Today I noticed a post about language learning podcasts in the Hungarian site Webisztán. It was basically about how many free language learning podcasts are available, and the author’s desire to continue learning Italian through podcasts.
But in the comments section we were obliquely referenced. The first comment was innocuous enough:
grabog 2008.05.11. 20:18:11
Belehallgattam a magyarba. Hát, érdekes. 🙂
(I listened to the Hungarian. Interesting.)
But the next comment also caught my eye:
richard4tus 2008.05.12. 04:37:56
ezt a podcastot már én is próbáltam, de eltántorított az elképesztő angol akcentus…
(I also tried this podcast, but the horrid English accent sent me reeling.)
Apparently he means me and my accent in Hungarian.
First of all, I apologize for butchering the Hungarian language. I probably do have a strong accent. Györgyi’s used to it by now, but I imagine that other native speakers might not be so impressed.
Second, it should go without saying, but it’s worth stating openly: DO NOT IMITATE MY SPEECH PATTERNS. Györgyi is the native speaker, and you should repeat after what she says ONLY. I’m only here so that she doesn’t sound lonely speaking by herself, and because a dialogue needs at least two people.
If there was another Hungarian speaker near us, we would gladly co-opt that person into our podcast and get me out of the way. Hopefully we’ll be able to get another native speaker on soon so you can hear two native speakers talking and imitate their speech patterns properly. Until we can do that, I ask for the native speakers’ understanding and tolerance with my tört magyar!
I’m writting from Caracas, Venezuela. I love your podcast, i think this is a GREAT idea!!! You both do this thing well, it’s free, it’s simple… I’m planning to visit Budapest and SzÃ©kesvefÃ©rvÃ¡r on October and i’m glad to have a chance to bring more words to my little magyarul.
My Hungarian is pretty bad. But non-native speakers of every language have to be a little thick-skinned about comments about your accent. Happily, I think more than most cultures, Hungarians are generally pretty supportive and encouraging of efforts to learn their language. Love the podcast – any thoughts about doing some more advanced content? Maybe talk more about tools and resources for learning: exams at itk.hu, more books, alternatives to the painfully awful sztaki.hu dictionary, etc. Keep up the good work guys! The service is much appreciated.
Please do not be put up by comments like these! I’m sure the Hungarian readers who have tried their luck in other languages will know that accent is something unavoidable – and why not, quite charming! I wish I could speak a tÃ¶rt magyar like you, 🙂
Hi! I’m from Bucharest, Romania. I really like the podcast and your accent:) You are both doing a great job!
Don’t worry about those kind of comments, I think you’re doing a great job. Besides if I make errors my Hungarian wife quickly corrects me 🙂
I got curious and listened to the 1st lesson. Steve, you have a very nice accent, there is no need to worry! I’m always impressed to hear foreigners speaking Hungarian. Thank you for your and Gyorgyi’s work.
Well thanks for the kind comments, everyone. I honestly wasn’t expecting that!
But it’s great to see that so many people are enjoying the podcast as it is. And I have some good news to report: it looks like we may have another Hungarian native speaker for the next lesson…
Thanks again and stay tuned!
Very intersting – and the English / Hungarian podcast make me learn two languages !!!
I always aim to imitate native-speakers when learning, but I can also compare my accent as a foreigner to that of another foreigner. I actually appreciate hearing a fellow English speaker who has really gone far in his studies and use of the language. It motivates me to keep going. It makes the language look less daunting when you know someone else has been where you are and gotten past all that. Keep up the good work, you’re doing a great job!
Hey, I don’t know about you guys, but our accents in Hungarian can’t possibly be as painful as a Hungarian’s speaking English. Sorry, but it’s true. Native speakers of French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, all have, in my experience, charming pronunciations and idiosyncrasies. Hungarians tho (and believe me I love them) …eh, hurts me ears.
Dear Steven, do not feel so disappointed by a few comments of few of my fellow Hungrians. I just downloaded your first podcast and I can say that you have a very nice Hungarian accent. The podcast is great.
well, sorry for having a horrible English accent, I hope you won’t ever hear me speaking English 🙂
Katarzyna Helbin-Travis says
Steven – I was very impressed by your diplomatic skills and cultural sensitivity. Obviously, Hungarians, like Poles, like to criticize and have a hard time keeping perspective. The fact that a foreigner is making an effort to help others (all over the world!) learn a language of 8 million people is impressive and should be appreciated not criticized. We all have accents when we speak foreign languages. Accents are not mistakes! You made it very clear that your podcast is no substitute for a language course. It is what it is and it should not be criticized for what it is not trying to be. I love it! Keep up the good work.
Uncle Drew says
Speaking of Hungarian accents, be sure to get the back story on Speak the Hungarian rapper in this week’s episode of the CBC’s ‘Search Engine’.
Budacast.hu – Hungary’s podcast
Steve and Gyorgyi,
You are doing a great job! My wife and I are both keen fans of your podcast (we’re moving to Budapest soon) and we think it’s really interesting.. BTW havent gotten as far as your last one, so forgive me if this was already covered: How do you say “I’m Indian” in Hungarian?
Don’t be discouraged by comments on the accent, personally I thought were unfair and harsh. Accents is what make people distinctive – but can’t be really helped – like hair colour or skin colour. Hope the Hungarians we meet will be more accommodating (or maybe this one guy was an anglophobe for some reason) – actually he wasnt even accurate as your accent would be amerikai and not angol? 🙂 If anything I guess it’s just the “r” that many Americans I’ve known have trouble with rolling, but I know how an Indian D or T sounds to non Indians, so don’t worry about it (actually try bending your tongue the other way (concave) – from the hungarian “gy” I mean – and let it loose so it can vibrate. you should get a roll!)
Keep it up guys, and we really appreciate your efforts!
Martha Ferrebee says
My son is marrying a beautiful Hungarian girl in June and my family is flying to Budapest for the ceremony. Your podcast has been wonderful to help us learn a few phrases and words to communicate with her family.How do we say”It’s nice to meet you.” and “We love your daughter.” ? We are American and have visited Budapest twice. It is a lovely city and we are looking forward to seeing it again and of course the wedding! Thanks again for your podcast. Martha
I think you guys are doing a wonderful job, accent in all! I actually have no idea if it is bad, mine is probably a thousand times worse and I am going to be in Budapest for a year! Your podcast is a ton of help. I find it more fun to listen to after boring lessons on tape. Thanks a bundle!
talÃ¡n kicsit kÃ©sve, de hadd reagÃ¡ljak: Ã©n a webisztÃ¡non lÃ¡tott olasz nyelvi podcastet kommentÃ¡ltam Ãgy, nem gondoltam volna, hogy ekkora fÃ©lreÃ©rtÃ©s kerekedik ebbÅ‘l..
Thank you for this great podcast. Can’t wait for the next episode.
(And by the way, a Hungarian complaining about accent is the joke of the year. Though I do love Hungarian accent in German and English)