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Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Old Mar 17th 2019, 12:55 pm
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Default Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

I did the whole course (78+) modules - and my Wife did the whole thing, twice!

Unfortunately neither of us got much out of it.

The concept is good & the functionality also - BUT the I swear the text setters are smoking something! Once you get beyond the basic modules the phrases and sentences used bear no relation to real life (flying kindergarten teachers and yellow bugs crawling along the bus). Some are so convoluted that very often the specific learning point is lost among all the accompanying noise. Similarly many of the English translations bear no semblance to the way English is actually spoken - and this is where the fundamental functionality falls over. There is little leeway in translation to account for vernacular English and if you don't answer their way you can't move on.

Having said that I have found the French version much better & my Wife has had a go at the Dutch course, again with greater success.

The problem with Hungarian is that there is so much grammar, that you have to get to grips with and understand, its not just a matter of vocabulary!

We have now found an excellent teacher, she refuses to use a textbook, and the depth of her understanding & explanations is superb. Can't beat a good teacher!

Here in the city, we don't get much chance to practice as so many Budapestis speak English. The other odd thing that we have found is that Hungarians who do not speak English understand our "Hungarian" but those who do speak English do not!
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Old Mar 17th 2019, 1:01 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Try the Assimil courses. Get the complete system not just the book.
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Old Mar 17th 2019, 2:01 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Originally Posted by Jack_Russells4ever View Post
Try the Assimil courses. Get the complete system not just the book.
Thanks, not heard of this one!
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Old Mar 17th 2019, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

This one's good as well and you get sent a new word every day!

https://www.hungarianpod101.com/hung.../03172019?logo
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Old Mar 17th 2019, 2:30 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

So are you saying that in Hungary, artists do not paint judges in front of the department store? I am really disappointed. I am about halfway through the course. It is helping in some ways, but really, I am not going to use most of the phrases or I might get locked up! The order of Hungarian words in a sentence I find hard to get to grips with. There doesn't seem to be any logic to the order. Just as I seem to be doing well, the order changes. Anyway, sort szeretnik kerni. That's all I need to know, Sorry, no accents on my keyboard.
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Old Mar 17th 2019, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Originally Posted by MarkyP View Post
So are you saying that in Hungary, artists do not paint judges in front of the department store? I am really disappointed. I am about halfway through the course. It is helping in some ways, but really, I am not going to use most of the phrases or I might get locked up! The order of Hungarian words in a sentence I find hard to get to grips with. There doesn't seem to be any logic to the order. Just as I seem to be doing well, the order changes. Anyway, sort szeretnik kerni. That's all I need to know, Sorry, no accents on my keyboard.
Do I get the idea that you have had the "That beautiful girl over there has no clothes on"...

Yes, the word order is fun!
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Old Mar 17th 2019, 5:05 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Originally Posted by Sachina View Post
This one's good as well and you get sent a new word every day!

https://www.hungarianpod101.com/hung.../03172019?logo
Not seen this one either, again, thanks.
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Old Mar 17th 2019, 5:34 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Originally Posted by Expatrick View Post
Do I get the idea that you have had the "That beautiful girl over there has no clothes on"...

Yes, the word order is fun!
Ooh, no haven't got to the dirty section yet.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 11:02 am
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Originally Posted by Expatrick View Post
The problem with Hungarian is that there is so much grammar, that you have to get to grips with and understand, its not just a matter of vocabulary!
Brits are rarely taught any more than the absolute basics of English grammar, and so tend to learn purely instinctively what is "right". In reality, English has just as much grammar as Hungarian; it's the difference between them that is the problem, not the amount of grammar.

Consider this:

I can
I can't

"Can't" is a contraction of "cannot" or "can not", which is simple enough to understand. But it doesn't end there. The "a" is pronounced differently in "can" and "can't", and the "a" in "can" is in turn pronounced differently depending upon whether it is stressed or not. In colloquial speech, the "t" in "can't" is often dropped, or replaced by a glottal stop.

Then there are differences between English dialects. In some northern dialects, the "a" in "can't" may be shortened so much that to the unattuned (foreign) ear, it is imperceptibly longer than the "a" in "can". The "t" may also be replaced by a glottal stop that is so weak as to be barely perceptible to the unattuned ear. The "n" may be replaced by a nasalization that merges with the glottal stop.

This is all "grammar", even the dialect bits, but apart from a handful of linguistics students, no one in the UK learns it. But to some foreigners, two people from some parts of Northern England shouting at each other

Yer can!
Yer can't!

sound as though they are saying the same thing. It's a nightmare.


Originally Posted by MarkyP View Post
There doesn't seem to be any logic to the [Hungarian word] order.
The most helpful book I have found is:
Hungarian: An Essential Grammar (Routledge Essential Grammars)
By Carol Rounds
£28.99 from Amazon UK.

The normal word order in Hungarian is: (topic) - (focus) - (verb) - (the rest)

The only mandatory element is the focus.

That's the theory... in practice, I'm often unsure how much "background information" I'm allowed to shovel into the topic vs. consigning it to "the rest". Also, although Hungarian gives the impression of being intonation-free almost to the point of being robotic, intonation does play a role in indicating precisely which bits are the topic and the focus.

