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Learn Hungarian wisely


How to learn Hungarian wisely? Why do you have to make a strategy of learning Hungarian? Well, let me explain.

Learning something new

Every time I try to break a habit or learn something new, I  experience the following pattern. First I get super-excited and all I can think of is the new stuff, let it be skating in this example. I watch the Olympic games, I admire the beauty and the splendor those sportsmen and sportswomen, who can slide on the ice seemingly without effort. I want to try this, I think to myself, sitting on my couch.

Learning something new

I read a lot about skating on the Internet. I watch Youtube videos about it. I buy myself a skating gear, go to the ice rink and I try. Then I obviously fall during my first steps. I am stubborn, so I try even harder. I fall some more. By the end of my first lesson, I know that skating isn’t like what I thought it was going to be. The reality is harsher, the ice is really hard to fall on, it is cold and after half an hour all my body is hurting. Still, I like it and my performance improves.


After this experience I decide to take lessons from a trainer. I enroll to a class, go to an ice rink regularly. I fight against myself and I improve. Then I get tired, my advancement slows down and my interest in skating weakens. This is the time when I realize that I am not a skater prodigy, my interest gets captured by other things and it gets harder and harder to get up off the couch and go to an ice rink. After a while, I just give up skating and try something else. Dancing, playing the piano, sewing, writing a blog, and the list could go on.

I am not proud of myself, but hey, I am only human. And so are you. When I realized that this was a pattern that was going on with my activities, I decided to break it. Next time, when I begin to lose interest and things become complicated, I didn’t give up. And guess, what? After a while, I jumped up a level. It wasn’t with skating, no. I gave that up for good. It was with skiing. I can still come down from any slopes on skis 20 years later.


Learn Hungarian wisely: the secret

The secret of language learning, and learning Hungarian especially lies in your attitude. After studying for a while, things will become messy and complicated. Your knowledge will plateau, and it will seem that you are making all this effort in vain. The future will look gloomy and you will ask yourself: Am I really capable of this? And this, too: Is it really worth it?

The good news is, that this is perfectly normal, everybody gets through this. If you don’t give up, just keep doing what you do, learn new words, practice grammar, your skills will develop to a new level. But you have to know from the start that you will experience some difficulties, and you will have to make a strategy to overcome them.

Learn Hungarian

Learn Hungarian – strategies

So, if you want to learn Hungarian wisely, you will have to decide what you will do if you encounter some difficulties. Will you take more lessons? Will you practice more on your own? Will you make Hungarian friends? Will you watch more Hungarian TV? Will you read more social media in Hungarian? Will you listen to more Hungarian songs?

Options in learning Hungarian

Every strategy you create can be a good one. Hey, your strategy can even be to change things if you are getting bored with something. For example, if you realize that grammar is not your path, you can focus on taking conversation lessons instead. If you find difficult to follow what native speakers say during a conversation, you can practice listening by slowing down an audio file, or a video.

Learn Hungarian – it is worth the effort

What you will do depends on you. As I have already mentioned, the key to all language learning, and especially learning Hungarian, lies in your attitude. So, decide what strategy you want to follow from the start, and stick to it, even if it gets hard. Otherwise, learning Hungarian will be just another torn project you dumped. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?

Free Hungarian lesson online: The Hungarian Christmas

the real Hungarian Christmas

Do you want to learn some Hungarian? Here’s a free Hungarian lesson online for you.

Christmas in Hungary

Hungary is a Christian nation, almost with everybody being Christian, Christmas is a national holiday. People usually celebrate by going to church, decorating a tree and giving gifts to the loved ones. It is almost the same as in England, you might say.

Hungarian ChristmasHungarian Christmas

But no, there is a big difference: it isn’t Santa Claus the one, who brings the gifts in Hungary. We have Santa Claus as well, but he doesn’t come on Christmas Eve. In fact, Santa Claus is called Mikulás in Hungary, and he comes on the night of December 5. Children put their boots on the window sill on the evening of December 5, and they get it back full of presents in the morning of December 6.

