Learn Hungarian Tutorial for Beginners

A fun and informal guide to the Hungarian language.
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  • Lectures 39
  • Length 3 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
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About This Course

Published 2/2013 English

Course Description

 A fun and informal guide to the Hungarian language. We introduce you to Hungarian gently, starting with the words you'll need the most, and gradually building up your vocabulary and understanding of Hungarian grammar. You'll learn the basics of Hungarian in a natural way, enabling you to accomplish many basic tasks in Hungarian and providing you with a solid basis for further study.

What are the requirements?

  • Understanding of English

What am I going to get from this course?

  • understand and be able to speak basic Hungarian
  • be able to accomplish basic tasks in Hungary without resorting to English

What is the target audience?

  • Tourists thinking of taking a holiday in Budapest or Hungary
  • Anyone who wants an introduction to Hungarian
  • Anyone who enjoys a challenge!

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Basic words and phrases, and getting around Budapest
03:59
How to say hello in Hungarian. In this tutorial we’ll see how to say three highly useful greetings in the Hungarian language. We managed to keep from laughing through large parts of the video, although not all of it.


Words in this Tutorial

Jó reggelt
Good morning

Jó napot
Good day

Jó estét
Good evening

03:11
Let’s look at how to say “thankyou” in Hungarian. After all, when you buy your first coffee, glass of wine or beer in Hungary, you’ll want to be able to say thankyou. We’ll also take a look at how to make thankyou sound even nicer and how to make it less formal, depending what appeals to you the most at the time.


Words in this Tutorial

köszönöm
thankyou

köszönöm szépen
thankyou very much (literally, thankyou nicely)

köszi
thanks

02:08
Test your knowledge of the words you've learned so far!
02:14
How to say three vital words in Hungarian; yes, no and please. Without these words, you’re going to be pretty stuck when you get off the plane in Budapest. Unless you just shout loudly in English all the time instead, of course.

Words in this Tutorial

igen
yes

nem
no

kérek
please

03:47
How to say beer, wine and coffee in Hungarian. Once you know these, you won’t need to be thirsty in Budapest! Also some discussion of accents.


Words in this Tutorial

sör
beer

bor
wine

kávé
coffee

Test 2
01:33
03:29
Beginning numbers with the highly-useful one, two and three in Hungarian. You’ll need these even if all you want to do is order beer. Note: “a” and “one” are the same in Hungarian.


Words in this Tutorial

egy
one

kettő / két
two

harom
three

03:20
Now we can tackle our very first full sentences: asking for drinks in Hungarian. We’ll also take our first look at an interesting feature of the Hungarian language; the final “t” that marks out the object of the sentence.


Words in this Tutorial

Kérek egy bort
A wine, please

Kérek egy sört
A beer, please

Kérek egy kávét
A coffee, please

01:24
A test on "one, two, three" and buying drinks.
03:25
Let’s look at how to say stuff like “I am American” in Hungarian. We won't cover many nationalities in this tutorial, but enough for you to get the gist.


Words in this Tutorial

Amerikai vagyok
I am American

Angol vagyok
I am English

Magyar vagyok
I am Hungarian

Olasz vagyok
I am Italian

05:57

In this tutorial we’ll take a look at some dialogue that might take place if you’re in a shop. I’m not sure what Zsófi’s laughing about in this tutorial …


Words in this Tutorial

Mit adhatok
What can I give you
[What can I do for you?]

Tessék
Please?
[What can I do for you?]

Egy sört kérek
A beer please

Két kavét kérek
Two coffees please

Még valamit?
Still something?
[Anything else?]

Mást nem, köszönöm
Nothing more, thankyou

Viszont látásra!
Goodbye!
[See you later!]

Viszlát!
Bye!

05:33
We’ve already seen the numbers one, two and three; it’s time to look at the other numbers up till ten in Hungarian, including zero.


Words in this Tutorial

négy
four

öt
five

hat
six

hét
seven

nyolc
eight

kilenc
nine

tíz
ten

03:00
How to ask “what’s your name?” and how to reply to the question in Hungarian.


Words in this Tutorial

Mi a neved?
What is your name?

A nevem …
My name is …

Hogy hívnak
What’s your name?
[literally, "how do they call (you)?"]

Zsófinak hívnak
My name is Zsófi
[literally, "They call (me) Zsófi]

04:51
A tutorial on how to ask and reply to the question “Where are you from?” in Hungarian.


