Hungarian Pronunciation Guide

By Dick Oakes


A a, Á á, B b, C c, Cs cs, D d, Dz dz, Dzs dzs, E e, É é, F f, G g, Gy gy,
H h, I i, Í í, J j, K k, L l, Ly ly, M m, N n, Ny ny, O o, Ó ó, Ö ö, P p,
R r, S s, Sz sz, T t, Ty ty, U u, Ú ú, Ü ü, Ű ű, V v,
Z z, Zs zs


The Hungarian alphabet has 44 characters. The Hungarian language belongs to the Ugric subgroup of the Uralic family of languages. Its closest European relative is Finnish. Stress is always on the first syllable (except for some foreign words).

In Hungarian, the length of the vowel is always indicated. Long vowels have either a single acute accent mark or a double acute accent mark (stretched umlaut). Short vowels have no mark, or the two-dot umlaut.

Hungarian follows rules of "vowel harmony." Front vowels are: e, ö, and ü. Back vowels are a, o, and u. The vowel i is a wild card. The general rule is that words have to have either all front vowels or all back vowels, with no mixing allowed. However, i can mix with either category. The rule applies to grammatical endings, but not necessarily to compound words.

Letters not listed are pronounced approximately as in English.

In Hungary, all names are given with family names first (Czompo Andor) but outside of Hungary, family names are given last as in English (Andor Czompo).


A, a  - aw as in law
Á, á  - a as in father
E, e  - e as in set
É, é  - e as grey
I, i  - i as in machine
Í, í  - i as in machine
O, o  - o as boy
Ó, ó  - o as in blow
Ö, ö  - e as in let (with lips protruded as if to whistle)
Ő, ő  - eu but longer
U, u  - u as in duke
Ú, ú  - oo as in cool
Ü, ü  - i as in machine (with lips protruded as if to whistle)
Ű, ű  - eu in feud but longer
 
C, c  - c as in dance (like ts)
Cs, cs  - ch as in chug
Cz, cz  - c as in dance (ts) Archaic; no longer used in everyday language.
Dz, dz  - ds as in feeds
Dzs, dzs  - j as in jeans
G, g  - g as in go
Gy, gy  - dju in adjulation (djy)
J, j  - y as in yes
Ly, ly  - y as in yes (l is silent)
Ny, ny  - ny as in canyon
Q, q  - q as cheque (k)
R, r  - slightly rolled once (rr)
S, s  - s as in sugar (sh) -- ss also is s as in sugar
Sz, sz  - s as in skip
T, t  - tongue touches back of teeth (dental)
Ty, ty  - ty as in met you
W, w  - v as in vigor
Y, y  - y as in city (ee)
Zs, zs  - z as in azure (zh)
 
DIPTHONGS:
 
ai   - oy as in boy
aj   - oy as in boy
ay   - oy as in boy
aly   - oy as in boy
ái   - i as in hike
áj   - i as in hike
áy   - i as in hike
ály   - i as in hike
oi   - oy as in boy
oj   - oy as in boy
oy   - oy as in boy
oly   - oy as in boy
ee   - ay as in say
ely   - ay as in say


Copyright © 2011 by Dick Oakes