Languages of Hungary

Languages of Hungary
OfficialHungarian
Minority
ForeignEnglish (20%)[1]
German (11%)
SignedHungarian Sign Language
Trilingual (Hungarian, Romanian, German) table in Gyula (meaning "social health insurance")

The languages spoken in Hungary include Hungarian, recognized minority languages and other languages.


Minority Languages of Hungary[edit]

Minority languages are spoken in a number of autochthonous settlements in Hungary. The country is a signatory of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages which was ratified at 26 April 1995 under which 14 minority languages are recognized and protected.[2] Official linguistic rights of 13 recognized minorities are regulated by the Act on the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities which provide measures for development of cultural and educational autonomy.[3] Levels of linguistic assimilation among Hungarian ethnic minorities are high.[3] At the time of 2001 Census, out of the 314 059 citizens belonging to ethnic minorities 135 787 stated minority language as their primary language.[3]

Under the terms of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages Hungary is providing special protection for Armenian, Boyash, Bulgarian, Croatian, German, Greek, Polish, Romani, Romanian, Rusyn, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian and Ukrainian language.[2]

Language Families[edit]

Uralic languages
Hungarian: The only official language of the country, unrelated to any of the neighbouring languages. It is the first language of some 98.9% of the total population.
Indo-European languages
German: spoken by the German minority, especially in and around Mecsek Mountains, but also in other parts of the country. (Historically, the Swabian German dialect was spoken in Hungary.)
Slovak: spoken by the Slovak minority, especially in the North Hungarian Mountains and around Békéscsaba.
Serbian: spoken by the Serbian minority, especially in and around Bácska, but also on other territories of Southern Hungary.
Slovene: spoken by the Slovene minority, especially around the Slovenian border, Western Hungary.
Croatian: spoken by the Croatian minority, especially in Southern Hungary.
Romanian: spoken by the Romanian minority, especially in and around Gyula, Eastern Hungary.
Romani: spoken by some members of the Roma minority throughout the country.
Turkic languages
Cuman: once spoken in Cumania region in Hungary. It is a Kipchak language closely related to other Kipchak languages like Crimean Tatar. The last speaker died in 1777.
Kipchak: once spoken in Eastern Europe which includes Hungary. It is the lingua franca of the Golden Horde controlled areas. It is the ancestor of all Kipchak languages today, which also includes the extinct Cuman.
Sign languages
Hungarian Sign Language: spoken by around 9,000 people. It belongs to French Sign Language family.

Population by knowledge of languages[edit]

Language Number of speakers (2011)[4][5] Note
Hungarian 9,896,333 (99.6%) The only official language of Hungary, of which 9,827,875 people (98.9%) speak it as a first language, while 68,458 people (0.7%) speak it as a second language.
English 1,589,180 (16.0%) Foreign language
German 1,111,997 (11.2%) Foreign language and co-official minority language
Russian 158,497 (1.6%) Foreign language
Romanian 128,852 (1.3%) Foreign language and co-official minority language
French 117,121 (1.2%) Foreign language
Italian 80,837 (0.8%) Foreign language

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SPECIAL EUROBAROMETER 386 Europeans and their Languages" (PDF). ec.europa.eu. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-01-06.
  2. ^ a b "Hungary needs to strengthen use of and access to minority languages". Council of Europe. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Antal Paulik and Judit Solymosi. "Language policy in Hungary" (PDF). Noves SL. Revista de Sociolingüística. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  4. ^ Hungarian census 2011 / Országos adatok / 1.1.4.2. A népesség nyelvismeret és nemek szerint (population by spoken language), 1.1.6.1 A népesség anyanyelv, nemzetiség és nemek szerint (population by mother tongue and ethnicity) (Hungarian)
  5. ^ Note: percentages do not add up to 100% as, according to the census, large proportion of Hungarians speak more than one language (native and a second language). Not all languages are shown.