Words in this Tutorial

Honnan jöttél?
Where are you from?

Amerikából jöttem.
I come from America.

Angliából jöttem.
I come from England.

Magyaroszágról jöttem.
I come from Hungary.

02:35
How to ask a Hungarian what their telephone number is; a very useful phrase for making new Hungarian friends.


Words in this Tutorial

Mi a telefonszámod?
What is your phonenumber?

Mi a számod?
What’s your [phone]number?

Note: “mi” does not end in “t” here because it is not the object of the sentence.

The international dialling code for Hungary is +36 (or 0036 on phones with no plus sign).

03:23
Some useful words that you’ll need when you land at the airport in Budapest, including words like “exit”, and “train”!


Words in this Tutorial

kijárat
exit

bejárat
entrance

Note: “ki” means “out” and “be” means out. These are common prefixes for Hungarian words.

tolni
push

húzni
pull

taxi
taxi

busz
bus

vonat
train

05:09
How to say “ticket” in Hungarian and how to get from Budapest airport into the town itself.


Words in this Tutorial

jegy
ticket

vonaljegy
ticket
[literally, "line ticket"]

egy volanjegyet kérek
one ticket please
[Note: jegy becomes jegyet because it is the object in the sentence]

két volanjegyet kérek
two tickets please
[Note: it is not necessary to use the plural form of "jegy"]

Note: Bus 200E takes you from Budapest airport to the Kőbánya Kispest metro station, where you can take a metro into town. You can buy a ticket on the bus. One ticket is good for one journey on the bus or metro.

08:18
A guide to Budapest tourist attractions and how to pronounce their names in Hungarian.


Words in this Tutorial

Parlament
Parliament

Buda, Pest
The two main towns that make up Budapest. Buda is West of the river, Pest north. Buda is quieter and leafier and contains the Fisherman’s Bastion and castle, while Pest is busy and bustling and contains the parliament. Many prefer to live in Buda, although personally I like Pest — it’s more vibrant.

Margit Sziget
Margaret Island, a pretty island in the Danube with lots of trees and flowers.

Margit Híd
Margaret Bridge, from which you can descend to Margaret Island.

Budai Vár
Buda Castle

Fürdő
Bath

Széchenyi Fürdő
Széchenyi Baths, probably the most famous spa bath in Budapest

Gellért Hegy
Gellért Hill (Hegy also means mountain)

Gellért Fürdő
Gellért Baths, the baths at the foot of the hill

Andrássy út
Famous, rather posh tree-lined street in Budapest

Hősök tere
Heroes Square, the big square at the far end of Andrássy út

Lánchíd
Chain Bridge, a very beautiful bridge across the Danube

Duna
Danube, the river

Section 2: Eating Out in Hungary
06:39
In this tutorial we'll look at a small dialogue of the type you might engage in when entering a restaurant. By the end of the tutorial, you will understand the whole dialog!


Dialog in this Tutorial

Egy asztalt kérek, két személyre.
A table for two, please.

Parancsoljon!
Here you go.

Mit szeretnének inni?
What you you like to drink?

Két pohár vörösbort kérünk.
Two glasses of red wine, please.

Discussion

Egy asztalt kérek, két személyre: this means literally, “a table I ask, for two people”. Note that the word for table, asztal, gets a “t” added to the end, because it’s the object of the sentence; the thing the sentence is actually about. The word for person, személy, has “re” added to the end of it. This suffix actually takes the place of the English “for” in this sentence. It’s common in Hungarian to use suffixes where we would use a separate word in English.

Parancsoljon: the waiter uses this word to say something like “there you go” or “here you are”; in other words, “here’s your table”.

Mit szeretnének inni?: we’ve seen mi (what) before; it means “what”. Here it has “t” added to it because it’s the object in the sentence. inni means “to drink”; it’s technically the infinitive form of the verb “to drink”. szeretnének means “would you like”, where the “you” is plural.szeretni actually means to love or like something, while szeret (the “stem” of the verb) means “he/she/it likes”. We’ll get into verb conjugation more later on, but for now it’s enough to note that the  bit added to the stem of this verb is what makes this verb conditional (“would you like” rather than “do you like”), while the ek ending makes it apply to multiple people. It’s common in Hungarian to add multiple suffixes to a word like this. Don’t worry, we’re going to explore this slowly!

