THE EARLY HUNGARIAN PERIOD
It starts with the separation from the Ugric language community, which happened around 1000 BC upto the conquest of the Carpathian Basin. Unfortunately we have no linguistic records from this age.
During their migrations, the Hungarian people may have enriched the word-stock and grammatical system they inherited from the time of the Finno-Ugric period. This development was encouraged by the changing environment and the influence of the neighbouring peoples. These cultural influences can be followed in the enrichment of the word-stock, which changed in the most flexible way. The numerous loan-words show the intensive connection with the neighbours.
The number of old Turkish loan-words is about 300, but primarily their nature, rather than their quantity, shows what a large cultural impact they had on the Hungarians' education. Compared with former ages, these were words suggesting a radically new way of life.
Words from old Turkic languages were added to the word-stock of animal husbandry, such as: bull, ox, calf, goat, ram, cheese, cottage cheese, wool, hobble, rein, sheepfold, pigsty, pig, hen, camel. The Hungarians received some expressions connected to agriculture from old Turkish languages: barley, wheat, sickle, plough, stubble, to grind, fruit, apple, pear, nut, hop, grapes, wine, pea. Hungarian words referring to trades are: carpenter, furrier, grocer; words in connection with dressing are: gown, velvet, buckle, bead, ring, to suit, mirror. Loan-words in the field of social and religious life are: law, interpreter, witness, peace, wages, loan, mourning, witch, dragon, to enchant and to charm.
Among the Hungarian words for body parts arm, knee, ankle, beard, freckle are of old Turkish origin together with some words indicating qualities: small, tiny, weak, old, blue, yellow, brave and coward.
These words refer to the natural environment, fauna and flora: lion, badger, hawk, vulture, turul, falcon, dogberry, blackthorn, hornbeam, ash, weed, matgrass, stinging-nettle and hemp.
The Hungarians' ancestors were not neighbours with the Persians, but they had business contacts, which is proved by the Hungarian words for customs and fair. They also traded with the Alans of Iran, which is shown by the Hungarian words for bridge and glass. Other Iranian Alan loan-words are the Hungarian equivalents for harness, sword, woman, (reigning princess), rich, cow, milk, butter (grease), felt and ten.
Loan-words in Hungarian give evidence that the Hungarian people had contact with Slavic nations, Slavic languages before the Conquest. Loan-words from those days are: Duna (Danube), Greek, Polish, farm and vaivode.
The Hungarian word-stock was increased by means of derivation and compound words. The former was helped by the newly arising system of formative syllables. At this time the Hungarian words for god, principal, source and power were created by derivation.
The Hungarian phonetic structure has undergone a large change: it became richer, and it seems closer to the present-day consonant system of the Hungarian language. The mixed vowel sound system came into being.
The grammatical system starts to show the bases of our present-day grammar, its characteristic features take shape, based on the Finno-Ugric heritage.
THE OLD HUNGARIAN PERIOD
The old Hungarian period of the history of the Hungarian language begins with the conquest of the Carpathian Basin and ends in 1526. Since linguistic processes take a long time, - and our present research finishes with the beginning of this period -, we can only touch upon the trends of this development. But we must not forget that even if we take the most flexibly changing word-stock, we cannot narrow down the date of the changes to within a few decades, so in many cases it is inevitable not to refer to the linguistic phenomena characteristic of the period after the foundation of the state.
After the conquest the Hungarian people led a semi-nomadic, that is, a rigorous pastoral and agricultural lifestyle parallel to the spread of a new culture. The impact of Byzantine and western Christianity, the animal husbandry and agriculture of the local inhabitants set off a significant intellectual and material development in education in the history of the Hungarian people beginning in the 11th century. Linguistically it appeared first in the word-stock of the Hungarian language.
Many new words were created with the help of word-building methods, mainly by means of word-formation and compound words.
The vocabulary of the settled Hungarians was influenced mostly by the Slavic, the German and the Latin language. Later on Italian and French influence can be perceived. Expressions linked to agriculture and animal husbandry were borrowed mainly from Slavic languages: grain, rye, straw, harrow, scythe, bean, peach, carrot, sheep, ewe, rooster, pigeon, yoke, oxbow, hay and shepherd. Nouns in Hungarian that are attached to trades like cooper, smith, weaver, miller and dammer are of Slavic origin. Words referring to the house were adopted from the local Slavic: kitchen, cellar, window, key, bench, table and lunch. There are many Slav loan-words in the word-stock of the church and of the state: cross, Christian, friar, nun, saint, miracle, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Christmas, emperor, king, to order and work.
From the German language the Hungarians borrowed expressions referring to court and army life: prince, count, fur, armour, visor, lance, siege, fireplace, lute.
The Latin language played an important role in the development of Hungarian literacy, concerning both the style and the representation of writing. They adopted words and expressions referring to religion, the church, and of the state from the Latin: school, cloister, pope, angel, satan, parson, apostle, crown, register.
On the basis of phonetic comparison we know that at the end of the early Hungarian period the number of consonants increased, developing from Finno-Ugric phonemes and phoneme linkages. The phonemes of loan-words were adjusted to the Hungarian phonetic structure. Consonants at the beginning of the old Hungarian period are closer to the present-day consonants in the language.
The old Hungarian period is a period with literary remains in the history of the language, though there was no real Hungarian literacy at that time - however the Hungarians' ancestors may have recorded shorter or longer texts with the help of runic writing. Hungarian literary remains are sporadically preserved in Greek or Latin texts, and original texts have survived from the end of the 12th century.