Hungarian Pronunciation & Alphabet

The Hungarian language, called magyar by the Hungarian people, is a language with over 16 million native speakers. It is part of the Ugric group of the Uralic language family. It is spoken in Hungary and areas of Austria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and diaspora worldwide. The Hungarian writing system uses an expanded Latin alphabet.

Vowels | Hungarian Magyar

a – like ‘o’ in “not” (a very deep “o”)

á – like ‘a’ in “father” → [SYMBOL: a]

e – like ‘e’ in “let” → [SYMBOL: e]

é – like ‘a’ in “say” → [SYMBOL: ey]

i – like i in “machine”, but shorter → [SYMBOL: i]

í – like ‘ee’ in “seem” → [SYMBOL: ee]

o – like ‘o’ in “or” → [SYMBOL: o]

ó – like ‘o’ in “so” → [SYMBOL: oa]

ö – like ‘ö’ in English “shun” → [SYMBOL: ø]

ő – like ‘ö’ but longer → [SYMBOL: ø̱]

u – like ‘u’ in “Luke” → [SYMBOL: ou]

ú – like ‘oo’ in “moon” → [SYMBOL: oo]

ü – like ‘ü’ in German “über” → [SYMBOL: ů]

ű – like “ü” but longer → [SYMBOL: ů̱]

Consonants | Hungarian Magyar

Only the consonants having sounds different from those in English are noted here. Consonant length is distinctive: tizenegyedik “eleventh” vs. tizennegyedik “fourteenth.” Consonants written with two letters are doubled by doubling the first letter: asszony “woman.” Exception: tizennyolc is tizen-nyolc. Think of pronouncing “Ben Nevis” with the two n’s pronounced separately, with a split-second pause between them.

c – like ‘ts’ in hats → [SYMBOL: ts]

cs – like ‘ch’ in chair → [SYMBOL: ch]

dzs – like ‘dg’ in badge → [SYMBOL: j]

gy – like ‘d’ in duty or ‘de y’ in made your → [SYMBOL: dj]

j – like ‘y’ in yes → [SYMBOL: y]

ly – same as j; except at the end of a word, where it is a palatised l

ny – as in canyon or ‘ñ’ in señor → [SYMBOL: ny]

r – always rolled like as in Spanish “María: less guttural than German

s – as in sugar → [SYMBOL: sh]. It is easy to confuse this with sz!

sz – like ‘s’ in see → [SYMBOL: s]

ty – like the t in tube [SYMBOL: ty]

zs – like ‘g’ in genre or ‘s’ in pleasure → [SYMBOL: zh]