Lesson 4 introduces you to Zoltán and his Aunt Erzsi, who insists she is fine even though everything seems to hurt! This is another informal language dialogue with a number of useful, everyday expressions.
We enjoy reading your comments and finding out how you enjoy the podcast and why you’re interested in learning Hungarian. Feel free to drop us a line on a post and let us know your thoughts. Thanks again to all those who’ve previously written.
Our theme music is provided courtesy of Curtis Maranda. You can check out more of his music by going to http://www.curtismaranda.com/ Thanks again to Curtis for providing us with the music for our podcast.
The PDF file below contains the written dialogue and vocabulary, and the MP3 file has the audio for Lesson 4. Download both of them below, and thanks for listening!
I’m so glad to see a new episode. I’ve only started listening to your podcasts this past Saturday, 2 days ago. I downloaded all three previous ones to my phone and started listening at least twice a day. I impressed my girlfriend by being able to pronounce all the first lesson dialogue and understand it. She isn’t Hungarian, but we’re planning a trip to Budapest and the vocabulary and phrases will come in handy. And just 3 days ago I didn’t know a single word of Hungarian. You two are doing a great job. Keep up the good work. KÃ¶szÃ¶nÃ¶m szÃ©pen!
I believe I understood the difference between ‘kÃ©rek’ for an indefinite object and ‘kÃ©rem’ for a definite object as you clearly explained in the first two lessons, but I’d like to know which one would a cashier use to ask for money? Would they say: 270 forint lesz kÃ©rek OR kÃ©rem? Is a sum of money considered indefinite or definite?
Thank you in advance for the answer.
Your podcasts are excellent. The explanations are quite clear, the cultural information is very interesting and really adds a nice touch to bringing the language alive. The vocabulary and expressions are very useful.
From what I’ve started to see from descriptions of Hungarian grammar, it looks like it can be quite a challenge, but your lessons have made it quite easy and enjoyable too. How long have you lived in Budapest, Steven, and how long have you been learning Hungarian?
KÃ¶szÃ¶nÃ¶m szÃ©pen GyÃ¶rgyi Ã©s Steven.
Thanks so much for your kind comments. I’m impressed with your dedication and ability to pick this up after only a few days(!) of learning the language. You clearly have the right attitude for learning foreign languages. I should say that we here at LLH Central don’t really know what we’re doing with this podcast, as we’re just winging it to be honest. But we appreciate the support.
Indefinite vs. definite: The cashier would say, “270 forintot kÃ©rek,” not “kÃ©rem.” A general sum of money is almost always indefinite. Note that you wouldn’t say “lesz kÃ©rek,” because there’s no need to use both verbs together like that.
So either sentences are grammatically possible and commonly heard:
“270 forint lesz.”
“270 forintot kÃ©rek.” (or “270 forintot kÃ©rek szÃ©pen,” which is more polite)
This indefinite/definite distinction is a fundamental grammatical concept that is very tough to master, but it’s not too hard to get a general idea of what it’s all about.
As for me, I moved to Budapest in 1995 and knew only a handful of words in Hungarian at the time. I only planned to be there for three months, but stayed for eight years! Hungary can do that to people….
Thanks for your response and your encouragement. Learning foreign languages is a hobby for me.
I didn’t quite realize that saying ‘please’ was a verb in Hungarian and not just an added expression like ‘por favor’, ‘s’il vous plaÃ®t’ or ‘bitte’.
I flipped through some phrase books here, and they do compare the Hungarian ‘gy’ to the ‘di’ in ‘adieu’ as you had mentioned, and some other sources for English-speakers compared it to the ‘dy’ in ‘would you’.
If I could make a request for a future conversation, could you do a restaurant/pub dialogue ordering food and drinks?
I relate to your extended stay. I came to Paris in summer 2002 on vacation for 3 months after finishing college, but then I decided not to go home and I’m still here, teaching business English.
Another quick question to check my understanding of kÃ©rek/kÃ©rem:
I buy a ticket saying: Egy jegyet kÃ©rek.
Then at DÃ©ak ter, for example, a BKV controller could ask to see my ticket by saying: A jegyet, kÃ©rem.
KÃ¶szÃ¶nÃ¶m szÃ©pen. JÃ³ hÃ©tvÃ©get!
I am sorry,I haven’t had time to check comments on the website.Now I am checking and see the “kÃ©rek”/”kÃ©rem” dilemma. I also have an explanation,I hope it makes things clear,and not more complicated.