09:33

In this tutorial we'll order dessert and ask for the bill! You won't understand the dialog at first, but by the end it'll make sense.

Dialog in this Tutorial

Tessék, az étlap!
The menu, please.

Mit hozhatok?
What can I bring you?

Egy gulyáslevest és egy rakott krumplit kérek!
A goulash soup and a layered potato*, please.

És Önnek mit hozhatok?
And you, what can I bring you?

Egy húslevest és töltött paprikát kérek!
A meat soup and stuffed peppers, please!

*explanations below!

Discussion

Tessék, az étlap!: we’ve seen tessék before; it has several different meanings, many of which can perhaps be best translated by “please”. az means “the”. In Hungarian, we use a to mean “the” before words that start in a consonant, and az before words that start with a vowel (rather like the way “a” can change to “an” in English).

Mit hozhatok?: after some time, the waiter or waitress asks, “what can I bring you?”. The verbhoz means “bring”; by adding hat we turn it into “can bring”, and by further adding ok, we turn it into “I can bring” or “can I bring”. For the moment, it’s enough to understand the explanation of how this works; we’ll return to verb structure later in the course.

Egy gulyáslevest és egy rakott krumplit kérek: the food known as “goulash” (gulyás) in English-speaking countries is usually a stew; in Hungary, the home of goulash, it’s actually usually a soup. leves is the word for soup, and we add a “t” because this is one of the two objects in this sentence. rakott krumplit means literally “layered potato” (krumpli means “potato”). This is a delicious Hungarian dish containing potato, Hungarian sausage, boiled eggs and cream. Rakott krumpli is particularly great to eat when it’s cold and you’re very hungry, but it’s good any time of the year too

És Önnek mit hozhatok?: és means “and”, as we’ve seen before. Ön is actually the formal way of saying “you” in Hungarian. You use it with strangers. nek is added to the end where we would prefix the word with “to” in English; so instead of “to you”, Hungarians say “Önnek”.

Egy húslevest és töltött paprikát kérek!: hús means “meat”, but húsleves is actually usually chicken soup. töltött means “stuffed”, and paprika is the Hungarian word for the vegetable we call “sweet pepper” in English. When we add the t to paprika, the vowel sound at the end becomes longer, and we denote this with an accent in writing. So the a at the end of paprikachanges to á. Stuffed peppers is a Hungarian delicacy; the peppers in question are medium-sized sweet yellow peppers, and they are usually stuffed with pork, tomato and other stuff. Delicious!

04:16

Let's order desert! The best bit of any meal ....

Hozhatok desszertet?

Igen, két túrós palacsintát kérünk!

Rögtön hozom.

A számlát kérem!

Parancsoljon!

Köszönjük!

Section 3: Useful Phrases
02:43

In this video we'll look at asking for directions and giving a simple reply.

- Hol van a parlament?

(Where is the parliament?)

- Fordulj jobbra, menj egyenesen, majd fordulj balra! A Parlament a Duna mellett van.

(Turn right, go straight ahead, then turn left! The Parliament is beside the Danube.)

01:07
Let's go through the homework from the directions section! Even if you didn't actually do it, you'll at least gain more understanding of Hungarian from this video.

Where is the supermarket?

Hol van a szupermarket?

Turn left, go straight ahead.

Fordulj balra, menj egyenesen.

Thank you! 

Köszönöm!

03:32

A tutorial on how to talk about stuff you like doing in your free time. Or don't, as the case may be.

 What do you like to do in your free time?

- Mit szeretsz csinálni a szabadidődben?

- I like reading.

- Szeretekolvasni.

- I like playing football.

- Szeretek focizni.

- I like dancing.

- Szeretek táncolni.

- I like drinking.

- Szeretek inni.

 Do you like hiking?

- Szeretsz túrázni?

- Yes, I like hiking.

- Igen, szeretek túrázni.

- No, I don't like hiking.

- Nem szeretek túrázni.

00:59
Time for a review of the last homework!


Do you like dancing?

Szeretsz táncolni?

Yes, I like dancing, and I like drinking.

Igen, szeretek táncolni, és szeretek inni.

Do you like playing football?

Szeretsz focizni?

No, I don't like playing football; I like eating.

Nem szeretek focizni; szeretek enni.

