Derivation of words

By derivation, we can create new words, usually changing their word class (or with other term: their part of speech). For example if I say drinkable in English, than I’ve derived (most cases also changed) the word class. The word drink originally is a verb, but adding the suffix ~able makes it an adjective. Or if I add the suffix ~er after the verbs dance, write, think, make, then I get dancer, writer, thinker, maker which are nouns. Or vica versa if I add the suffiy ~fy after the noun glory, then I get glorify which is a verb, and so on. This part of Hungarian language might be easier (than for example Indetermined and Determined conjugation) as almost all the languages have this derivation so in a lot of cases the suffixes can be translated to English.

examples for derivated words

from noun from adjective from verb
to noun halász
(fisherman)
lakatos
(locksmith)
rendőrség
(policeman -> police)
boldogság
(happyness)
szabadság
(freedom)
énekes
(singer)
író
(writer)
to adjective s
(salty)
budapesti
(Budapester)
reménytelen
(hopeless)
szemű
(eyed)
pirosas
(reddish)
olvasható
(readable)
lobbanékony
(flammable)
félénk
(fearful)
író
(writer)
to adverb viszonylag
(relatively)
személyesen
(personally)
angolul
(in English)
to verb telefonál
(to call by phone)
keretez
(to frame up or to enframe)
gitározik
(to play guitar) *
szépít
(makes beautiful)
dicsőít
(glorify)
őrködik
(guard -> to guard)
öregszik
(old -> to grow old)
rosszall
(wrong -> reprove)

olvasgat
(reads in a way which is not that serious, just for fun, maybe sometimes makes brakes and then continues)

*: ~l makes non~ik verbs, while ~z usually makes ~ik verbs

As you see a lot of suffixes correspond to the English one, however in Hungarian there are much more ways to create verb from nouns and adjectives. For example gitár, zongora, labda, foci, telefon (guitar, piano, ball, football, phone) can be transformed to gitározik, zongorázik, labdázik, focizik telefonál (plays guitar, plays piano, plays with ball, plays football, calls by phone) and so on.

possible suffixes

  from noun from adjective from verb
to noun ~ság, ~ség ~ság, ~ség ~ás, ~és
~ász, ~ész ~ó, ~ő
~ka, ~ke, ~cska, ~cske ~mány, ~mény
~os, ~es ~at, ~et
to adjective ~s ~as, ~es ~ánk, ~énk
~i ~ékony, ~ékeny
~talan, ~telen, ~tlan, ~tlen ~ható, ~hető
~ú, ű  ~ó, ~ő
to adverb ~lag, ~leg ~an, ~en
~ul, ~ül
to verb ~l ~ít ~gat, ~get
~z ~kodik, ~kedik, ~ködik
~odik, ~edik
~l, ~ll

Multiple derivation

Of course words can go through multiple derivations, just like in English. For example:

the word derived from
gyúlékonyság
(flammability)
gyúl
(flame)
+ ékony
(able)
+ ság
(ity)
olvashatóság
(readability)
olvas
(read)
+ ható
(able)
+ ság
(ity)
sorstalanság
(fatelessness)
sors
(fate) 1
+ talan
(less)
+ ság
(ness)
félénkség
(fearfulness)
fél
(fear)
+ énk
(ful)
+ ség
(ness)
telefonáló
(phone caller)
telefon
(phone)
+ ál
(call)
+ ó
(er)
dicsőítés
(glorification)
dicső
(glory)
+ ít
(fy)
+ és
(cation)

1: Sorstalanság is the title of a famous Hungarian Nobel prize winner novel and the movie directed of it

Deriving non-finite verbs

There are 4 kinds of non-finite verbs in Hungarian:

  1. Infinitive (or Nounal Participle)
  2. Participle (or Adjectival Participle)
  3. Adverbial Participle
  4. Perfect Participle (or Verbal Participle), this is the 3rd form of the verbs in English
Infinitive * Participle Adverbial Participle Perfect Participle
suffix ~ni ~andó, ~endő ~va, ~ve ~t, ~tt
example elkészíteni
(to create)
elkészítendő
(to be created)
elkészítve
(created)
elkészített
(created)
magyarázni
(to explain)
magyarázandó
(to be explained)
magyarázva
(explained)
magyarázott
(explained)

*: the Infinitive can be conjugated as well In Hungarian, which doesn’t equal to the conjugation of the verb, see the article Auxiliary verbs 

examples:

  • Szeretném elkészíteni a modellt. = I would like to create the modell.
  • Az elkészítendő modell. = The modell to be created.
  • A modell el van készítve. = The modell is created. (meaning: the modell is ready)
  • Az elkészített modell. = The created modell.
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