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Hungarian Grammar - Alphabet Pronunciation

The Hungarian alphabet consists of 44 letters, with 26 of them being the same as the English alphabet (A-Z); with 4 of them being classed as borrowed/foreign letters (Q, W, X and Y). The Hungarian alphabet also consists of letters that comprise of 2 or 3 letters, but are counted as 1 letter (Cs, Dz, Dzs, Gy, Ly, Ny, Sz, Ty and Zs). Here is the full Hungarian alphabet:

A Á B C CS D DZ DZS E É F G GY H I Í J K L LY M N NY O Ó Ö Ő P Q R S SZ T TY U Ú Ü Ű V W X Y Z ZS

Below is a guidance on 'How to pronounce the Hungarian Alphabet'. As the Hungarian language is a phonetic language, which basically means when you look at a word you should instantly know how to pronounce each syllable/letter and when you hear a word you should instantly know how to spell it, it should technically be easier to read, write and speak. However, the speech part can be difficult due to the different accents and dialects found in different parts of Hungary as well as syllable sounds not found in English.

VOWEL PRONUNCIATIONS

A is pronounced as a short O, as in: Hot (Hoht) or What (Woht)

Á is pronounced as AH or R, as in: ARK or PARK

E is pronounced as EH, as in: LED (Lehd Lighting)

É is pronounced as AY, as in: HATE (Hayte)

I is pronounced as a short E (IH), as in: SIT (Siht)

Í is pronounced as a long E (EE), as in: MEET (Meet)

O is pronounced as a short O, like a "normal" O sound

Ó is pronounced as a long O, as in: OWE and SNOW (SNowe)

Ö is pronounced as a short ER, as in: PER (Per Month)

Ő is pronounced as a long ER (long UR), as in FUR (Fur Coat)

U is pronounced as a UH sound, as in PUT (Puht) or GUT (Guht)

Ú is pronounced as OO, as in SCHOOL (School) or RULE (Rule)

Ü is pronounced as a short WHO sound, as in SHOE

Ű is pronounced as a long WHO sound, as in HOOT or TRIBUTE

CONSONANT PRONUNCIATIONS

Q is pronounced as KOO (for foreign words only)

S is pronounced as EHSH, as in: MESH (Mehsh)

SZ is pronounced as S, like a "normal" S sound

CS is pronounced as CH, as in CHALK

DZ is pronounced as ZA (infant school z)

DZS is pronounced as JA (infant school j), as in JACKET

GY is pronounced as JA (infant school j), as in JOLLY

J is pronounced as Y (like in Spanish), as in Yoe

LY is pronounced as YA - PÁLYA (Court/Ground) is pronounced as PAH-YOH (LY is Ya but changes into YOH because A is OH).

TY is pronounced as CHA, as in CHEW or CHUKE (rhymes with Duke)

ZS is pronounced as SHA, as in SHIRLEY or the French JE: Je (SHA) m'appelle.

With some letters it is just a case of remembering their English equivalent (such as CS being CH and SZ being S) while with S for example just remembering to add a H to it (i.e. Budapest being Budapesht and Posta being Poshta).


Grammar Notes
Vowel Harmony
Index
BASIC HUNGARIAN
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