Mikulás usually brings sweets and small toys to children.  This is only the start of the gift-season at the end of the year.

Mikulás - Santa Claus in Hungary

Before Christmas, every family cleans the house, bakes and cooks and buys gifts. These gifts are usually larger and more expensive than the ones Mikulás brings.

On December 24 the family comes together to celebrate. They decorate the Christmas tree and have an extensive Christmas meal. In the evening the children are waiting for the presents. Not all Hungarians get the presents the same way. In Hungary, it is baby Jesus the one who brings all the presents, however, in Transylvania (a region that once belonged to Hungary, now part of Romania, with a lot of Hungarian people living there) it is an angel.

After baby Jesus (or the angel) brings the presents, everybody sings around the tree, and as the evening falls, they open their presents.

Hungarian Christmas

The religious families go to church, sometimes at midnight on December 24, sometimes during daytime on 24 or 25, depending on what church they belong to: Catholic or Protestant.

On Christmas Day, December 25 Hungarian people usually visit their extended families or receive the visits from their relatives.

Usually, Hungarian people eat these dishes for Christmas: fish soup, stuffed cabbage, fried fish with potatoes and rice, meats (chicken, pork, goose, duck, turkey), and have bejgli (roll cake) with walnut or poppy seeds as a desert. They also eat a lot of szaloncukor (Hungarian Christmas candy) and gingerbread cookies. They drink a variety of alcoholic drinks: pálinka (Hungarian spirit), wine and beer.

Bejgli-Hungarian Christmas dessert

Now let’s learn some Hungarian words connected to Christmas:

Hungarian Christmas – words and example sentences

Christmas in Hungarian

      Karácsonykor összegyűlik a család.
      The family gathers for Christmas.


karácsonyfa - Christmas tree in Hungarian

      Christmas tree
      Az egész család részt vesz a karácsonyfa feldíszítésében.
      The whole family participates in decorating the Christmas tree.


ünnep - holiday in Hungarian

      Szeretem az ünnepeket.
      I love holidays.


ajándék - present in Hungarian

      Karácsonykor az ajándékok a fa alatt vannak.
      The presents are under the tree at Christmas.


Mikulás - Santa Claus in Hungarian

      Santa Claus
      Magyarországon a Mikulás nem karácsonykor jön.
      The Santa Claus doesn't come for Christmas in Hungary.


kis Jézus - little Jesus in Hungarian

      kis Jézus
      baby Jesus
      Magyarországon a kis Jézus hozza az ajándékokat karácsonykor.
      The little Jesus brings the presents for Christmas in Hungary.


templom - church in Hungarian

      Sokan járnak a templomba imádkozni.
      A lot of people go to church to pray.


Bejgli - roll cake in Hungarian

      roll cake
      Magyarországon karácsonykor mindenki bejglit eszik.
      Everybody eats roll-cakes for Christmas in Hungary.


halászlé - Fisherman's soup in Hungarian

      Fisherman's soup
      A halászlé csípősen finom.
      The Fisherman's soup is delicious when it is hot.


rántotthal - fried fish in Hungarian

      rántott hal
      fried fish
      Édesanyám készíti a legfinomabb rántott halat.
      My mom cooks the most delicious fried fish.


Töltött_káposzta - stuffed cabages in Hungarian

      töltött káposzta
      stuffed cabbage rolls
      A töltött káposzta tejföllel az egyik kedvenc ételem.
      Stuffed cabbage with sour cream is one of my favorite foods.


szaloncukor - Christmas candy in Hungarian

      Christmas candy
      A legtöbben a zselés és a kókuszos szaloncukrot szeretik.
      Most people like jelly and coconut Chistmas candy.


pálinka - Hungarian spirit

      Hungarian spirit
      A pálinka Magyarország nemzeti itala.
      Spirit is Hungary's national drink.


Now let’s do some revision. Take a look at this picture, and revise what you’ve just learned in this free Hungarian lesson online:

ungarian: Christmas words in Hungarian

And finally, here’s a summary about the average Hungarian Christmas. Can you find any common features with how you spend your Christmas?

