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Hungarian: An Essential Grammar

Title: Hungarian: An Essential Grammar

Author: Carol Rounds
Format: Paperback
List Price: $36.95
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Hungarian: An Essential Grammar

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Book Info
(Taylor and Francis) Guide to the most important structures of the Hungarian language. Covers verbal prefixes, aspect and tense, word-formation mechanisms, linking vowels, the case system, and word order. Appendices feature even more structures. Softcover, hardcover also available. DLC: Hungarian language--Grammar.

Product Description:
Hungarian: An Essential Grammar is a concise, user-friendly guide to the most important structures of this fascinating language.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (August 1, 2001)
  • ISBN: 0415226120
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.0 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 3 reviews.

Customer Reviews
Avg. Customer Review:

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

magellan may be a little misguided but the book is excellent, October 7, 2004

Reviewer: dharmacrush "bcskillen" (Portland, OR USA)

this book is a fairly decent descriptive grammar of the hungarian language. as a person who has studied the finnish language at length and now dabbles in some of the other uralic languages like sami and hungarian, this book is easy to use if you already have a rather clear picture of the linguistics of this language family. turkish, although in possession of vowel harmony, is not a member of the uralic language family, as magellan suggests - it is an altaic language family member. research has been done to show that these two language families are in fact one, but so far the evidence has been inconclusive.

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

Excellent concise grammar, December 21, 2003

Reviewer: magellan (Santa Clara, CA)

I have to say Routledge is doing a great job with their Essential Grammar series, having previously read their books on Swedish and Danish, and I've also seen the books on Russian, Chinese, and Finnish, which I'll probably get to next.

I learned a lot about Hungarian grammar from this book. Hungarian is the most important extant member of the Ugric sub-branch of the Finno-Ugric branch of the Ural-Altaic family, and as such, it deserves to have more resources like this book to encourage its study and scholarship. Many languages preserve complicated systems of both noun classification prefixes and verb prefixes, such as Swahili, or post-fixes, as in the case of Ural-Altaic languages such as Finnish and Estonian, which have 14 and 15 cases, respectively. Hungarian has 20, and some Caucausian languages in southern Russia have over 30. Hungarian is notable for another feature common along Uralic languages like Turkish known as "vowel harmony," wherein vowels in a word are similar and require similar positions of the tongue to pronounce.

I also have to add my own comments to the two excellent ones already posted on this book. I understand what the reader from New York is saying with respect to the case endings, and I also agree with the second reviewer from New York, as they both make important points.

I have sometimes felt that the "markerese" of traditional structural linguistics gets out of hand in describing certain languages, but on the other hand, I don't see a viable alternative, either. Many languages preserve complicated systems of both noun classification prefixes and verb prefixes, such as Swahili, which has prefixes, infixes, and postfixes for noun classes, or extensive case systems, as in the Ural-Altaic languages. Finnish and Estonian have 14 and 15 cases, respectively, Hungarian has as many as 24, and some Caucausian languages in Russia have over 30. This is far more than the classical Indo-European languages like Sanskrit, which has 8, Greek, which also has 8, and Latin, which has 6. Contemporary Russian has 6, and German technically has 4. But Finnish has 14 and Estonian has 15, and Hungarian has 20 active cases and may have had 24 in the past, as I said. This makes the case system far more extensive and as a result poses a much greater learning problem for the foreign language speaker.

So some sort of structure is required to organize the grammatical material for presentation to the foreign speaker, and I just don't see an alternative, although presenting the real postpositions on equal footing with the case endings would probably help, as the reader from New York suggests. This just means that no language, even Ural-Altaic ones, subsist only on cases and that some pre or postpositions are needed.

Anyway, however this debate turns out, I found this to be an excellent, concise grammar and it is one of the few out there I have seen on Hungarian.

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful:

Response on cases, August 10, 2002

Reviewer: "lornminorlas" (Oakland, CA United States)

I'm not sure whether I'm allowed to use this space for a pure response, but I'm wondering what the Reader from NY suggests as an alternative of case endings. Does he or she suggest that the language be changed so that the locatives and other case-endings become separate words? Postpositions? I would caution one against thinking to change the language to make it easier for an english speaker to learn. It's not as if some loony grammarian decided that some things are attached to words and some things are not: that's all part of the language. As a student of Finnish, I am quite familiar with this sort of case-ending particle: it's just something you have to get used to. I admit to enjoying the technical terms as a part of grammar study (as well as to being a Latin student) but they do not seem in any way necessary to the study of the language if they seem confusing. Finnish has an "inessive particle" which means you add -ssa/ss?to the end of a word when you're saying that something is in it, but there's no need to memorize the fact that it is called inessive: you just have to know that when you want to say "I am in bed" or "I live in Helsinki" you have to say "Olen s?gyss?quot; and "Asun Helsingissa." If I have your complaint misinterpreted I apologise for the mistake, but I absolutely love the Finnish Grammar from this series which gets very technical about grammar and think that that is what a grammar reference should do, whether or not the student feels it helpful to use the technical terms provided.

(NB: Finnish also has "post-positions," so that you say "s?gyn alla" for "under the bed" (literally "[the] bed's under"), but I find it easier just to consider it a word meaning "under" and to remember that the other word has to be in the posessive/genitive than to start worrying about whether to call it a post-position or a case ending (although of course, the former is correct).)

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