Is hungarian language a european one?

Sibiu7   Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:56 am GMT
I always wonder about their roots.
suomalainen   Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:27 am GMT
Hungarian is a Finno-Ugric language, by far the biggest of the family in terms of number of speakers. Hungarian has almost twice as many speakers as all the other Finno-Ugric languages together. Finnish accounts for more than half of the rest.
Hungarian is certainly an European language; Proto-Finno-Ugric language was spoken in Europe before any speakers of Indo-European languages had shown up. Hungarians have lived in present Hungary for more than thousand years; their ancentors lived in the area of Uralic mountains where their closest linguistic relatives, Khantys and Mansies, still thrive. The future of Finno-Ugric languages in present-day nationalistic Russia looks rather dark, sad to say.
D7829   Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:22 pm GMT
european only the indoeuropean.
Hungarian = ASIATIC.
Linguist   Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:30 pm GMT

According to all-Russia population sensus:

name of finno-ugric language and number of native speakers:

yokangsko-saamski - 6
koltta-saamski - 28
kolsko-saamski 753
vodski 774
mansi 2 746
vepsski 5 753
khanty 13 568
udmurt 46 3837
komi-perm 94 328 } two literal variants of the same language
komi 217 316 } like in Norway
mordva (includs 2 dialects: moksha-mordva and erzya-mordva) 614 260


Future of these language first of all depends on population and its attitude to their own history and anscestors and not on "nationalistic" Russia.

And look in Wiki article about European languages:
Pete   Wed Feb 14, 2007 4:21 pm GMT
To suomalainen:

Excellent, you are absolutly right. The only living language that's close to Hungarian is Finnish. Although they're now a bit different.

Pete from Peru
Emgehatvinuckelaubinamina   Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:20 pm GMT
Hungarian has no root in European languages as it comes from Asia as Finnish and Turkish do.By the way, Hungarian isn't the one that has the most speakers in the world in the Ural-Altai language family.The most spoken in this group is Turkish when all Turkish forms are added (Turkish, Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Azeri, Qirim, Tatar, Yakutian a.s.o.) as they are all mutual intelligible.
suomalainen   Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:21 am GMT
Dear linguist,

I agree with you that future of a language first of all depends on population and attitude to its history and ancestors.
Still, the attitude of majority population to minorities is also extremely important. Revival of Saami in Norway began after the government had totally changed totally its harsh assimilation policy. Welsh, Basque and Sorbian recover now, to a great deal due to support from authorities. One key question is if the minority has right to education in their own language. Unfortunately, this is very seldom the case for Finno-Ugric languages in today´s Russia.
The ideal in Russia seems to be one mind, one party, one language.
Mari that was lacking on your list has about half million speakers. Mari activists have several times been attacked and severely hurt during last years in Mari El (Mari republic), but nobody has been arrested for these crimes. In an atmosphere of fear people can feel that Russification is the most safe choice.
This is what I meant as I called Russia "nationalistic".
Linguist   Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:28 pm GMT
@ Pete

The closest language to Finnish is Estonian, people can understand each other without learning a language, while Hungurian is totally incomprehensible.

@ suomalainen

Can you give some links about attacks on Mari activists? I ve never heard about this.
I was myself in Mari El. I was told that local people absolutely lost their own language and learn Finnish at school instead of it. Also in other "nation" regions of Russia names of the streets are written both in Russian and in local language, there are cases that if you don't belong to "local" nationality you can't enter local government. So "nationalism" exists against Russians as well.

Attitude of state authorities was always positive, because most languages got their writing systems only during Soviet times, nobody was really oppressed, though "russiphication" still continues because of natural reasons and not because of fear, it's like people of different nationalities once having come to USA slowly become Americans, but some of them still try to save their identity and speak at home only native language, like some do in Russia.
Pete   Thu Feb 15, 2007 2:11 pm GMT
<<Hungarian has no root in European languages as it comes from Asia as Finnish and Turkish do.By the way, Hungarian isn't the one that has the most speakers in the world in the Ural-Altai language family.>>

Hungarian is not in the Ural-Altai family, where, indeed Turkish is more widely spoken. Hungarian is in a family of its own, which has Hungarian, Finnish, and some more languages.

