Having just returned from Budapest, I was happy to rediscover this galloping description of the way it can sound to a foreign – or at least English – ear, with its agreeing vowels and harmonies.  And he’s captured the rhythm perfectly – that ‘dactylic canter’ that many Hungarians use.

‘Then, at the astonishing sound of Magyar – a dactylic canter where the ictus of every initial syllable set off a troop of identical vowels with their accents all swerving one way like wheat-ears in the wind – the scene changed.’


Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts: On foot to Constantinople: from the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube (London: Penguin Books, 1977), p. 229

Photo credit: inside4 at pixabay.com


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