Unit 5


Word Order

Word order is very important in Hungarian language. Hungarian word order is not fixed but this does not mean that you can just jumble the words wherever. Word order has the function of shifting the emphasis in the sentence. In a sentence that can be considered "neutral" in its emphasis, the first word is the subject of the sentence, the second is the predicate, which is most of the time, a verb and then the other parts of the sentences come. However, often we want to emphasise one part of the sentence more. In this case the part we wnat to emphasize needs to be moved right in front of the verb. Whatever we want to emphasize will precede the verb. In a question where there is a question word the emphasized part is the question word, thus that will always come first and the second place is taken by the verb. If there is no question word (yes or no questions), then the general rule applies, that is, whatever is emphasized comes right before the verb (in neutral sentence the subject precedes the verb if it’s "visible" link to the omitted pronoun). In the sentences in section III. you can see two basic word order pattern: 1. the sentence begins with the object (Igazolvány van önnél?) 2. the sentence begins with "van" (Van nálad cigaretta?) In both instances the "van nálad" or "van önnél" phrase remains intact. The reason the noun is in front of the verb in one case is that the speaker wants to emphasize the object the noun signifies. Beginning the sentence with the verb is the "neutral" sentence.