As a general rule (one of many), I find it aids communication if I keep my sentences as short as possible.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 11:10 am
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Talking to (with in Hungarian) a local British notable a couple of years ago he said that Hungarian is harder than both English AND Japanese (which he has also studied) - because of the grammar.

I can
I can't

"Can't" is a contraction of "cannot" or "can not", which is simple enough to understand. But it doesn't end there. The "a" is pronounced differently in "can" and "can't", and the "a" in "can" is in turn pronounced differently depending upon whether it is stressed or not. In colloquial speech, the "t" in "can't" is often dropped, or replaced by a glottal stop.
This is not grammar, in the true sense but similar to v'o'k as opposed to vagyok, or, felett as opposed to fölött.

Last edited by Expatrick; Mar 18th 2019 at 11:14 am.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 11:32 am
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Originally Posted by Expatrick View Post
Talking to (with in Hungarian) a local British notable a couple of years ago he said that Hungarian is harder than both English AND Japanese (which he has also studied) - because of the grammar.
Of course it is – for him. He learnt English as a child. You can't compare the difficulty of that with learning a foreign language in later years.


Originally Posted by Expatrick View Post
This is not grammar, in the true sense but similar to v'o'k as opposed to vagyok, or, felett as opposed to fölött.
Any aspect of language that is systematic is grammar, and that's the case here.

For example, the difference in pronunciation between stressed and unstressed vowels in English. This is a rule, and is actually taught in books for foreign learners of English. I know one native English TEFL teacher who stared at this rule in disbelief when he first read it. He had observed the rule unconsciously up to that point, as 99.9% of English speakers do.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 12:58 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

After several years of trying to teach myself with books etc I decided to get a proper language teacher. We use books from Magyar-ok.hu. I now feel much more confident but sometimes I wonder how much my brain can remember!
Word order is definitely a big problem as is using intonation to indicate when you are asking a question. Would recommend a proper teacher every time.
Having worked in an English dept in a school here Hungarians learn English grammar in a totally different way to native English learners. I was always embarrassed that I didn’t understand when the teachers started talking about present continuous and past participle! Not a clue!
Have you ever considered the use of ‘the’ before countries. E.g. I am going to France or I am going to the USA or I am going to Tenerife or I am going to the Canary Islands. I can’t remember ever being taught a rule, it just doesn’t sound right to say I am going to the France or I am going to USA!! I had never even thought about it until I was teaching articles.
oh and by the way coming from the West Country the a in can and can’t is pronounced the same but then Bristolian is a totally different language anyway
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

So, if I said a sentence to a Hungarian and the words were in the order that English people say them, would they understand or not? Just as I think I'm getting to grips with the order, they throw a curve ball and it changes. Sok (many) is one that can change position. And what is the difference between és, meg & pedig? They all seem to mean 'and'. I read somewhere that even Hungarians find their own language confusing.

I can count quite well though.
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 2:19 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Originally Posted by MarkyP View Post
So, if I said a sentence to a Hungarian and the words were in the order that English people say them, would they understand or not? Just as I think I'm getting to grips with the order, they throw a curve ball and it changes. Sok (many) is one that can change position. And what is the difference between és, meg & pedig? They all seem to mean 'and'. I read somewhere that even Hungarians find their own language confusing.

I can count quite well though.
easiest application of “meg” is definitely its function as a conjunction. Let’s see a few examples:

Még -
  • “And” (similar to “és”) – In a series of items: “alma, körte meg barack” – “apple, pear and peach” or in the case of special emphasis: “újra meg újra” – “again and again”; “ezer meg ezer” – “thousands andthousands”.
  • “However” (to emphasise a difference) – “Én okos vagyok, te meg szép” – “I am smart, you however are beautiful.”
  • “Besides”, “Furthermore” & “Moreover” – “Másnapos vagyok, mert sokat ittam. Meg a hasam is üres volt.” – “I’m hungover, because I drank a lot. Moreover, my stomach was empty.”

Pedig = whereas.

NB: Meg both separately & as a prefix also has an entirely different function -
megnyitottunk, we have opened. Not going further with this though, quite complex!

A good reference source for grammar, syntax, etc is
​​​http://www.hungarianreference.com/

Counting is a good start. Actually my Hungarian neighbours said that numbers were all we needed!
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Old Mar 18th 2019, 4:44 pm
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Default Re: Magyarul, to duolingo or not to duolingo?

Originally Posted by Expatrick View Post
easiest application of “meg” is definitely its function as a conjunction. Let’s see a few examples:

Még -
  • “And” (similar to “és”) – In a series of items: “alma, körte meg barack” – “apple, pear and peach” or in the case of special emphasis: “újra meg újra” – “again and again”; “ezer meg ezer” – “thousands andthousands”.
  • “However” (to emphasise a difference) – “Én okos vagyok, te meg szép” – “I am smart, you however are beautiful.”
  • “Besides”, “Furthermore” & “Moreover” – “Másnapos vagyok, mert sokat ittam. Meg a hasam is üres volt.” – “I’m hungover, because I drank a lot. Moreover, my stomach was empty.”

Pedig = whereas.

NB: Meg both separately & as a prefix also has an entirely different function -
megnyitottunk, we have opened. Not going further with this though, quite complex!

A good reference source for grammar, syntax, etc is
​​​http://www.hungarianreference.com/

Counting is a good start. Actually my Hungarian neighbours said that numbers were all we needed!
Thanks.
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