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Hungarian TV - best TV to watch to learn language?

I have 60 days to learn Hungarian. I started 5 days ago with 30 minutes a day of Piemsleur and also an iPhone app ( madgar)

Besides my job etc- I'm planning to only listen to Hungarian for the next two months.

I'll study an Hour a day minimum plus 2-3 hours of background tv etc.

Suggestions? They need to be available online - streaming. I see many choices but do t know what the channel number means.

Ideally American tv translated to Hungarian. That would be fabulous!

Posted by
2328 posts

Are you learning to use as a tourist, or for another reason? While it's helpful to know a bit (courtesy words, food, drink, how to ask for directions, perhaps) when travelling to Budapest, it's certainly not a necessity. They are quite delighted/amused when I attempt Hungarian and usually immediately switch to English, perhaps to spare us both more confusion. If venturing outside Budapest it could be helpful.

I have Hungarian heritage so my efforts to learn are both for travel and also as a connection to my roots--it's not an easy language as I'm sure you've realized by now. I started with Pimsleur CDs and also use Duolingo, which I like because it also teaches spelling.

Posted by
13705 posts

It's a simple language ....... if being understood isn't essential. All I can suggest is a lot of YouTube videos. Search in Magyar.

Posted by
4637 posts

I wish you luck. I tried and so far know only few words. Important is egeshegedre (I am sure it's spelled differently in Hungarian) and some curse words which I am not going to put here just in case that some Hungarian would read it.

Posted by
323 posts

It is not a simple language. I am Hungarian.

My suggestion is that you ask around your area or social media and see if there is anyone who speaks Hungarian and have one-on-one conversations with them.

I am Hungarian.
When my friends are traveling to Hungary, they have asked me to help them with practicing words and useful phrases.

Best of luck.

Posted by
13705 posts

I actually found a Hungarian teacher in my home town and i took lessons for about 6 months. Now i understand a tiny, tiny, tiny bit, but I cant pronounce much in an understandable way.

You would think the fact that everyone under 40 speaks English to one degree or another would be helpful, but sometimes.....

So I had an appointment in the far reaches of Buda one afternoon. My significant other and i decided we would take the tram over to Buda, do some shopping and then call a taxi for the trip to the appointment. When the time came near i pulled out my trust cell phone and called City Taxi. Where are you they asked. I turned an looked at the street sign on the building behind me; it read Tölgyfa u B.S.! we were screwed..... There are something like 7 ways to pronounce an "o" and ...... After about five attempts to pronounce it and leaving the dispatcher totally confused i finally suggested that I either walk to a street easier to pronounce or find someone to pronounce it for me. Either way, I would call back. The dispatcher wouldn't have it. He demanded we keep working on it. His English wasn't perfect so even trying to spell it out had its limitations. But eventually I had a shinny new City Taxi parked before me.

The next time this happened i was leaving a hospital in Buda. It was February and colder than owl's snot and i wasn't properly dressed for it. But i had learned my lesson so i walked to the guard at the entrance to the hospital who i quickly discovered spoke no English, and called City Taxi, told the dispatcher that i was about to hand my phone to a stranger, please ask the stranger where i was. Every one got a good laugh and i get home from the hospital without freezing to death.

Posted by
77 posts

Hi everyone, sorry I missed several days. Thank you for your input. I will check more out on youtube. I have been watching educational tv on youtube with dancing dinosaurs speaking in Madgar.

I don't know the one word I need to know (was it a swear word). I can say about 100 words now, but that does not mean that I will understand others when they speak fast (or normal which sounds fast).

This is for personal fun,not business. I know they speak english, but I have found when travelling that people truly enjoy it when others attempt to speak in their language.

I do know how to ask for a glass of wine and a glass of beer now HAHA! I am learning colors on children's television too. I need to watch more. I tell you - the dancing dinosaurs are really funny ;)

I am doing Pimsleur 30 minutes a day (listening) and found NEMO app on Madgar and for $10 I was able to download a bunch of words - which is how i know that i know 100 words. Of course, if not practiced daily, then....

While my husband walks from France to Spain and I plan to meet him in a few months (in the mystery country - eg - Hungary) I plan to immerse myself while at home in Hungarian.

I work a ton so I consider this a way to focus on non-work and it's really fun!

Yes the O's are ridiculous!!!! I do see the spelling on the Nemo App which is fascinating because i never would have guessed the spellings. It is odd some of the words I am learning initially - I do not think I need to know how to say hello, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good night and oh yes, Hi. I know them all now and goodbye - but good night still is throwing me off!

Again, if I skip a day, I will forget it all since it is such a short time - but after a week, I am waking up with hungarian words popping up!

So - I will look for more on youtube. Adult programming is way too hard so I am sticking to children's learning and I encourage everyone to check out the dancing dinosaur. Seriously better than the american BARNEY!

;) Jet

PS - we will take a few overnight trips around the country and I hope to use the language a little.

Posted by
2328 posts

I found that listening to the Pimsleur cds several times helped imbed some of the words and phrases a bit better, and when I do Duolingo I write down words and practice later. Thanks to Duo I got to hear the pronunciation of my Hungarian family name, Katona, which means soldier. We always said ke-TONA and of course the emphasis is really on the first syllable, KAH-tona.

