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Regular sound correspondences between Hungarian and other Uralic languages

There are numerous regular sound correspondences between Hungarian and the other Uralic languages. For example, Hungarian á corresponds to Khanty o in certain positions, and Hungarian h corresponds to Khanty x, while Hungarian final z corresponds to Khanty final t. These can be seen in Hungarian ház ("house") and Khanty xot ("house"), or Hungarian száz ("hundred") and Khanty sot ("hundred").

Hungarian and Khanty are closely connected, either genealogically or as part of a language area. The distance between Hungarian and the Finnic languages is greater, but the correspondences are also regular. The relationship is most obvious when comparing all Uralic languages together, for then individual idiosyncrasies are averaged out, but here we will just compare Hungarian with Finnish and Estonian (two Finnic languages).

Contents

Stop consonantsEdit

Word-initiallyEdit

One important innovation of Hungarian is the lenition of the stop consonants *p *k in initial position.

  • Hungarian /f/ corresponds to Finnish and Estonian /p/ (compare English fish to Italian pesce):
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*puxe fa puu puu tree
*pala falat pala pala bit, bite
*pele- fél pelätä pelgama to fear
*pesä fészek pesä pesa nest
*pilwe felhő pilvi pilv cloud
*puna- fon punoa punuma to plait
*päŋe pää peä head
  • Before front vowels (e é i í y ä ö ő ü ű), Hungarian /k/ corresponds to Finnish and Estonian /k/:
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*küńele könny kyynel küünistama tear
*käte kéz käsi käsi hand, arm
*kiwe kivi kivi stone
  • Before back vowels (a á o ó u ú), Hungarian /h/ corresponds to Finnish and Estonian /k/ (as English /h/ in hound corresponds to Latin /k/ in canis)
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*kala hal kala kala fish
*kota ház kota koda house (Hung.), hut (Finn. and Est.)
*kuńśe húgy kusi kusi urine

The third stop inherited from Proto-Uralic, *t, did not undergo such a change.

  • Hungarian initial /t/ corresponds to Finnish and Estonian /t/:
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*tälwä tél talvi talv winter
*tumte- tud tuntea tundma to know
*towke tavasz touko spring

Word-mediallyEdit

In the middle of words (note that due to the loss of the word final vocals in the Old Hungarian period these are now at the end of the words), Hungarian has also lenited original stops, but in a different fashion.

  • Hungarian /p k/ correspond to Finnish and Estonian geminate stops /pp kk/:
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*ëppe após appi father-in-law
*säppä epe sappi sapp gall
*lappɜ lapos lappea lapp flat
*lükkä- lök lykätä : lykkää- lükkama to push
  • Hungarian /t/ corresponds to the Finnish and Estonian two-stop cluster /tk/:
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*kütke-. köt kytkeä kütke to bind, to join (Estonian: "halter", a derivative)
* tat (dialectal) tõtkes tench

(No examples where a word with original *tt would have survived in both Hungarian and Finnic are known, but cases testifying for the development of *tt to /tt/ in Finnic and /t/ in Hungarian can be set up with the help of the other Uralic languages.)

  • Hungarian /d/ corresponds to Finnish and Estonian /nt/ (which may alternate with /nn/):
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*ëmta- ad antaa andma to give
*jänte ideg jänne : jäntee- nerve (Hung.; a derivative), string, sinew (Fi.)
*omte odú ontelo õõnes hollow
*tumte- tud tuntea tundma to know

(Again, with the help of the other Uralic languages, the analogous developments *mp *ŋk → Hungarian /b g/, Finnic /mp ŋk/ could be supported.)

  • Hungarian /v/ corresponds to Finnish and Estonian /p/:
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*kepä kevés kepeä kebja few (Hung.), light (Finnic)
*čupa sovány hupe-ne- huba thin (Hung.)
  • Hungarian /z/ corresponds to Finnish and Estonian /t/ (which can alternate with /d/ or zero, and becomes /s/ before /i/):
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*kota ház kota koda house (Hung.), hut (Finnic)
*käte kéz käsi : käden : käte- käsi : käe : käte- hand, arm
*pata fazék pata pada pot
*mete méz mesi : meden : mete- mesi: mee : mete- honey
  • Hungarian zero, here always preceding a long vowel, corresponds to Finnish and Estonian /k/ by itself (which may alternate with zero or /h/) and as the first member of a consonant cluster:
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*ikene íny ien : ikene- ige palate (Hung. & Es.), gums (Fi.)
*joke joki jõgi river (only in placenames in Hung.)
*mëksa máj maksa maks liver
*näke- néz nähdä : näke- nägema to see
*sükśe ősz syksy sügis autumn

Sibilant consonantsEdit

Two different regular correspondences can be found in Hungarian for Finnish and Estonian /s/. The first is Hungarian /s/:

Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*śata száz sata sata hundred
*śüδäme szív sydän süda heart
*śilmä szem silmä silm eye
*śuwe száj suu suu mouth
*pesä fészek pesä pesa nest

The second is Hungarian zero:

Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*sewe- eszik : ev- syödä sööma to eat
*säppä epe sappi sapp gall
*sëne ín suoni soon sinew, (Finnic also) vein
*süle öl syli süli bosom

These two correspondences represent two different original consonants. /s/ : /s/ is reconstructed as originating in Proto-Uralic *ś, while ∅ : /s/ is reconstructed as Proto-Uralic *s. Both correspondences can be seen simultaneously in the word for "autumn" (see above under *-k-), from Proto-Uralic *sükśi.

Sonorant consonantsEdit

  • Hungarian liquid consonants /l r/ correspond to Finnish and Estonian /l r/:
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*ora ár ora ora awl (Hung., Es.), thorn (Fi.)
*alla alatt alla all under
*elä- él elää elama to live
*kala- hal kuolla koolema to die
*läme  : lev- liemi leem liquid (Hung.), broth (Finnic)
*ńale- nyal nuolla noolima to lick
*ńële nyíl nuoli nool arrow
*wolka váll olka õlg shoulder

Examples also include 'bit', 'to fear', 'cloud', 'fish', 'winter', 'flat', 'to push', 'bosom' listed above.

  • Hungarian nasal consonants /m n ɲ/ correspond to Finnish and Estonian /m n n/:
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*mi mi mikä : mi- mis what
*mene- megy : men- mennä minema to go
*mińä meny miniä minia daughter-in-law
*muna mony (dialectal) muna muna egg, testicle
*neljä négy neljä neli four
*nime név nimi nimi name

Further examples include (/m/:) 'honey', 'liver', 'eye', (/n/:) 'to plait', 'to see', 'sinew', (/ɲ/:) 'tear', 'palate', 'arrow', 'to lick' listed above. Word-internally a correspondence Hungarian /v/ : Finnic /m/ is also found, as seen in 'broth', 'name', and 'heart'.

  • A correspondence can also be set up between Hungarian /g/ and Finnish and Estonian long vowels. With the help of the other Uralic languages, this can be reconstructed as *ŋ:
Proto-Uralic Hungarian Finnish Estonian meaning
*jäŋe jég jää jää ice
*piŋe fog pii pii tooth
*püŋe fogoly pyy püü hazelhen
*śäŋe ég sää sky (Hung.), weather (Fi.)
*šiŋere egér hiiri hiir mouse
*wiŋe- vég viimeinen viimane end (Hung.), last (Finnic)

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit