"Related words" in Finnish and Hungarian

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In the last few years, many people have asked for a list of words that are related in Finnish and Hungarian. This is an attempt at a simple answer. It might be useful, however, to read the preliminaries before jumping to the list. These words, and more useful background knowledge, can also be found in many books mentioned in the bibliography at the end of this file.

The following list is neither comprehensive nor unquestionable. Many words could perhaps be added, some etymologies are uncertain or different linguists have different opinions about them. We should also bear in mind that this is not a comprehensive list of "old Finno-Ugrian words". Some words like Hung. toll 'feather' have cognates in almost all other FU languages but, as it happens, not in Finnish; likewise, Finnish has obviously ancient words whose cognate just happens to be missing in Hungarian.

The list may, however, be useful in illustrating a few important points:

 

In the following lists, the Finnish word comes first. The meaning of the Hungarian word has only been given if it differs clearly from the meaning of its Finnish cognate.

Verbs

(For Finnish verbs, the bare stem has been given, instead of the usual dictionary form (1st infinitive); for Hungarian, I have mostly used the dictionary form (3rd sg), which is either unsuffixed or carries the "reflexive" 3sg ending -ik.)

elä- 'live' - él 'live'
ime- 'suck' - (Old Hungarian) emik (cf. csecsemõ 'baby')
ui- 'swim' - úszik
katoa-
'disappear' - hagy 'leave'
kuole- 'die' - hal
mene-
'go' - men-, megy-
nuole-
'lick' - nyal
niele-
'swallow' - nyel
pelkää-
'be afraid' - fél
puno-
'plait' - fon
tunte
- 'know' - tud
anta-
'give' - ad
juo-
'drink' - iszik, iv-
syö-
'eat' - eszik, ev-
kulke-
'go forth' - halad
kuuntele
- 'listen' - hall 'hear'
kytke- 'link, tie together, connect' - köt 'tie'
löytä- 'find' - lel
lyö-
'hit, strike' - 'shoot'
lykkä- 'shove, push' - lök
näke-
'see' - néz 'look'
pitä- 'keep, hold; like' - fûz 'tie, connect'
sula- 'melt' - olvad
teke-
'make, do' - te(sz)
tuo-
'bring' - toj- 'lay an egg'
vetä- 'pull' - vezet 'lead'
vie- 'take away' - vi(sz)
ole-
'be' - val-, vol-

 

Words for spatial and other relationships

ala- 'under, down' - al-
ete-
'before, in front' - el-
myö-
(as in myötä 'alongside, with') - mög- 'back, behind'
vii(meinen) 'last' - vég 'end'

 

Relatives and other people

appi 'father-in-law' - (dial.) ipa
miniä
'daughter-in-law' - meny
?nainen
'woman', ?neiti 'maiden' - 'woman'
vävy 'son-in-law' -
orpo
'orphan' - árva (an old Indo-European loanword in Finno-Ugric, related to Engl. 'orphan' and others)
poika 'boy, son' - fi(ú)

 

Artefacts, cultural items

vyö 'belt' - öv
jousi
'bow' - íj
nimi
'name' - név
ikä
'age' - év 'year'
arvo 'value' - ár 'price'
nysi (dial.) 'shaft' - nyél
nuoli
'arrow' - nyíl
vaski
'copper' - vas 'iron'
vuode 'bed' - ágy
kota
'hut' - ház 'house'
kunta 'community' - had 'army'
liemi 'broth' - 'broth, sap, juice'
pato 'dam' - fal 'wall'
pata 'pot' - fazék
solmu
'knot' - csomó
voi
'butter' - vaj

 

Nature, animals, terrain

joki 'river' - -jó (in the names of some rivers, like Sajó)
kuu 'moon' - ho(ld)
kala
'fish' - hal
pesä
'nest' - fészek
puu
'tree' - fa
vesi
'water' - víz
onsi (ontto, ontelo)
'hollow' - odú
'night' - éj
jää
'ice' - jég
kivi
'stone' -
koi
'dawn' - haj(nal)
kyy
'viper' - kígyó 'snake'
mehiläinen 'bee' - méh
mesi
'honey' - méz
pilvi
'cloud' - felhõ
pyy
'grouse, partridge' - fogoly
sää
'weather' - ég 'sky'
säynävä (a kind of fish) - õn
siili
'hedgehog' - sün(disznó)
salava
'elm' - szil(fa)
sarvi
'horn' - szarv (an ancient Indo-European loanword)
syksy 'autumn' - õsz
hiiri
'mouse' - egér
tyvi
'stem, base, trunk' -
täi
'louse' - tetû
talvi
'winter' - tél

 

