Page:Poetry of the Magyars.djvu/35

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INTRODUCTION.

the δ of the modern Greeks. If the Polish and Bohemian tongues present a strange appear- ance to the eye, it arises from the blending to- gether of many consonants to represent a single sound. The letters c, q, and x, are wanting to the Magyar alphabet. Some of the inconveni- ences of the small number of letters are avoided by accents. In the word értelëm, for example, the e has three distinct sounds.


The introduction of an accent frequently gives a word a completely different signification.—Sas, eagle; sás, reed; szü, woodworm; szű, heart; por, dust; pór peasant.


So again many words have two meanings; as, idö́, time and weather; hét, week and seven; nap, sun and day.—These, however, bear the ob- vious names of original identity.


The native Hungarian cannot combine two consonants in the same syllable. The words in the language which present such a combination are foreign. The presence of many consonants in a word is always a source of difficulty to foreigners, and is one of the main sources of mo- difications. In Spanish, s followed by a conso- nant has almost always an e, making another syllable before it; as, estrada for strada; espada, for spada: so the Magyar iskola for school.