Hungarian Christmas

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Free Hungarian lesson online: The months of the year

October - október

Are you interested in a free Hungarian lesson online? Start with this easy, interesting lesson about the months of the year. It’s easy because the months are called almost the same as in English. Have fun!

January - Január






      Januárban kezdődik az új év.

      The new year starts in January.

February - február






      Hová utazzunk februárban?

      Where should we travel in February?

March - március






      Márciusban nyílnak a hóvirágok.

      Snowdrops bloom in March.

April - április






      Áprilisban szeszélyes az időjárás.

      The weather is treacherous in April.

May - május






      Május a tavasz legszebb hónapja.

      May is the most beautiful month of spring.

June - június






      Júniusban véget ér az iskolai tanév.

      The school year is over in June.

July - július






      Júliusban sokan nyaralni mennek.

      A lot of people go for a holiday in July.

August - augusztus






      Augusztus a legmelegebb nyári hónap.

      August is the warmest month of the summer.

September - szeptember






      Szeptemberben érik az alma.

      The apples ripen in September.

October - október






      Októberben lehullanak a levelek a fákról.

      The leaves fall from the trees in October.

November - november






      Novemberben egyre hidegebb lesz.

      It gets colder and colder in November.

December - december






      December az ünnepek ideje.

      December is the time of celebrations.

Free Hungarian lesson online – revision

Revision time: take a look at this infographic and try to say the names of the months in Hungarian!

If you liked this post, please hit the like button, leave a comment below and share it with your friends so they could learn from it, too! Thank you.

Is English spoken in Hungary?

Tourists in Hungary

Do you have to learn some Hungarian if you come to stay in Hungary? The question arises naturally: how much English is spoken in Hungary? Will the Hungarian people understand me? Can I be understood by them? Or will we just rely on acting rather than speaking?

Englishman in Hungary

The only simple answer to this question is: it depends. It depends on where you are going to: busy city or small village, capital city or countryside, hidden locations, or touristic area. It depends on whom you are willing to talk to: young people or not-so-young ones. It depends on what you want to speak about: order a cab, buy a hamburger, or learn how to make kürtőskalács (chimney cake) from an old lady.

"Kürtőskalács - chimney cake"

Young Hungarians speak English

Young people living in the cities usually speak English. Not everyone is fluent, but if you are lost, you can ask for directions from them. If you are in the inner city, or a touristic area, you can get by using English. Major companies have English-speaking customer care assistants, so you won’t have a problem with getting a Hungarian phone number, bank transfer, health insurance, car rent.

English speaking customer care in Hungary

Off the beaten track in Hungary

However, if you move out of this English-speaking bubble, you will realize it quickly, that Hungary is a monolingual country. Older people were taught Russian in the school, and they haven’t learned it because it was compulsory. The middle-aged have been taught English, but they haven’t used it much, so they forgot it. Only the younger people have learned it and used it while traveling, so better try speaking to them. Remember: Hungarian people speak primarily Hungarian, so don’t expect deep or subtle English conversation from them.

Off the beaten track in Hungary

Learn some Hungarian!

If you want to go off the beaten track and explore Hungary on your own, then you should learn some basic Hungarian. You won’t believe what a difference an hour or two spent studying Hungarian can make. So, sit down, and learn some Hungarian expressions. You won’t regret it, I can assure you.

Here are two very useful questions to start with:

      Beszélsz angolul? - Do you speak English? - informal
      Beszél angolul? - Do you speak English? - informal

Finally, take a look at this infographic :

"Is English spoken in Hungary? - infographics"

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Online Hungarian language lesson: Days of the week


Today I will teach you the days of the week in Hungarian. It’s easy, you will see.

      hétfő - Monday
      kedd - Tuesday
      szerda - Wednesday
      csütörtök - Thursday
      péntek - Friday
      szombat - Saturday
      vasárnap - Sunday
      hét - week
      tegnapelőtt - the day before yesterday
      tegnap - yesterday
      ma - today
      holnap - tomorrow
      holnapután - the day after tomorrow

Did you notice anything interesting? Well, Hungarians don’t start the days of the week with capital letters. I hope this picture will help you memorize all these new words:

Days of the week in Hungarian



If you liked this lesson, please, hit the like button, and share it with your friends, so they could learn from it, too! Thank you.

