Unit 1

I. Greetings.

In Hungarian there are two basic ways of addressing people: a formal and an informal way. You use the formal way with strangers; colleagues can also address each other in this way (the informal way is becoming more common though). You use the informal greeting form with friends; besides, young people use this among themselves regardless whether they know each other or not. Adults also use the informal way when they address children or adolescents.

  1. Formal greetings.
    You use different greeting forms for saying hello and saying goodbye. You say hello in three different ways depending on the time of the day.
    1. Saying hello.

      In the morning till approx. 9 a.m.:

      Jó reggelt!
      Jó reggelt kívánok!
      Good morning!
      I wish you good morning!

      During the day after 9 a.m. till approx. 5 p.m.:

      Jó napot!

      Jó napot kívánok!

      Hello!/Good day!/Good morning!/Good afternoon!
      I wish you good day!

      In the evening (after 5 p.m.):

      Jó estét!
      Jó estét kívánok!

      Good evening!
      I wish you good evening!

    2. Saying goodbye.

      Viszontlátásra!
      Viszlát!

      See you later!

      Note: People more often say goodbye in Hungary than in the U.S. When you leave a store or an office, it is expected to say goodbye.

      For the night:

      Jó éjszakát!

      Good night.

  2. Informal greetings.
    When you address somebody informally, you can use the same form to say hello and say goodbye. With the word “heló” you can actually say hello and also goodbye! What makes a difference though is whether you address one or two people; you use a different form if you say hello/goodbye to more than person.
    1. to address one person

      Szia!
      Heló!
      Szervusz!

      Hi!/Bye!

      Note: "Szervusz" is slightly more formal than the other two.

    2. to address more than one person

      Sziasztok!
      (Helósztok!)
      Szervusztok!

      (Hi everybody!)/Bye.

      Note: Once again, the informal greeting forms above can be used both when saying hello and saying goodbye.

Practice

Say the greeting forms appropriate to the situation.

  1. At 11 a.m. you meet a shop assistant. Check your answer here.
  2. At 9 a.m. you meet to a waiter. Check your answer here.
  3. At 3 p.m. you meet the kid of your friend. Check your answer here.
  4. At 4 p.m. you meet your friend. Check your answer here.
  5. At 7 p.m. you say good bye to a waiter. Check your answer here.
  6. At 9 a.m. you meet your friends. Check your answer here.
  7. At 10 a.m. you meet some people you have never met before. Check your answer here.
  8. At 2 p.m. you meet people you have never met before. Check your answer here.
  9. At 12 p.m. you say good bye to people you met the first time. Check your answer here.
  10. At 3 p.m. you say good bye to a shop assistant. Check your answer here.