I picked up the days of the week (and their meaning, interesting that Monday is hetfo and that means the head, or beginning, of 7), colors and can count to ten easily. I practice on my cats and also throw random phrases at co-workers just to annoy them. I found a really fun book called Dirty Hungarian on Amazon--not just dirty phrases but some fun slang as well, and it's hilarious.

Once you're there, listen to how they greet one another--I loved arriving at the airport one trip and there were lovely young girls greeting people with a cheery "Jo reggelt kivanock!" just like you learn on Pimsleur. When leaving some metro stations on the long escalators you'll see a sign saying "viszontlatasra". Mainly I hear "szia" a lot.

I live in the SF bay area and there's a Hungarian Heritage club nearby (they do a wonderful annual festival) and I am considering finding out if anyone teaches the language. Otherwise I'm going to check out the dinosaur videos on YouTube, thanks for mentioning that!

Posted by
13705 posts

the hidden message in my post was to watch for random acts of kindness from your hosts. we first became aware of the concept in Budapest, and now we keep score, for grins, where ever we go. it's a nice way to add to the experience of the trip.

Posted by
13705 posts

A movie title for you "Children of Glory"

Magyar with English subtitles. Get a used copy on Amazon, but be sure it is NTSC and for this region. Also, using your Hungarian lessons, understand the original title. Even I could translate this one: "Szabadság, szerelem". Two of my favorite words.

Posted by
13705 posts

And Jet13, if you are going through all the trouble to learn a little Hungarian, i will assume that you really want to get more than tourism out of this. So:

Avoid Vaci utca

Go to an Operett or a Opera. Get excellent seats and dress for it. At the Operett the center boxes are called VIP boxes and you get taken to the parlor at intermission for drinks.

Go to a Jazz Club. I like Opus.

Avoid tourist "Traditional Dance" shows

Avoid tourist Gypsy Concerts

DO go to a restaurant that has a Gypsy band.

Visit the upper half of District VIII

Saturday morning go to service at a synagogue

Avoid Ruin Pubs late at night (unless you like drunk Brits)

Go to Kadarka and tell them you want to learn about Hungarian wine. They will set up flights for you.

Go to the Great Market Hall, but also go to one of the still "real" market halls. Be sure to check out the basement at the Great Market Hall

Do the short tour at the Great Synagogue and be sure to visit the Rumbach synagogue. (look for a side door)

Buy something from the Jewish bakery on the same street.

Friday night go to the Klezmer concert at Spinoza's, unless then Budapest Klezmer Band is playing someplace in town, in which case do what ever you have to do to be there.

Don't go to the Shoes on the Danube memorial to gawk.

DO stop at one of the hundreds of sidewalk florist shops and purchase a small simple flower, take it to the Shoes on the Danube Memorial and place it with a shoe.

Take a cooking class in the home of a local.

Walk into as many open court yard doors as humanly possible.

Stop at every Stolperstein and read the name out loud.

Go to a bath house. Any bath house.

Late at night, the night before you leave Budapest, get a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses and take a taxi to the top of Gellert Hill, on the left, just before you reach the Citadella there is a park from which the famous view is possible. The taxi driver will know where to take you. Wait time for a taxi is 70 forints a minute so a 30 minute stop will cost you about $8. Throw in the round trip fare from Pest and you might spend $30 on the event. Worth every penny.

Visit the cemetery: Kerepesi Cemetery (Kerepesi Temető) and if time permits try and get into the Jewish cemetery behind it on Salgótarjáni utca

Do eat gulyás, Töltött Káposzta and Somlói Galuska; but do it in a place that terrified you to walk into.

Do ask everyone that speaks to you their name and thank them by name.

Do look around to determine where in town you want to stay next year.... (prediction).

Posted by
2328 posts

I first visited in 2014 and promptly fell madly in love with Budapest. Then again in 2016, and took the train an hour north of Budapest to see the town my family came from, Tata. Then again this April. Planning a return next May. It's a place that gets a hold on some people :) If you care to dig through my posts I make detailed trip reports each time.

Posted by
13705 posts

This has turned into the Hungarian cultural thread.... For a unique insight into the culture, consider the words of the national anthem, which has 8 stanzas that read similar to these three:

How often came from the mouths
Of Osman's barbarian nation
Over the corpses of our defeated army
A victory song!
How often did your own son agress
My homeland, upon your breast,
And you became because of your own sons
Your own sons' funeral urn!

The fugitive hid, and towards him
The sword reached into his cave
Looking everywhere he could not find
His home in his homeland
Climbs the mountain, descends the valley
Sadness and despair his companions

Sea of blood beneath his feet
Ocean of flame above.

Castle stood, now a heap of stones
Happiness and joy fluttered,
Groans of death, weeping
Now sound in their place.
And Ah! Freedom does not bloom
From the blood of the dead,
Torturous slavery's tears fall
From the burning eyes of the orphans!

Pity, O Lord, the Hungarians
Who are tossed by waves of danger

Extend over it your guarding arm
On the sea of its misery
Long torn by ill fate
Bring upon it a time of relief
They who have suffered for all sins
Of the past and of the future!

Geee, a happy, optimistic bunch of folks.....

In all seriousness, it inspires fortitude and faith in the future.

Posted by
77 posts

James - I copied/pasted your non-touristy ideas - so excited to go through them.
Christa - I will try to figure out how to check your past posts!
thank you.