Colors in Hungarian


Hi, everyone! How about a free Hungarian language lesson online? Today I’m gonna teach you how to say the colors in Hungarian.

The Hungarian language has its own logic regarding the colors, this is why we use two different words for the same color: red. We use the word piros for objects that are inanimate or unemotive. For example: piros labda (red ball), piros paradicsom (red tomato), piros jelzőlámpa (red traffic lights).

However, we use vörös for animate or emotive objects. For example: vörös haj (red hair), vörös zászló (red flag), vörös róka (red fox), vörös bor (red wine), vörös csillag (red star).

The color of the blood is piros, when it is inside the body, but when spilt, it turns to vörös. It is easier just to memorize these few words that are used with vörös than search for the rule that sometime doesn’t apply.

So, let’s start!

      szín - color
      színek - colors
      piros - red
      vörös - red
      narancssárga - orange
      citromsárga - yellow
      zöld - green
      kék - blue
      lila - purple
      barna - brown
      fekete - black
      szürke - grey
      rózsaszín - pink
      fehér - white


How to ask something in Hungarian


Turists usually ask questions, but how to do that in Hungarian? In fact, it is really easy. Forming questions is all about a question word, the usual sentence structure, and a rising tone at the end of the sentence.

But what are these question words? They are the Hungarian equivalent of the wh-words: who, what, where, when, which, etc. By learning these basic Hungarian interrogatives, you will be able to express your questions easily, in an effective manner. For example, if you’re at the souvenir-shop, and you’re interested in buying a painting, you can ask the vendor “Mennyibe kerül ez a festmény?” (How much does this painting cost?), you can simplify the question to “Mennyibe kerül?” (How much does it cost?), or you could just point at the painting and ask “Mennyi?” (How much?”) Easy and effective. The vendor will know what you are asking, and will tell you a price.

Let’s learn a couple of these question words. Remember to always raise your tone at the end of your question, and always put a question mark in writing.



      Ki jön ma velem vásárolni?

Who comes shopping with me?



      Mi ez?

What is this?



      Mikor ebédeljünk?

When should we have lunch?



      Hol van a legjobb vendéglő a városban?

Where is the best restaurant in town?



      Miért fontos ez?

Why is this important?



      Hogyan készíted a gulyáslevest?

How do you prepare the goulash-soup?


Until when?

      Meddig maradunk itt?

Until when do we stay here?


Since when?

      Mióta fáj a lába?

Since when does your leg hurt? – formal speech


With whom?

      Kivel találkozunk holnap?

With whom will we meet tomorrow?


How much?

      Mennyibe kerül ez a festmény?

How much does this painting cost?

Finally, take a look at this infographics with all these Hungarian question words you’ve learned!

If you think this article was useful, please, like it, and share it so other people could learn from it, too! Thank you.

The best Hungarian music from the 80’s


Do you enjoy listening to Hungarian music? What if I said the golden age of Hungarian music wasn’t now? You may call me nostalgic, but believe me, the music was much better in the 80’s. The bands of that age are still able to fill the biggest arenas with fans. They are so famous, that even today’s youth knows most of their hit songs by heart. Just take a look (I mean listen), and you will see.

The party-maker pop-stars

Our musical journey begins with the glowing star of the 80’s, the band that has sold over 6 million (!) albums in Hungary, and 1,5 million worldwide. By comparison nowadays it only takes 2000 sold albums to get a gold album, and you can get a platinum one with just 4000 copies. This band was so famous that they sold albums even in Japan. They were the “Neoton Família”. Let’s listen to them:

The rock-idols

After this frenetic start let’s cool down with one of the most successful Hungarian rock band of all time. They are the “Omega”. They have started playing music in 1962, the decade in which “The Beatles” got famous. They have been playing quality rock music for the last 55 (!) years, and they are still active. They have sold over 7 million albums in Hungary, and achieved great international success. Some of their songs appeared in English, too.

