Have I mentioned lately that Hungarian is hard? Very, very hard. But it’s also like a very trippy version of language Clue. A whodunit with what weapon in which room. Because understanding Hungarian is alllllllll about the endings.
I’m going to give you the absolutely easiest example I can.
I make lunch.
This is a fairly easy sentence to create in English, even with a lower level of knowledge of verbs. I is making lunch? No. I making lunch? No. But do a little memorization of the forms and you get it: I make lunch.
Furthermore, in English you signify indefinite/definite with the article: I make lunch. Or, I make THE lunch.
But in Hungarian, you have to add endings to just about everything to signify not only person (I–first person singular) and tense (make—present) but also (lunch/the lunch—indefinite/definite) and (lunch—object). That’s a lot of endings to remember. I won’t mention them all now. It’s too depressing. And this is just for the Indicative.
So here are the words:
root word for to make/do: csinálni
root word for lunch: ebéd
I make (if it’s just lunch): csinálok
I make (if it’s THE lunch): csinálom
lunch (as object): egy ebédet
THE lunch (as object): az ebédet
See how those endings changed?
1st person singular indefinite:
Csinálok egy ebédet.
1st person singular definite:
Csinálom az ebédet.
And what the heck, let’s do 2nd person singular for present/past/future:
Indefinite: You make/made/will make lunch.
Csinálsz egy ebédet
Csináltál egy ebédet
Fogsz csinálni egy ebédet
Definite: You make/made/will make the lunch.
Csinálod az ebédet
Csináltad az ebédet
Fogod csinálni az ebédet
Eighth through twelfth grade I complained about conjugating Latin verbs. Oh, the endings, tear tear, pout pout. Ancient language and all, it’s easy to beat up on. I couldn’t see it then, but my punishment was coming. And it has arrived in the form of learning Hungarian.