03:05

Let's tackle the numbers up to twenty. They're not too bad, if you've mastered numbers up till ten.

Numbers Up to Twenty

Eleven: tizenegy

Twelve:tizenkettő

Thirteen:tizenhárom

Fourteen: tizennégy

Fifteen:tizenöt

Sixteen: tizenhat

Seventeen:tizenhét

Eighteen:tizennyolc

Nineteen: tizenkilenc

Twenty: húsz

Vocabulary

Apple: alma

Glass: pohár

Flower: virág

Person: ember

Book: könyv

Bottle: üveg

Chair: szék

Scone: pogácsa

Bread: kenyér

Water: víz

Homework

Eleven scones.

Fourteen tickets.

Twelve books.

Twenty chairs.

Fifteen flowers.

Eighteen apples.

02:03

Eleven scones. Tizenegy pogácsa.

Fourteen tickets. Tizennégy jegy.

Twelve books. Tizenkét könyv.

Twenty chairs. Húsz szék.

Fifteen flowers. Tizenöt virág.

Eighteen apples. Tizennyolc alma.

04:44

Although perplexing at first, vowel harmony is used instinctively by Hungarians and is a vital part of the language. Don't worry, it gets easier .... maybe ...

Back vowels

u, ú

o, ó

a, á

Front vowels

i, í

ü, ű

e, é

ö, ő

Rounded

ü, ű

ö, ő

Unrounded

i, í

e, é

Homework

Scone - scones

P_g_cs_ - p_g_csák

Ticket - tickets

J_gy - j_gyek

Book - books

K_nyv - k_nyvek

Chair - chairs

Sz_k - sz_kek

Flower - flowers

V_r_g - v_r_gok

Apple - apples

_lm_ - _lmák

03:55

Pogácsa - pogácsák

o - back

á - back

a - back

Jegy - jegyek

e - front, unrounded

Könyv - könyvek

ö - front, rounded

Szék - székek

é - front, unrounded

Virág - virágok

i - front, unrounded

á - back

alma - almák

a - back

Section 4: More Vowel Harmony: Plurals in Hungarian in Details
05:04

Although the rules for forming plurals might seem complex at first, similar rules are found in many places in the Hungarian language and are actually largely a matter of creating words that "sound right".

Plural Suffixes

-k, -ak, -ok, -ek, -ök

-k

After words ending with a vowel

The last vowel gets lengthened

o => ó

u => ú

a => á

i => í

e = é

ö => ő

ü => ű

Examples

autó => autók (car => cars)

alma => almák (apple => apples)

vessző => vesszők (comma => commas)

bicska => bicskák (pocket knife, pocket knives)

Homework: form the plural of these.

boka (ankle)

könyvelő (bookkeeper)

tégla (brick)

tonna (ton)

eladó (salesperson)

festő (painter)

zsebkendő (handkerchief)

vese (kidney)

tüdő (lung)

autópálya (motorway)

03:01

boka (ankle) => bokák (ankles)

könyvelő (bookkeeper) => könyvelők (bookkeepers)

tégla (brick) => téglák (bricks)

tonna (ton) => tonnák (tons)

eladó (salesperson) => eladók (salespeople)

festő (painter) => festők (painters)

04:58

-ok and -ek

Only for words ending in

consonants (usually)

-ek

● Single-vowel words containing e or é, or

● Multiple-vowel words containing front vowels

Examples -ek

● kés (knife) => kések (knives)

● szék (chair) => székek (chairs)

● .pület (building) => .pületek (buildings)

-ok

● After words containing back vowels, or mixed

back and front

Examples -ok

● ananász (pineapple) => ananászok

(pineapples)

● villamos (tram) => villamosok (trams)

● kabát (coat) => kabátok (coats)

Homework

● szúnyog (mosquito)

● leves (soup)

● lekvár (jam)

● sziget (island)

● sivatag (desert)

● étlap (menu)

02:33

szúnyog (mosquito) => szúnyogok

leves (soup) => levesek

lekvár (jam) => lekvárok

sziget (island) => szigetek

sivatag (desert) => sivatagok

étlap (menu) => étlapok

06:14

-ök and -ak

The last two plural endings to

learn! Used after words ending

in consonants.

