The longest word in your language...

Easterner   Monday, July 26, 2004, 07:20 GMT
The letter that has been coded is a long "ö" as in German, with two accents, therefore: Balatonmáriafürdöö and Hódmezöövásárhely.
Damian   Monday, July 26, 2004, 15:39 GMT
There was a thread on the Finnish language a wee while back. I'd like to know more about it's link with Hungarian. They are so far apart and vastly different in culture I would have thought...or are they?

Is Magyar the actual proper name for the Hungarian language or the people, or both?

I heard that Budapest is a really beautiful city....or is it two cities..Buda and Pest?
Easterner   Tuesday, July 27, 2004, 14:43 GMT

Thank you for your interest. Yes, Finnish and Hungarian are quite different worlds. I actually learnt Finnish for about half a year, just out of curiosity, and its grammar and vocabulary are quite different from Hungarian. It has a lot of Baltic and Swedish loanwords (even the names of the week are of Old Scandinavian origin). The two languages belong to different branches, and they have gone quite a different way of development. It's true, there are some languages that are a link between the two, mostly in Russia, but they are undergoing slow attrition. The sounds are quite similar though, when listening from a distance you cannot be sure if somebody is speaking Hungarian or Finnish.

Just some examples of related words:

Hungarian: Finnish: English:
szem /sem/ silmä eye
száj /sye/ suu mouth
hal kala fish
víz /viiz/ vesi water

Magyar is the name we use for both the people and the language. "Hungarian" comes from the name of the Onogurs - it was a Turkish ethnic group with whom they formed a tribal alliance when they came to Europe. Some people like to create myths and say that Hungarians are related to the Shumerians, but Finno-Ugric origin is quite well-established by now.

For Budapest - the answer is yes and no. They used to be two different towns, but they were united in the 19th century (together with Óbuda or Old Buda). Since then it is one city, but the two parts are quite different - Buda has beautiful hills with forests and a castle while Pest is flat. Also, Buda is the more "posh" part of the two. I definitely recommend it as a tourist destination - after all there are few cities in the world where you can practice alpinism within the city boundary, like you can in the hills of Buda.