<<The closest language to Finnish is Estonian, people can understand each other without learning a language, while Hungurian is totally incomprehensible.>>

Oh OK, I've just read about it. I didn't know Estonian was also in the Finno-Ugric family, thanks a lot, Linguist :)

P.S.- I never imagined there could be three degrees of phonemes length, that feature is present in Estonian as I've read. Damn, that would be bloody difficult to learn and understand for a Spanish speaker.

Kind regards

Emgehatvinuckelaubinamina   Thu Feb 15, 2007 4:42 pm GMT
Hungarian and Finnish ARE in the branch of Ural, and Turkish is in the branch of Altai.I'm certain about it, don't ever hesitate.Btw, Neither Finnish nor Turkish are mutual inteligible with Hungarian although Hungarian has borrowed many words from Turkish...
Pete   Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:02 pm GMT
OK, excellent. Thanks a lot
Finnish Guy   Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:16 pm GMT
Remember that the Indo-European languages also came from Asia, probably somewhere in the Altai region(the Turkic peoples living there still have a high % of the Asiatic R1a haplotype that is thought to have spread to Europe with the proto Indo-European speakers). Finno-Ugric languages also came from Asia but we have been in Europe much longer than Indos.
Skippy   Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:09 am GMT
To answer the question, and sum up what has already been said by everyone (because I'm sure you all want to read this again) Hungarian is not an Indo-European language (like Spanish, Russian, German, Greek, or Urdu) but it is spoken in Hungary, an important country in Central Europe.
suomalainen   Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:12 pm GMT
Most linguists think there isn´t enough evidence to speak about an 'Ural-Altai language family'. The languages share some structural similarities (agglutination, case system, vowel harmony, lack of consonant clusters in the beginning of the words) but the main problem is that there isn´t such common vocabulary that would prove the existence of a common Proto-Language. Turkish is indeed the biggest Altaic language, but even this language family is questionable: maybe its branches, Turkic, Mongolic and Tungus languages are all independent families the similarities of which can be explained by long-lasting contacts.

Linguist, here are some links about attacks on Mari activists:
It sounds strange that you have heard in Mari El that the Maris would have absolutely lost their own language and learn instead Finnish. Perhaps you happened to meet such urban Maris who have done this?
Which authorities did you speak with? "Positive attitude" should be measured by deeds: if Mari children could get instruction at school in their own language, that would indeed show positive attitude from authorities.
If education in own language is lacking, people will sooner or later "voluntarily" lose their own language and adopt the majority language as their only vernacular. True, beginning of Soviet era (1920´s) meant great progress for Finno-Ugric people when they got republics of their own and lots of books were published.
Can you mention in which part of present-day Russia only people who belong to local nationality can attend the parlament?
USA is an example of a country that has tried to assimilate its inhabitants to one English-speaking nation. But original minorities should be a different thing than immigrants.
eestlane   Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:34 pm GMT
<<The closest language to Finnish is Estonian, people can understand each other without learning a language, while Hungurian is totally incomprehensible.>>
Actually it is more difficult for a Finnish person to understand Estonian than for an Estonian to do so with Finnish. The actual link between Finno-Ugric languages is the structure (and some very simple words: numbers, water, land, etc). It occurs when two people with a Finno-Ugric language as their native language speak in e.g. English and they both speak it poorly. Due to similarities of the language they think in as they translate their thoughts they can develop communication in Pigeon-English that no one else can understand.

Russia has the most multi-linguistic education system in the world. BUT. Education in native is provided only until form 4. From there on it is only Russian (if not taking some super active people into count). And the worst thing is that most of the minorities use Latin alphabet as reading/writing in their native language but all of the government funded publication is in Cyrillic. By law there can only be Cyrillic used in Russia. And then try to develop a system of higher education - it is against the law!