Days of the week in Hungarian

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The days of the week in Hungarian are one of the first things a language learner has to memorize. You will surely use them when visiting Hungary: at a hotel reservation, arranging a trip to Lake Balaton, checking when the shop is open, renting a car, visiting a doctor, etc.

Hungarian Timetable

The word week is called hét in Hungarian, and the same word goes for number sevenjust like in Latin (septimana meaning week, septem meaning seven). This means that you already know how to say week and seven in Hungarian. 🙂

The days of the week don’t start with capital letters, unless situated at the beginning of a sentence. This is what it looks like in writing:

Petra: “- What day is it today, Kriszti? I forgot. 

What day is it today in Hungarian? „- Milyen nap van ma, Kriszti? Elfelejtettem.” 

Kriszti: “- I think it’s Monday.”

I think it’s Monday – in Hungarian „- Azt hiszem, hétfő (van ma).”

Unlike English, the Hungarian language adopted the tradition of taking Monday as the first day of the week (the same goes with Slavic, Baltic and Uralic languages).

It's Monday!

hétfő – Monday 

Hétfő,  the word for Monday literally means the head of the week. It marks the beginning of the week.

kedd – Tuesday  

Kedd, the word for Tuesday meant  the second day, it comes from a shortened form of kettő–kettedik, meaning two-second.

szerda – Wednesday 

Szerda comes from a Slavic form of sreda meaning middle. After borrowing the word from Slavic, Hungarians changed it to szerda, because pronouncing two consonants at the beginning of a word sounds foreign, unnatural.

csütörtök – Thursday “Thursday” pronounced in Hungarian”>

Csütörtök also comes from the Slavic, originally it meant the fourth.

péntek – Friday “Thursday” pronounced in Hungarian”>

Péntek also has Slavic origin, originally it meant the fifth day.

szombat – Saturday “Thursday” pronounced in Hungarian”>

Szombat comes from the Hebrew  sebbath (meaning day for resting), and has been taken over from old Church Slavonic sobot.

vasárnap – Sunday “Thursday” pronounced in Hungarian”>

Vasárnap means market day. Markets were being held at this day in the old days.

The days of the week in Hungarian – everyday usage

 

Monday to Friday socks - illustration for the days of the week in Hungarian

Let’s see some examples of using the days of the week in real-life sentences in Hungarian.

How do we express on from the expression on Monday? This is called the supressive case, and uses

-n -on -en -ön as an ending.

For example:


Cathy comes to visit on Monday – in Hungarian
 Kati hétfőn jön látogatóba. Cathy comes to visit on Monday.


Laci goes to the hospital on Tuesday
 Laci kedden megy a kórházba. Laci goes to the hospital on Tuesday.


Petra has an exam on Wednesday
 Petra szerdán vizsgázik. Petra has an exam on Wednesday.


School starts on Thursday
 Csütörtökön kezdődik az iskola. School starts on Thursday.


I will have a lot of work on Friday
 Pénteken sok munkám lesz. I will have a lot of work to do on Friday.


Julcsi goes to the movies on Saturday
 Julcsi szombaton moziba megy. Julcsi goes to the movies on Saturday.


Vasárnap itthon maradunk. We stay home on Sunday.
 Vasárnap itthon maradunk. We stay home on Sunday.

You can notice that each day got one of these endings: -n , -on, -en, -ön.

How can you know which endings match to each word? There is a rule that determines suffix usage in Hungarian, it is called the vowel harmony.

The vowel a at the end of szerda has turned into its long form á: szerda – szerdán.

“Vasárnap” is the only day that didn’t get any ending, this is an exception.

opening hours in Hungarian

Now you know the words of the week in Hungarian, you can even say a few simple sentences.

You can read the opening hours of the stores, by the way it is called nyitvatartás in Hungarian.

opening-hours-pronunced-in-hungarian nyitvatartásopening hours

closed-pronunced-in-hungarian zárvaclosed

You can always check when your favorite shop is open in Hungary. Have a good time!

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