Body parts

jänne 'sinew, tendon' - ideg 'nerve'
kusi 'urine' - húgy
kyynel
'tear' - könny
maksa
'liver' - máj
syli
'lap, fathom' - öl
silmä
'eye' - szem
aivot
'brain' - agy
jalka
'foot, leg' - gyalog 'on foot'
kuu (dial.) 'tallow, fat' - háj
kyynär(pää)
'elbow' - könyök
käsi
'hand' - kéz
löyly
'steam (in the sauna)' [originally: 'breath'?] - lélek 'soul'
pii (dial.) "tooth" (e.g. of a comb) - fog 'tooth'
pää 'head' - fõ, fej
suoni
'vein' - ín
sappi
'gall' - epe
sydän
'heart' - szív
veri
'blood' - vér
olka
'shoulder' - váll
ydin
'marrow' - velõ

 

Qualities

hupa 'little, soon-to-be-consumed' - sovány 'thin'
täysi 'full' - tele
uusi
'new' - új

 

Numbers

kaksi '2' - kettõ
kolme
'3' - három
neljä
'4' - négy
viisi
'5' - öt
kuusi
'6' - hat
sata
'100' - száz (from Indo-European)

 

Further reading

Abondolo, Daniel (ed.): The Uralic Languages. London: Routledge, 1998.
-- The most up-to-date general survey on our language family (but with relatively little emphasis on etymology!).
Benkõ, Loránd (Hg.): Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Ungarischen. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1992-1997.
-- The newest etymological dictionary of Hungarian; the treatment of the ancient FU vocabulary relies largely on the UEW.
Bereczki Gábor: A magyar nyelv finnugor alapjai. Budapest: Universitas, 1995.
-- Revised edition of a popular university coursebook on the prehistory of Hungarian.
Campbell, Lyle: Historical linguistics. An introduction. Edinburgh: University Press 1998.
-- One of the many existing good introductions to historical linguistics, with some special emphasis on Uralic (especially Finnish).
Collinder, Björn: Fenno-Ugric Vocabulary. An Etymological Dictionary of the Uralic Languages. Uppsala, 1955.
-- Somewhat outdated and extremely concise, originally intended as an appendix for a comparative grammar.
Csepregi Márta: A finn mint rokon nyelv. Budapest: Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó, [3rd ed.] 1997.
-- Coursebook for Hungarians getting acquainted with Finnish.
Csepregi Márta (szerk.): Finnugor kalauz. Budapest: Panoráma, 1998.
-- Up-to-date survey of the Finno-Ugrian languages and peoples for modern Hungarian laymen.
Häkkinen, Kaisa: Mistä sanat tulevat. Suomalaista etymologiaa. Helsinki: SKS, 1990.
-- Principles and examples of etymology for Finnish laymen.
Häkkinen, Kaisa : Esisuomalainen pyyntikulttuuri ja maanviljely sanastohistorian kannalta. - In: Paul Fogelberg (ed.), Pohjan poluilla. Suomalaisten juuret nykytutkimuksen mukaan. Bidrag till kännedom av Finlands natur och folk 153. Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1999.
-- A concise analysis of the FU word stock as reflecting the culture of our prehistoric ancestors.
Janhunen, Juha: Uralilaisen kantakielen sanastosta. - Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne 77. Helsinki 1982.
-- A seminal paper on the reconstructions of Proto-Uralic vocabulary.
Kulonen, Ulla-Maija: Johdatus unkarin kielen historiaan. Helsinki: SKS, 1993.
-- Introduction to the history of the Hungarian language for Finns.
Laakso, Johanna: Karhunkieli. Pyyhkäisyjä suomalais-ugrilaisten kielten tutkimukseen. Helsinki: SKS, 1999.
-- An "easy introduction" to Finno-Ugristics for Finnish laymen.
A magyar szókészlet finnugor elemei. Etimológiai szótár. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1967-1978.
-- Hungarian etymological dictionary.
Rédei, Károly (& al.): Uralisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1988.
-- The etymological dictionary of reconstructible Finno-Ugric word stock, with reconstructed protoforms as headwords.
Rédei Károly: Õstörténetünk kérdései. A nyelvészeti dilettantizmus kritikája. Budapest: Balassi Kiadó, 1998.
-- A short survey of the Finno-Ugrian languages and their historical relatedness, with special emphasis on Hungarian, and devastating criticism of the "alternative" views (e.g. "theories" of Hungaro-Sumerian or Hungaro-Turkic relationship).
Sammallahti, Pekka: Historical phonology of the Uralic languages. - In: Denis Sinor (ed.), The Uralic languages. Description, history and foreign influences. Leiden - New York - København - Köln: Brill, 1988.
-- This article includes a concise list of reconstructible Uralic and Finno-Ugrian word stock.
Suomen sanojen alkuperä. Etymologinen sanakirja. Helsinki: SKS, 1992-.
-- The most up-to-date etymological dictionary of Finnish; the third and last part due to appear soon.
 
 

Finno-Ugric FAQ.
Other FU links.

Updated September 2000.

johanna.laakso@helsinki.fi