The sentence - word order and agreements

Word order is undefined in Hungarian. However, similarly to every aspect of life, this great liberty must be applied with great caution. Almost any variation is acceptable, however, each of them may carry a slightly different meaning. Two basic principles still exist:

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If no special emphasis is intended, all parts of the sentence occur between the subject and predicate (usually a verb). That is the sentence begins with the subject and ends with the predicate: Péter ma este moziba megy (Peter goes to a movie tonight.)

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anything that must be emphasized should precede the verb: Péter ma megy moziba (nem holnap) (today, not tomorrow). Péter este megy moziba (nem délután) (in the evening, not in the afternoon). Péter moziba megy ma este (nem koncertre) (to a movie, not for a concert). Ma este Péter megy moziba (nem Gábor).

Interrogative sentences beginning with an interrogative word are built up by the same logic. In this case, emphasis is always Iaid on the interrogative word: Hová megy ma este Péter? / Hová megy Péter ma este? Mikor megy Péter moziba? Ki megy ma este moziba? / Ki megy moziba ma este?

On the other hand, there are strict rules regulating the position of verb prepositions and verbs relative to each other (See Lesson 9).

When agreements between the subject and the predicate are made, attention must be paid to the rule that nouns following numerals are always used in singular. Consequently, if the subject is preceded by a numeral in the sentence it must not be changed into plural and the predicate must be used in singular as well. Az angol turista beszáll a taxiba. (The English tourist gets into the taxi.) Az angol turisták beszállnak a taxiba. (The English tourists get into the taxi.) Három angol turista beszáll a taxiba. (Three English tourists get into the taxi.)

We wish you good work and pleasant language studies!

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Hungarian is known to be a difficult language. This „bad reputation” is related to the fact that Hungarian is very different from Indo-European languages. It follows a completely different logic and structure. This, however, should not discourage anyone from studying it: similarly to all other languages in the world, Hungarian is a beautiful language that is possible to learn.

An elementary school dictionary should be both a useful reference book to help children with questions they have about words they encounter in their reading and study, and a textbook with sample material for the study of words and usage in connection with the language arts. The Harcourt Brace School Dictionary has been designed to play both roles.

It has been freshly constructed, from word list to pictures, maps, and diagrams, and it is up to date. Its most immediately noticeable feature is the use throughout of a second color. In recent years, color has come into use in practically all textbooks and has proved both useful and attractive. Now color has been extended to the dic­tionary, where it is especially helpful in maps and diagrams.

The most important feature is the word list. In building the word list, two steps were taken to correlate more closely the vocabulary covered in the dictionary and the vocabulary of modern textbooks.

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First, each member of the Board of Curriculum Specialists prepared and recommended a list of words now in common use in his subject in the elementary grades. Many of the words are by no means new words, but some are new to the elementary grades, brought into use by the educational trend that created the new mathematics and science courses, among others.

Second, our staff read scores of text­books published within the last five or six years and other scores of juvenile books widely used today for supplementary or enrichment reading.

We have attached more weight to these studies as guides to currency than we have to the excellent but aging word lists, such as The Semantic Count, which were also consulted.

The offering of words in each of the subjects of the elementary curriculum is as large as space permits, and is especially large in mathematics and science. Some of these words even as late as ten years ago would very likely have been thought too advanced for the elementary school. Now they are in daily use in textbooks and classroom discussion.