Let’s listen to their most famous song, “Gyöngyhajú lány”, which means “Pearlhaired Girl”. This is a 1969’s song, which isn’t exactly the 80’s, but it was played in every house-party in the 80’s. It even became an international hit from the “Scorpions” with the title “White Dove”. Nowadays Kanye West is using it in his track “New Slaves“. So listen to “Gyöngyhajú lány”, and watch the ecstasy of the audience! They know every verse of this song, as most of the Hungarians do.

The exotic ones

Let’s pump up the volume with a band called “Bonanza Banzai”. They used to be called “the Hungarian Depeche Mode”. Their music even got in the Japanese NHK TV’s New Year programme in 1990. Let’s listen to their hit song: “Induljon a banzáj!”, meaning “Let the banzai start!” Just look at that video clip, it’s pure 80’s. 🙂

The national feeling

Let’s slow down again with the most well-known Hungarian rock-opera of all times: “István, a király”. This rock-opera summarizes the quint-essence of Hungarian national feeling,  thus, it became a smash hit almost instantly as it appeared in 1983. It is still very popular, a new version appeared in 2013, but it got mixed reviews. The original one is holding on to its throne, so it seems.

The plot revolves around the Hungarian state-founding, and the crowning of the very-first Hungarian king, István the Saint. It may sound boring and dull, but, believe me, it isn’t. This song will move your heart, and you will catch what does “feeling Hungarian” mean.

The spirit of rock-and roll

Let’s continue with a famous Hungarian rock and roll band called in style “Hungária”.

Their lead singer was Fenyő Miklós, and he sang rockabily. They got so famous that they held a concert at Népstadion in front of 150,000 people in 1982. The following song’s title is “Micsoda buli”, meaning “Such a party”.

The unappreciated singer with a unique voice

The next song is a duet, song by Cserháti Zsuzsa, a pop-soul-jazz singer with a unique voice, and Charlie, a Hungarian soul and rock singer. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a video clip or live concert video featuring these two, but just listening to the song is worth it.

The song’s title is “Száguldás, Porsche, Szerelem”, meaning “Rush, Porsche, Love”. Just listen and feel the rush.

The rebels

Let’s continue with a rock band called Beatrice. They started with punk and moved on to hard rock. It often criticized the ruling socialist regime. Look at the following video clip, the contrast between the lyrics (a love story that comes to an end), and the video (an imagery of war and oppression). Rebellion expressed through music.

The sexy pop singer

Let’s move towards a lighter genre, namely mainstream pop music. The following singer, Zoltán Erika sold over one and a half million copies of her albums. Let’s listen to her song “Túl szexi lány”, meaning “Too sexy girl”. The video clip isn’t the best quality but bear in mind that this is an original from the 80’s. Enjoy it!

The unique “csikidam” style

Here comes another pop-music band, R-Go. They have a unique style, namely “csikidam”, which is a combination of latin-American music, funky and rock. Listen to their hit song “Ballag a katona”, meaning “The GI is trudging”.

The fathers of all rock music

Last, but not least comes a band that is one of the sacred idols of Hungarian rock music. They are called “LGT” or “Locomotiv GT”. Their role in the birth of the Hungarian rock music is unquestionable. The following song is not from the 80’s, but from the 70’s, however, it has been played during the 80’s in parties. It is still well-known to all Hungarians. It is called “Ringasd el magad”, meaning “Rock yourself”.

Now let’s learn some Hungarian vocabulary regarding music.

      zene - music
      zenész - musician
      popsztár - pop star
      énekes - singer
      együttes - band
      koncert - concert
      élő - live
      dalszöveg - lyrics
      rajongó - fan
      táncol - dance


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Hungarian alcohol and drinking


Let’s speak about the favorite topic of many Hungarians, namely alcohol and drinking.
It is an organic part of Hungarian culture, so it cannot be avoided. Let’s face it: Hungarians like to drink. A lot.

