I. Survival expressions
|Elnézést, beszél angolul?||Excuse me. Do you speak English? (formal)|
|Elnézést, beszélsz angolul?||Excuse me. Do you speak English? (informal)|
|Sajnos, nem beszélek magyarul.||Unfortunately, I don’t speak Hungarian.|
|Lassabban, legyen szíves.||Slower, please. (formal)|
|Lassabban, légy szíves.||Slower, please. (informal)|
|Leírná? Itt van papír.||Would you write it down? Here is some paper. (formal)|
|Leírnád?||Would you write it down? (informal)|
|Megmutatná? Itt van egy térkép.||Would you show it? Here is a map. (formal)|
|Megmutatnád?||Would you show it? (informal)|
- The formal “you”
As mentioned in Unit 1, in Hungarian you can address people formally or informally. This also means that when the subject of the sentence is the second person (“you”), you will need to conjugate it in two different ways. In the informal way you just use the second person singular form of the verb (“you”); in the formal way you use the third person form of the verb and the pronoun for this formal you will be “ön.” Thus if you say “you speak” informally, you say “te beszélsz”, if you say “you speak” formally, you will say “ön beszél.”
Question: Hungarian verbs get a different ending in each person. Based on some of the sentences in the boxes above could you tell what the endings will be for the verb “beszél” [speak] (infinitive: “beszélni”) in the first (“I”), second (“you”) and third person (“he,” ”she,” and “it”) singular in the present tense? Click here to check your answer.
- Adverbial endings: “ul” and “ül”
When you say in Hungarian that you can speak a language you always add an ending after the name of the language (magyar ? magyarul), as if in English you would say “I speak in English.” Hungarian language uses endings where English language uses prepositions (such as “in,” “on” etc.). The ending we use after the name of the language is “ul” or “ül.” This ending makes an adverb from an adjective. Thus literally we say: Do you speak Hungarianly/Englishly? (There are more than one ending that make an adverb from an adjective).
Here are some more examples for language names and their adverbial form. Could you guess why the ending varies between “ul” and “ül”? There is a rule for that.
“ ul” “ül” franciául [French] svédül [Swedish] spanyolul [Spanish] Finnül [Finnish] olaszul [Italian] németül [German] norvégul [Norwegen] görögül [Greek] arabul [Arabic] törökül [Turkish] kínaiul [Chinese] csehül [Czech]
Click here to check your answer.
Learn three language names of your own choice from the table above.
For more language names and their adverbial forms click here.
- “Lassú” means “slow.” “Lassabb” means “slower.” “Lassabban” is
the adverb, expressing “in a slower fashion.” The “an” ending
makes an adverb from an adjective. (There are more than one ending that
make an adverb from an adjective).
- Verb prefixes
In Hungarian language we have what we can call in English “verb prefixes.” These are short words that most of the time do not stand by themselves; we only use them attached to a verb (they are attached to the beginning of the verb). They modify the meaning of the verb. They are important, for example, to express some tense alterations in Hungarian (Hungarian language has only one past tense that is marked by verb conjugation). In the sentences in the boxes above the four last sentences have verb prefixes. In the word “leírná” “le” means “down,” “ír” means “write” and the “ná” at the end is the conditional ending (for the third person and the formal you). In the next example “leírnád” “le” means “down,” “ír” means “write” and “nád” is the conditional ending (for the second person). The verb prefix in these words is “le” and it means a direction. The next two examples where verb prefixes are used are “megmutatná” and “megmutatnád.” The verb prefix here is “meg,” the verb is “mutat” (meaning “show”) and the endings “ná” and “nád” are the conditional endings in the third person and second person respectively. “Meg” is a very common verb prefix and expresses completion of action. Thus if you would say the verb without “meg” (which you don’t because it would sound strange), it would mean something like “would you be showing it?” “Meg” expresses that the action is complete (“Would you show it?”). (The function of “meg” is even more obvious in the past tense, where there is a big difference between the sentences “Megettem a süteményt” (“I have eaten the cake”) and “Ettem süteményt” (“I ate/was eating some cake”). Since Hungarian language does not have a verb tense that indicates the completion of an action, this verb prefix serves that function.
Click here to practice the expressions from Hungarian to English.
Click here to practice the expressions from English to Hungarian.