I was told by somebody who has lived near Hungary that she thought that Hungarian and Turkish were related, and that their languages are very similar. A brief google search seems to support this.

However, that article does say that this grouping is "criticized by some contemporary linguists" and the article doesn't seem to be linked from the main Turkish language page (it is on the Hungarian one though). The main consensus seems to be that Hungarian is more related to Finnish than Turkish as well.

Today, are these considered related languages in terms of origin? And which is Hungarian really closer to, Finnish or Turkish? (Hungary seems ethnically closer to Turkey but it's not quite geographically close to either)

  • The proposed "Finno-Ugric" grouping does not include Turkish at all, so I don't see how it is relevant to your question. Dec 16, 2018 at 11:21
  • @Riker you are right, I should have just added it as a comment. There is a Wikipedia article about the Turkish words in the Hungarian language, but it's available in Hungarian language only ( hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/… ).
    – Botond
    Dec 16, 2018 at 13:17
  • @Botond thanks, that's a pretty interesting read (fed through google translate).
    – user23398
    Dec 16, 2018 at 17:15
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    Much of Hungary was ruled by the Ottomans for over a century, and there are a fair number of loanwords dating from this time.
    – Matt
    Dec 16, 2018 at 17:28
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    @Matt In fact, I had expected more and more interesting loanwords. Almost all loans seem to refer to Islam, Tukish bureaucracy, and some food items. Nothing touching the core vocabulary. Dec 18, 2018 at 12:49

4 Answers 4


Turkish and Hungarian are typologically similar: They are both agglutinating languages with vowel harmony and rather rich vowel inventories.

They are, to our best knowledge, not genetically related. Hungarian belongs to the Uralic language family including Finnish, Estonian, Sami, and about a dozen languages spoken in Russia. Turkish belongs to the Turkic language family. Many linguists in the past and in the present have speculated about larger language families comprising both Uralic and Turkic, but no demonstrable regular correspondences have been found so far.

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    It worth mentioning that "Hungarian is a Turkic language" is still a popular theory in Hungary. It is, of course, completely unfounded and is espoused for ideological reasons, but the situation can be confusing for laypeople.
    – user54748
    Dec 15, 2018 at 21:01
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    @user54748 What ideological reasons do people espouse it for, anyway? I find it kind of surprising that Hungarians would generally want to associate themselves more closely with Turkish peoples (I mean, feel a close cultural and/or historical connection)...?
    – Owen_AR
    Dec 15, 2018 at 23:04
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    @Owen_R because of pan-Turanism: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turanism
    – ubadub
    Dec 16, 2018 at 3:31
  • I've decided to accept this answer since it seems to be the most accurate and up-to-date one.
    – user23398
    Dec 19, 2018 at 0:01
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    When it comes to central europe, Huns arrived to the region sooner than Ugric tribes. There was long historical dispute with legitimacy of hungarian political regime. Many neigbouring societies, notably germanic, slavic and latin considered them to be invaders into the region. In order to resist this pressure, hungarian political leaders claimed, hungarians are descendants of turkish tribe called Huns, which invaded the few centuries ago. This claim improved legimitimacy. However, as stated in the answer Hungarian language and Turkic language are from very different language families.
    – Fusion
    Dec 12, 2020 at 10:57

Hungarian belongs to the Ugric subgroup of the Uralic language family, while Turkish belongs to the controversial Altaic language family. Nevertheless, Hungarian has had some kind of contact with Turkic languages, hence the influence in its vocabulary. However language relationship cannot be based on loanwords and contact based influence, but systematic correspondences in phonology (regular sound laws) and grammar. So, Hungarian is undoubtedly closer to Finnish as a member of the same language family, but not closer than what Spanish is to Welsh (both Indo-European languages in different subgroups). Hungarian is closer to other Ugric languages which like Finnish and Estonian belong to the Uralic language family.

  • @Riker Do you refer to Hungarian and Finnish specifically?
    – Midas
    Dec 15, 2018 at 22:12
  • @Riker: To get a simple idea you can look at this: helsinki.fi/~jolaakso/f-h-ety.html I will have a look for something on grammar that is not too complicated.
    – Midas
    Dec 15, 2018 at 22:31
  • @Riker: It is hard to get simple when it comes to grammar comparisons. Anyway, here is another paper analyzing grammatical aspects of Finno-Ugric. On page 44 you will also find a tree of the Uralic family. This is going to give you an idea on the linguistic distance between these languages. kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/1811/81543/…
    – Midas
    Dec 15, 2018 at 22:53
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    Re: "Hungarian is [...] not closer [to Finnish] than what Spanish is to Russian": That seems like a rather bold claim. I'm not even sure quite how one would assess it. Do you have a reference?
    – ruakh
    Dec 16, 2018 at 6:59
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    Looking at some dates for the protolanguages, the split between Finnish and Hungarian is significantly younger (ca. 2000 BCE) than the one between Spanish and Russian (ca. 3500 BCE) Dec 16, 2018 at 21:44

Hungarian and Turkish are not proven yet to be related, and likely aren't. Hungarian is Finno-Ugric like Finnish, Estonian, Khanty, Mansi, Udmurt, Komi, Sami etc., though with very distinctive features as those languages evolved separately for centuries, even millenia. On the other hand, Turkish is Turkic like Kazakh, Azerbaijani, Tatar, Uyghur etc. They do have in common agglutination, which is very prevalent and works somewhat similarly in both languages, as well as vowel harmony, and Hungarian has borrowed a lot of Turkic words between the Ottoman rule and contacts between the early tribes of the Magyars, but this isn't sufficient to establish a common origin between these two languages.

The reason many Hungarians seem to believe Hungarian and Turkish are related is that this narrative is pushed by the Hungarian government, and Viktor Orbán in particular, who really wants to tighten up his relations with Turkey. Hungary also joined the Turkic Council as an observer state.


Hungarian belongs to Uralic language family. Turkish belongs to Altaic language family. Both language groups belong to super Uralic-Altaic language family. Uralic-Altaic languages have many commonalities;

  • Suffix oriented
  • Vowel harmony
  • No genders like he, she or it
  • No plural form after numbers, like five cow
  • Special words for people older than you

Both languages are Asiatic, they have originated from close locations. There are cultural similarities as both are from almost same steppes.

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    That language family (uralic-altaic) is not used anymore, since it has too many flaws. Do you have a better source?
    – user23398
    Dec 17, 2018 at 0:28
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    Also, do you have a source for the "originated from close locations" part?
    – user23398
    Dec 17, 2018 at 0:29
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    Agglutination (suffixes) is by no means indicator of relationship. Georgian is agglutinative but has no relation to Turkish nor Hungarian. There are numerous agglutinative languages that have no relation at all. Also Altaic with exception to Turkic and Mongolian is a controversial group, which makes Ural-Altaic even more controversial. I would put a note on that if I were you, to avoid downvoting. Those are my five cents.
    – Midas
    Dec 17, 2018 at 5:41
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    @ilhan Sigh. Schools should not teach unsound theories long falsified by scientific standards. Dec 18, 2018 at 13:13
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    @jknappen I don't know what you mean "unsound theories" because I've never seen them. Here I've provided 2 university sources. Additionally I can say that there is no mention that Ural-Altay family has only one root, they could have 2 or 3 or 4. However because of grammatical similarities they are considered one super group. I believe the denial of Ural-Altay family is due to word based mindset in Indo-European languages. Indo-European speakers cannot gasp the importance of suffixes, vowel harmony, no-genders, no-plurals, and dozen more. They think that these are trivial components.
    – ilhan
    Dec 18, 2018 at 18:59