
*** "cuki" is actually an adjective, and it means sweet, cute. You can say that a little baby or a little pet is cuki. In particular, you can hear the sentence "Jaj, de cukiiiii", which means "Oh, how sweeeeet" or "Oh, how cuuuuute". But this is mostly used by children or women.

The following examples don't sound very natural and aren't commonly used:
édes -> édi
labda -> laszti
repülőgép -> repcsi
fürdés -> fürcsi
depresszió -> depi

January 20, 2019
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