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German genealogy: Guide to Eastern European Languages



  1. S and SZ. S in Hungarian is pronounced as English "sh", whereas "sz" in Hungarian is pronounced "s".
  2. CS in Hungarian is pronounced as "ch" in English.
  3. GY in Hungarian is pronounced as "dhy"; Magyar for example is pronounced "MUH-dhyar".
  4. Final Y in Hungarian is not pronounced if it is in any of these combinations: "-gy", "-ly", "-ny" or "-ty", where it instead palatalizes the preceding consonant. (There's no need to explain that, since it won't affect German/Hungarian spelling except for the fact that the "y" probably won't be there in German.) Otherwise, Y is pronounced in the same way as the letter "i" in Hungarian.
Here are some examples:
  1. A surname may be spelled SZINGER instead of the expected SINGER.
  2. The town of Bacs is pronounced "botch".
  3. The word (and name) Nagy (meaning large) is pronounced "NUD-yah".
Like German, Hungarian has an umlaut, but also has a single and double acute, which look like little slash marks over the vowel. One simple solution in typing these would be to use the apostrophe mark for the single acute, and two apostrophes as the double acute.


  1. döb for umlaut
  2. d'ob for single acute
  3. d''ob for double acute

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The diphthong "ea" is pronounced "ya" in English.

Two vowels have diacritics: a(breve) and i(carat). The pronunciation is virtually identical: schwa, or "uh" as in the English word "but".

The cedilla (tail) is found on two consonants:

t(cedilla) = ts in English s(cedilla) = sh

"c" before "e, i" is pronounced "ch", before other vowels as "k".

Final "i" is most often dropped in pronunciation, as say in Bucures(cedilla)ti, pronounced Bukuresht.

Romanian to English On-line Dictionary

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For transcription purposes, the only difference between the Serbian and Croatian variants is alphabet: Croatian uses the Roman alphabet, and Serbian uses the Cyrillic. The comments below, using Roman letters, apply equally to the Serbian Cyrillic.

Except for "c" = "ts", only letters with diacritics in the Roman alphabet present problems. The chief diacritic is a "hacek", a small "v" over the letter.

  • c(hacek) = ch (English)
  • s(hacek) = sh
  • z(hacek) = zh, pronounced like "s" in "pleasure"
  • The letter "c" with an acute accent is, for transliteration purposes, also "ch".
  • The letter "d" can be crossed like "t", and in pronounced like English "j".

    Although there is no problem in pronounciation, if looking words up in the dictionary, one should know that "lj" and "nj" are separate letters, and follow "l" and "n" respectively.

    One orthographic peculiarity which may cause problems in transliteration or looking words up in a dictionary is that Serbo-Croatian has "voicing assimilation." Almost all consonants occur in pairs, and how a consonant is voiced (the degree to which the vocal chords vibrate) depends on the following consonant. Modern Serbo-Croatian orthography reflects this, so that different forms of the same word or same part of a word may be spelled differently than other forms. The following is a list of consonant pairs.

  • b - p
  • d - t
  • g - k
  • s - z
  • c - dz
  • c(acute) - d(crossed)
  • c(hacek) - dz(hacek)
  • s(hacek) - z(hacek)
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    Last update: 25-May-98 (rmh)
    Thanks to Gordon McDaniel for authoring the first version of this guide.
    Thanks also to Frank Nagy, George Topolcsanyi
    Created by: Rick Heli
    Please forward any comments and additions to this WWW-page (include the name of this web page) to WebMaster