Monday, January 3, 2011

Hungarian 101

My Hungarian lessons began with Rita, one of the players on my team, with a little help from her husband Zoli.
Rita invited me to her home for New Years Eve day lunch, where we were entertained by her son Nandi. Her husband is obsessed with American sports, and almost died when I showed him pictures of me andthe UT volleyball team on the sidelines at the Bucs/Jags preseason game. I showed them both pictures of my university and the sights around Tampa. Lunch was really good, included lots of Hungarian dishes.

As the meal wound down, Rita and I grabbed out the Hungarian/English dictionary and my Hungarian phrase book and tried to piece together sentences to further communicate to one another. This led to my first, of what I assume will be many, Hungarian lesson.

After going over the alphabet, and stuttering over the many vowels, we decided to take on some actual words. She taught me to count to 10, the days of the week, and the months. Once we started going, she explained more about how to pronounce each letter as it is written, which made for a somewhat easier time. Occasionally Zoli would shout a correction from the other room, and we would burst into laughter. Their "c" is pronounced "ts", their "s" = "sh", "sz" = "s", "cs" = "ch"; so as you can see there is a lot of discrepancy between our alphabet and theirs, let alone a doubled amount of vowels.he words are spelled as phonetically American as possible, but was still difficult for some of their letters, as we don’t have that similar of sounds in the US.

What time is is? – ha’ny o’ra
Who? – ki
What? – mi
Where? – hol
When? – mikor
Why? – mie’rt
How much? – mennyi
Where is the toilet? – hol van a ved tse

My personal favorite:
I don’t understand – nem e’rtem

I speak English – Bese’lek angolul

Happy New Year - boldog eu yevet

Thank you – kosonom
Please – ke’rem
You’re welcome – si’ veshen

I'm off to a slow start, not sure I'll actually be able to retain all that much, but it's only been 5 days, so there is still plenty of time.

"Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” - Benjamin Lee Whorf

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