tips on deciphering foreign texts #hungary


Milton Hubsher <milton@...>
 

Folks,

Tips on gleaning information >from text written by your ancestors on post
cards, in letters, etc.

Regardless of whether or not you can read Hungarian (I myself can only
barely read Hungarian) or how large your Hungarian vocabulary is (mine
is very limited), it is possible to get lots of information >from text
written by our ancestors.

First, a major clue that can be used to prove whether or not a given
word is Hungarian are the letters used. (This may be the case for other
languages as well, but I am not familiar enough with other languages to
comment. I do know, however, that "sch" is unique to German.)

If the word contains certain letters of the Hungarian
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_alphabet>alphabet
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_alphabet>, that are unique to
Hungarian, it is a good bet that the word is Hungarian.

1. Consonants: The letters unique to Hungarian are most of the
digraphs <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digraph_%28orthography%29>
(cs dz gy ly ny sz ty and zs), the tri
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigraph_%28orthography%29>graph
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigraph_%28orthography%29> (dzs).
The thing that make these letters unique to Hungarian actually
letters of the Hungarian alphabet, not simply two (2) letters that
happen to come together.
2. Vowels: These letters seem to be vowels with a diacritical marks
(commonly referred to as accents). They are á é í ó ú ő (/ő/) and
ű. Granted some of these symbols can be found in other languages.
More often then not, however, the symbol is not a letter of the
alphabet, as in Hungarian, but a vowel with a diacritical mark. In
any case the ő (/ő/) and ű are definitely unique to Hungarian.

Another big help is, once you have transcribed the text, the transcribed
word(s) can then be used as key search words with any one of the
Internet search engines. This can reveal many clues about the text. In
fact a transcribed word may seem like nonsense to you but turn out to be
the name of a place in Europe.

Hoping this will help.

--
Milton

Moderator: Please contact Milton off-list if you have questions.

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