-ak

● Single-vowel words containing a or á

● Some multiple-vowel words where the last

vowel is a or á

(This ending is not very common)

Examples -ak

● agy (brain) => agyak

● ház (house) => házak

● fal (wall) => falak

● madár (bird) => madarak (slightly irregular)

-ök

● After words containing only front rounded

vowels; ö, ő, ü, ű

Examples -ök

● kör (circle) => körök

● köröm (fingernail) => körmök (slightly irregular!)

● bőrönd (suitcase) => bőröndök

● rönk (log) => rönkök

Homework

● ágy (bed)

● tök (pumpkin)

● öltöny (suit)

● hal (fish)

● vaj (butter)

● bűn (sin)

02:21

ágy (bed) => ágyak

tök (pumpkin) => tökök

öltöny (suit) => ötönyök

hal (fish) => halak

vaj (butter) => vajak

bűn (sin) => bűnök

Section 5: Verbs and Objects
07:31

Some single consonants in Hungarian are written using two letters in the Latin alphabet (which Hungarians have used for a thousand years or so). They can also be lengthened to create longer sounds.

16:53

Objects

The object is the thing that the subject of the

sentence acts upon.

I drive a car.

I eat an apple every day.

I'm buying a house.

Object Suffixes

● In Hungarian a 't' must be added to the object of

the sentence.

You may also need a linking vowel.

● There are five common endings:

-t, -at, -ot, -et, -öt

-t (first case)

● Add to words ending in vowels. Lengthen the

final vowel if it's short.

alma (apple) => almát

autó (car) => autót

vese (kidney) => vesét

cipő (shoe) => cipőt

-t (second case)

● Add to words ending in s, sz or r.

bőr (skin) => bőrt

sör (beer) => sört

kés (knife) => kést

kolbász (sausage) => kolbászt

hús (meat) => húst

-et (first case)

● After words ending in cs, t, ty, gy, k or m

kert (garden) => kertet

hegy (hill / mountain) => hegyet

szék (chair) => széket

-et (second case)

● After words ending in a double consonant and

containing front vowels.

meggy (sour cherry) => meggyet

több (more) => többet

csekk (bank cheque) => csekket

-ot

● Usually added to words with back or mixed

vowels

pók (spider) => pókot

kabát (coat) => kabátot

virág (flower) => virágot

vonat (tram) => vonatot

-at

● Single-vowel words containing a or á and

ending in a consonant

agy (brain) => agyat

ágy (bed) => ágyat

máj (liver) => májat

vár (castle) => várat

-öt

● Multiple-vowel words containing front rounded

vowels (ö, ő, ü, ű)

bőrönd (suitcase) => bőröndöt

könyök (elbow) => könyököt

főnök (boss) => főnököt

köröm (nail) => körmöt (slightly irregular)

Irregular Objects

● Many words are irregular, so try to learn the

object when you learn the word. e.g. fagyi (icecream)

=> fagyit (“i” does not get lengthened)

● If the last vowel is long, often it will get

shortened: víz (water) => vizet, kerék (wheel)

=> kereket, út (road) => utat

● Single-vowel words ending in a vowel often get

a “v” added and the vowel may be shortened:

kő (stone) => követ, ló (horse) - lovat

Homework

Form the objective version of each of the

following words:

● város (town)

● ország (country)

● kincs (treasure)

● tál (bowl)

● öröm (happiness)

● fa (tree)

01:40

város (town) => várost

ország (country) => országot

kincs (treasure) => kincset

tál (bowl) => tálat

öröm (happiness) => örömöt

fa (tree) => fát

10:29

Finally it's time to get into the admitted complexities of Hungarian verbs. We'll take it slowly! See the attached PDF.

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Instructor Biography

John Purcell, Software Development Trainer

After working as a software developer and contractor for over 14 years for a whole bunch of companies including CSC, Proquest, SPSS and AT&T in the UK and Netherlands, I decided to work full-time as a private software trainer. I now live in the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary, from where I run the website Cave of Programming.

Instructor Biography

Zsófia Schütze, Hungarian teacher

I'm a native Hungarian speaker. I live in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. I’m keen on arts, so in my free time I like drawing, and dancing.

I'm interested in graphology and other cultures, so I'm learning German. I’m a member of a hungarian language exchange club. That’s where I met John, and with a little time we’ve found out that we can work together effectively.

I'm open minded, I'm curious about your opinion, don't hesitate to send me a message and let me know what you think of the course so far.

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