The Hungarian Language
small taste of Magyar language and the words to 10 popular
Magyar nursery rhymes
Also, Jer's Magyar Mystery Word !!
Hungarian/Magyar is a very difficult language to learn, the only harder one in the world to learn is Finnish! (which happens to be the only language even distantly related to Hungarian... it's thought that both groups originally might have come from the same area of what is now Russia many centuries in the past) It's hard to explain what exactly makes it so hard to learn, but here are a few things that have made it hard for me:
Unlike the French and Spanish I took at school, Magyar really bears no resemblance to English. (it's strange but the one year of Latin I took back in the 9th grade is of more help to me here!) In Magyar they don't use pronouns except to differentiate (its "I" and not "you" who does whatever), most things are determined by adding "tags" to words, they have about 3 times as many vowels as English, and they have a thing called "vowel harmony" which means the tags vary according to what kind of a vowel sound a word had & they have to "agree". (and all this just has to be memorized!) The vocabulary words are not hard to pick up but forming sentences...that's not too easy to learn.
On the plus side,
although there are very many more vowels...once you learn how each one is
pronounced, you can figure out how to say words as the vowels will almost
always be pronounced the same way in any word, unlike English.
(learning to make a vowel that you "purse your lips to say 0 but actually
say U" or something, as in their word for beer, "sör"...it really
takes some practice!) Something else difficult about Hungarian is the way
they have a habit of putting many words together in a compound word
that sometimes are so long as to be unpronounceable! (I must admit, German
does this too, though) Our city of Mosonmagyaróvár is nothing compared to
many of the names of cities and other words I see here! Click here
to hear how they are pronounced.
Basic Phrases in Hungarian: (click on a phrase to hear how it sounds)
(When I say this first sentence, people immediately start to speak GERMAN if they know any! It's funny in a way but is actually helpful. German shares many words with English I can understand a lot more of what they are trying to say than I do if they speak Hungarian!)
I don't speak Hungarian
Nem beszélek jól magyarul.
Click here to find out Jer's Magyar Mystery Word!!
Here are the words to 10 songs that children often sing in Hungary , what we would call
1. Süss fel, nap, fényes nap,
Kertek alatt a ludaink megfagynak.
This song is asking the the early spring sun to shine otherwise geese will freeze in the field.
2. Csip-csip csóka, vak varjúcska,
Komámasszony kéreti a szekerét.
Nem adhatom oda, tyúkok ülnek rajta. - Hess, hess, hess!
This is about a women who's asking for her wagon. But it cannot be used because hens are sitting on it. With the last words (Hess!) we drive them away.
3. Zsip-zsup, kenderzsup,
Ha megázik, kidobjuk. Zsupsz!
This song is sung while 2 adults are holding the child's hands and legs and swinging him in the air. The song itself is about the wet thatch (for covering the roof) that must be thrown out.
4. Esik az eső,
Hajlik a vessző,
Haragszik a katona,
Mert megázik a lova.
Ne haragudj, katona,
Majd kisüt a napocska,
Megszárad a lovacska.
This song is about the rain and the wind and about an angry soldier who's horse will get wet. The song asks him not to be angry as the sun will shine soon again and the horse will get dry.
5. Sétálunk, sétálunk, egy kis dombra lecsücsülünk. - Csüccs!
This song says: We are walking, walking, then we will sit down on a little hill. Childen and adults are walking hand in hand and when saying "Csüccs" they squat down on their heels.
6. Csigabiga, told ki szarvadat!
Ha nem tolod, összetöröm házadat!
It's about a little snail: in case he doesn't come out of his house it will be broken.
7. Aki nem lép egyszerre,
Nem kap rétest estére.
De a rétes nagyon jó,
Katonának ez való.
Who doesn't step together, won't get pie for dinner. But pie is so delicious, it's especially for a soldier!
8. Hold, hold, fényes lánc,
Fényes kapu zárja,
Nyisd ki kapud, Gergely gazda,
Vámot adok rája.
This song is about a gate closed by night with a lock and a chain. It asks the owner of the house called Gergely to open it after paying the toll.
9. Cirmos cica, haj,
Hová lett a vaj?
Ott látom a bajuszodon,
Most lesz neked jaj!
This song is about a pussycat who has stolen the butter. It can be seen on his whiskers - he will be in trouble because of what he has done.
10. Ég a gyertya, ég,
El ne aludjék,
Aki lángot látni akar,
This song is about a burning candle. Whoever wants to see its flame should crouch down.