It is perfectly normal here in Hungary to start the day with a shot (or more) of pálinka. If you do so, you can say Pálinkás jó reggelt!, meaning “I wish you a good morning with pálinka!” Each region has its own method of distilling pálinka, and a strong pálinka is often offered with a sense of almost sacred pride.

Pálinka can be destilled from apricots and pears, too, but when Hungarians speak about pálinka, they usually mean a strong drink made of plums.

After drinking a few shots of pálinka, you can continue your journey into Hungarian alcohol with Bull’s Blood of Eger, Hungary’s most famous red wine.

If you’re not a red-wine fan, no problem. Go on with drinking Tokaji, Hungary’s famous sweet white wine. This is also known as the “Wine of Kings, King of Wines”, and had been served at the French Royal court at Versailles. Louis XIV of France and Madame de Pompadour really liked it. Give it a try!

Hungarians invented the combination of wine with soda, and called it fröccs. There are many, many types of combinations, with more soda, less wine, less wine, more soda, just take a look at the picture below!

If you have a hangover from all that drinking, no problem! There is a solution: it is called Unicum. It is a dark herb liquor made form a selection of herbs and spices. Nobody really knows what it is made of, since the recipe is a well-kept family secret. It comes in a round-shaped bottle, and it offers a remedy for almost everything!

If you’re a beer-type-of-person, good for you! Hungarians like beer, too. Dreher, Soproni, Borsodi and Arany Ászok, are the most well-known brands, but there is a wide range of craft beers you can find at ruinpubs.

Let me tell you about an interesting Hungarian custom: Hungarians don’t clink beer glasses. This custom is all about Hungarian history: after the Hungarian revolution against the Austrian Empire failed in 1848, it’s said the Austrians celebrated by clinking their glasses of beer. The Hungarians got upset, of course, and they vowed not to clink beer glasses for 150 years. This period of time has already ended, but most Hungarians keep it because of tradition.

If you clink glasses filled with any other type of alcohol, pay attention that you look into the eyes of your clinking partner, otherwise you will be considered rude.

Last, but not least, let me mention VBK, an abbreviation for vörösboros kóla, meaning red vine with cola. I know it sounds horrid to spoil a good wine with cola, but a lot of people like it. Egészségedre, cheers!

Let’s learn some Hungarian vocabulary related to alcohol!

      kocsma - pub
      romkocsma - ruin pub
      pálinka - fruit brandy
      szilvapálinka - plum brandy
      körtepálinka - pear brandy
      barackpálinka - apricot brandy
      erős - strong
      Pálinkás jó reggelt! - Have a good morning with pálinka!
      bor - wine
      fehér bor - white wine
      vörös bor - red wine
      fröccs - wine mixed with soda
      egri bikavér - Bull’s Blood of Eger
      sör - beer
      kézműves sör - craft beer
      szőke sör - blonde beer
      barna sör - brown beer
      csapolt sör - draft beer
      gyomorkeserű - bitters
      koccint - clink
      egészségedre - cheers

If you found this post about Hungarian alcohol drinking interesting or useful, let other people know about it. Please, share it with your friends!

Budapest after the war and today


You must have heard about the beautiful, scenic capital of Hungary, Budapest. Crossed by the Danube river, it’s one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe. It’s rich history dates back to the ancient times of the Roman Empire.

Unfortunately the city had been bombed to the ground in the 2nd World War. All the bridges, the old buildings, squares, everything has been wiped off the map. If you visit today’s Budapest, you have no idea how it looked like after the war.

A picture can tell more than a thousand words. I found a video that shows the ruined Budapest and the rebuilt one, shots taken from the same angle. It is truly heartbreaking to see all that devastation war has brought on Europe. After watching the video learn some Hungarian words connected to war and rebuilding the city.


      háború - war
      világháború - World War
      második világháború - 2nd World War
      bombázás - bombing
      főváros - capital city
      Duna - Danube
      folyó - river
      rom - ruin
      katona - soldier
      halál - death
      tűz - fire
      újraépítés - rebuilding


If you found this post about the rebuilding of Budapest interesting or useful, let other people know about it, please, share it with your friends!