Unit 4

Cultural Points

I. Asking about somebody's age

As in many cultures, asking about people's age is not polite in Hungary . Of course, once you are on more friendly terms with somebody, you can ask their age.

III. Chinese immigration in Hungary

Many people are surprised to learn that the largest number of immigrants to Hungary in recent years is Chinese people. In fact, Hungary has one of the largest Chinese communities in Europe . There is a large number of Chinese restaurants and Chinese buffets in Budapest . You can also find the so-called "kínai pica," the Chinese market, whose main attraction is not so much traditional Chinese products as cheap products of all kinds (clothing, shampoo, perfumes etc.). Many people choose to shop there because those prices just cannot be beaten. To read more about Chinese immigration, Chinese business in Hungary you can check the following articles on the web:

Malls are also popular places to visit for shopping. Malls are considered expensive by Hungarians but generally thought to sell high quality products (it is expensive to rent a place in a mall, thus only big companies moved in like Marks and Spencer, Levi's, Mango etc.). Malls started to appear in the 1990s in Hungary after the change of the political system. Some of the most popular ones are West End, Duna Plaza, Árkád, Lurdy Ház.

IV. Public Transportation in Budapest

Public transportation in Hungary , and especially in Budapest , is excellent. Basically you can get to any part of Budapest with public transportation which is saying much about a city with this size. Many foreigners living in Budapest do not buy a car or use a car daily because it seems easier to get around with public transportation. Parking can be a problem in the downtown area and driving is not always fun; drivers are often impatient and often overspeed (if the traffic does not slow them down). It is not unheard of that when learning how to drive from an official instructor, the instructor tells the learner that it is not so much the set speed limit as the speed of the actual traffic that the driver should follow (of course, once the exam is passed).

Public transportation in Budapest consists of buses ("busz"), trams ("villamos"), trolley (electric) buses ("trolibusz"), the metro ("metró") and the HÉV () . The buses and trams running in Budapest were made in Hungary by the Hungarian company Ikarusz. Some newer metro cars were made in Hungary , but most metro cars were made in and imported from the Soviet Union .

See the pictures below:

Bus ("busz")

newer older
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Tram ("villamos"): There are different types.

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Rarely you can have the privilege of traveling on one with wooden seats (# 47).

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The cars for tram # 3 were bought from Hanover a few years ago. It was a controversial act of the government, some disagreeing with it on the grounds that the trams were not new and the Hungarian manufacture industry were not helped by the deal.

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Trolley bus ("trolibusz"). The breed of a tram and a bus. It works with electricity from wires above but does not run on tracks. (An interesting historical fact though not many people are aware: Trolley # 70 - still running with this number - was named after Stalin's 70th birthday.)

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Metro # 1 ("metró")More commonly known as the "kisföldalatti" (small undergroung), sometimes called the yellow line ("sárga metró"). This is a historical treasure. The "kisföldalatti" was inaugurated in 1896, this makes it the oldest underground on the continent and second oldest in Europe (the first one was built in England ). It runs on the Pest side (East-West direction)

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Metro # 2. Also known as the red line ("piros metró"). This line goes under the Danube thus connecting Buda and Pest (East-West direction).

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Metro # 3. Also known as the blue line ("kék metro"). It goes in Pest (North-South direction).

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(More on transportation in the next unit).

Proverb:

  Lassan járj, tovább érsz.

  More haste, less speed.

Literal translation: Go slow and you will get further.

Meaning: If you do things slowly and thoroughly, it will yield better results than a job done in a hurry.

Some foreigners mention when visiting Budapest that Budapest is more relaxed and laid back than the United States or Western Europe . Although sometimes tourists do not have the chance to really look into the often hurried daily life of Hungarians, there is some truth in this observation. The concept that "time is money" is less engrained in people's mind in Hungary than in countries further West.

Vocabulary and grammar of the proverb:

lass ú

slow

lassan

slowly

jár

go back and forth (no exact English equivalent)

járj

imperative for "jár" go!

tovább

further

ér

reach

érsz

you reach