posted on Jun, 2 2004 @ 01:36 AM
Hungarian is fascinating, among other reasons because it's a language isolate. Hungarian and its distant language cousins in Finland and Estonia are
the only Uralic languages in all of Europe.
Just listening to Hungarian you can tell that it's very different from most other languages. Linguists place Hungarian closest to Khanti and Mansi,
two obscure languages spoken in western Siberia between the Urals and the Ob river. It is possible that this is evidence for an Asian origin of the
Hungarians. However, the related Finnic languages seem to have been in Europe before the Huns settled in present-day Hungary. Going back many
thousands of years to the time before Indo-European language had reached Europe, there may have been proto-Finnic speakers in the north and
proto-Basque speakers in the south. Perhaps others can contribute more. I can tell you one thing though- Finnish and Hungarian don't sound anything
All these various groups of language-speakers came in waves over time, and it wasn't necessarily one group displacing another or one big military
invasion. More commonly, small bands of newcomers would mingle and over time one or more cultures/languages would emerge from the new demographics.
So rather than killing off every last one of the previous inhabitants, the subsequent generations just began to speak the language of the new people.
Example: the Gallic/Celtic speaking people of France never died out and they weren't displaced by a new people. They just took up the habit of
speaking their own dialect of Latin, which eventually became known as modern French. What about Brittany, you might ask? Well, that area was truly
isolated and did preserve a bit of Celtic language, but modern Breton also has "modern" influence from Welsh and Cornish who emigrated there during
the middle ages.