270 forint lesz = that will be 270Ft
270 forintot(!) kÃ©rek = Literally:I’m asking for 270Ft,but in English we tranlate: 270Ft please
270 forint lesz,kÃ©rem = that will be 270Ft,please
(This is not really used.Kind of old-fashioned,too.As Steve said “kÃ©rem” here is not necessary.But can be used and correct!)
Yes! KÃ©rem is used as “please” in some situations.It’s short for “KÃ©rem Ã–nt” = I ask you (to do sg for me) or please (do sg for me).It’s formal form.
The informal equivalent would be “KÃ©rlek”,that is derived from: “kÃ©rlek tÃ©ged”.
Yes! “KÃ©rek” and “kÃ©rem” are two forms of the same verb: “kÃ©r(ni)” = to ask. Which one we use depends on whether it has a definite or an indefinite object.
So “kÃ©rem” is actually used in two different ways
1. to ask (for a certain object) eg; “A kabÃ¡tjÃ¡t kÃ©rem” (Literally: I’m asking for your coat) = your coat please; “A jegyÃ©t kÃ©rem” = your ticket please; “A pirosat kÃ©rem” = the red one please
2. please (formal expression,asking the other person politely to do(!) something) eg;”JÃ¶jjÃ¶n be, kÃ©rem” = come in,please; “ÃœljÃ¶n le kÃ©rem” = Sit down, please.
I think we will spend some time on this question on the podcast as we get into more advanced level.Thank you for pointing out,that it is difficult to understand.
When are you going to visit Budapest? Let me recommend you The Absolute Walking Tours and Yellow Zebra Bike Tour and Bike Rental. You can find links to their websites in our “Links” section on the left sidebar 🙂
Have a good time!
GyÃ¶rgyi,egy magyar lÃ¡ny
I think I understand better. I can also see what you mean by old-fashioned. From your explanation of ‘kÃ©rni’ I was immediately thinking of the Old English verb ‘pray’ as in ‘I pray thee tell’, or like in French ‘je vous prie de…’. Would it be safe to generalize that the Hungarian language has held on to a lot of old-fashioned expressions? That would account for all the very polite forms I’ve noticed so far.
I’m planning on visiting Budapest in October, so I hope that I’ll be able to have a handful of things to say and understand by then.
Thanks again for all your explanations.
Jonathan, egy amerikai fiÃº
Here is some good English – Hungarian dictionary:
For Mac OS X 10.4-10.5: (app) – http://www.progikon.hu/swifttranslate_en.html#letolt
And another, what translates web pages and text too: – http://www.webforditas.hu/index.php?show=dictTab&lang=english
OlivÃ©r, egy magyar fiÃº
A few comments on your questions:
1) Yes, “kÃ©rek” and “kÃ©rem” are conjugated from the verb “kÃ©rni.” But as GyÃ¶rgyi points out, “kÃ©rem” can ALSO be used as a general “please” that is stuck onto the end of a sentence that is making a request.
However, I think a more common way of saying “please” is “lÃ©gy szÃves” (or the formal “legyen szÃves.”) This is probably more directly translatable to “por favor” etc. in other languages. This whole “please” subject is a little tricky, so we may attempt to explain it all in the next podcast.
2) As for your question about the BKV controller, you are correct that he/she COULD theoretically say “A jegyet, kÃ©rem,” or “The ticket, please.”
But I think that a much more likely way of asking would be to say, “A jegyÃ©t, kÃ©rem,” or “Your ticket, please.” Note the small but crucial difference between the two: the accent mark on the second “e” in “jegyÃ©t.” Explaining the grammatical reason behind this is not at all simple, so I’m not going to attempt it here, but trust me on this. Well anyway I’m not the native speaker, so let’s see if GyÃ¶rgyi agrees with me!
Your last comment about Hungarian retaining a lot of old-fashioned forms is intriguing, but I’ll leave it up to GyÃ¶rgyi to answer that one!
p.s. JÃ³ hÃ©tvÃ©get!
Cheers for the links. I’ll make a new post to make sure that others see them as well.
AFTER GOING TO BUDPEST FOR DENTAL WORK,I JUST FELL IN LOVE WITH YOUR CITY, I AM NOW SAVING HARD AND JUST STARTED TO LEARN HUNGARIAN I THINK I FOUND THIS WEBSITE AT THE RIGHT TIME AND WITH MY TEACHER AND YOUR HELP I THINK YOU HAVE JUST MADE MY DREAM EVEN MORE TRUE I HOPE YOU KEEP THIS GREAT WORK UP TO DATE SO WE CAN ALL WORK TOGETHER AND MAKE MY DREAM COME REALITY… THANKYOU