Looking back at 2016: 13 reasons we loved last year

No. 1: We had the opportunity to continue working with so many amazing people. We learn something from each and every person and have a huge amount of respect for everyone who decides to learn this weird and wonderful language.

No. 2: Having successfully passed their Simplified Naturalisation interviews, a few of our learners became Hungarian citizens. Congratulations to Elena, Joe, Hunter and Brian – we know how incredibly hard you have all worked so you totally deserve this.

No. 3: We had quite a few people who passed their citizenship interviews this year. Now we can’t wait to hear about the positive outcome of the application process and hope they will get invited to an oath ceremony soon.

No. 4: During the summer, Renata spent two weeks in Pécs, attending the University’s training course for teachers. This fantastic course was delivered by Szilvia Szita and Kata Pelcz, authors of the MagyarOK book series and we very much think these are the best books currently on the market and the course itself was very informative and inspirational.

No. 5: We continued translating your important documents. Amongst others, we translated all sorts of certificates (birth-, marriage- and death certificates and also divorce decrees), contracts and personal letters. We very much enjoy the thorough work every translation needs and hope to translate more of these documents in 2017. Every single document is worked on by two people: one translating and the other one proofreading the translation. We have our own stamp and each translation we provide is a certified translation accepted by Consulates around the world.

No. 6: We continued to deliver English lessons and started preparing people for the Life in the UK test. Passing this test is needed in order to apply for British Citizenship. Both of us being dual British-Hungarian citizens, we very much believe dual citizenship is useful and important for every Hungarian living in the UK and this is even more the case now the UK has voted for Brexit.

No. 7: We found ourselves branching out in new directions, since several of our students asked us to provide them instruction and advice on how to write official letters in Hungarian, and also to help them prepare for the oath ceremony, so that they would be able to take part in this special event feeling confident and proud, which they did!

No. 8: There were several occasions last year when we were able to be of assistance to our learners in situations that were important for them.  For example, Julia helped Wissam order a traditional Hungarian costume for his lovely daughter, who as part of a school project introduced Hungary as her favourite country. We were delighted when Wissam shared photos of his little girl at the ’Hungarian stand’ she had set up, complete with a real Hungarian flag – handmade in Hungary! – and lángos for the hungry visitors – I wonder who made the lángos!

No. 9: Shade stayed some days in Budapest, but he was also determined to travel to the small country town where his great grandparents had lived before they emigrated to America in the late 1890s. Julia was very worried when Shade contacted her, asking about the cost of a taxi from Budapest to Parád – there was no way she would let him spend that much! – and she managed to put him in contact with a ridesharing website, and he was able to organise his trip himself, although he is only a beginner in Hungarian. At the end of his day trip, Shade did the 2-hour journey back to Budapest on the bus, opting to experience real, everyday life in Hungary. His driver only knew a few words in English in typing, and almost none in speech, yet Shade was able to meet at the department store near his room on Rakóczi út at the right time. The driver left him off in Gyöngyös, and Shade found a bus from there. The bus driver forgot to tell him when they got to Parád, but Shade saw a building with “Parád” on the side and jumped up in time. Julia was very proud of him, and she smiled when he wrote, “Not many people speak English outside Budapest, do they?”

No. 10: In 2016 lovely people who have made Hungary their home have continued and have begun learning with us. It is so refreshing to hear how positively they feel about Hungary, and how they appreciate the country, her people and Hungarian culture. Surely, such positive thoughts and energy help to make the world a better place.

No. 11: In October, our learner Bill and his wife Ágnes travelled down by train from their home in Budapest to spend the day with Julia and her husband.  They visited János’s apiary (bee yard) and had a very entertaining bilingual morning there.  It was such a pleasure for them to meet in person – icing on the cake of a friendship that has flourished during the months of Hungarian language learning on Skype.

No. 12: We started translating documents for bilingual weddings back in 2014, and since then, each year we were approached by people requesting assistance with their wedding.
In 2014 we had the privilege to assist with Jono’s and Erica’s wedding, in 2015 Chris’s and Csilla’s and Zsolti’s and Tania’s fantastic weddings took place and in 2016 it was Giannis’s and Kinga’s turn. We do realise that a wedding is one of the most important events in every couple’s life and although our share was just a small part in the success of these days, we felt we had a huge responsibility in making these weddings the special occasions they deserved to be.
For some of these weddings, we provided our translation service and translated the texts of the legal ceremonies, the blessings, the families’ speeches, best man speeches and most importantly, the vows themselves. Some other weddings, we also went in person, and provided in-person interpreting services to make sure the two families were able to talk to each other and that there were no communication barriers on these very important days.
Now we are wondering: who will get married in 2017? If it’s You, and would like our linguistic assistance for your big day, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and have a chat with Renata about how we could help you.

No. 13: To close the year in a celebratory fashion, at the end of November we went with our London learners to the Hungarian restaurant The Rosemary for a Hungarian meal. The food was of course delicious, it was a great opportunity for our learners to get to know each other, and chat about their experience of learning Hungarian. When ordering their food, as part of experiential learning, our learners were able to use their Hungarian in an authentic communicational situation. We are currently in the process of organising our next dinner together to which hopefully Julia will also come over from Hungary to join us!

Many thanks to Wissam, Bill and Shade for sending us their photos and allowing us to use them for this article.

 

 

 

 

Hungry for more Hungarian? Let’s make 2016 a good year!

As we start the new year here at Hungarian Language Solutions, we can’t help looking back at 2015 and think of the amazing people we worked with and the goals we helped achieve. We worked hard and completed several important translating projects, as well as having continued our usual translation work involving official documents and specialised texts. Because we can provide certified translations that are endorsed by the Embassy, we are able to offer this translation service to those of our clients who are studying on our language courses in preparation for the Hungarian Citizenship Interview. Feedback from our clients shows that they are impressed with the flexibility with which we work, and it is convenient to have the whole package available from one service provider.
Since Hungarian Language Solutions began in 2009, we have helped numerous individuals prepare for successful citizenship interviews, which are part of the naturalization procedure. Hungarian citizenship is very close to our hearts: both of us have dual, British-Hungarian citizenships.       Hungry for more Hungarian - architecture
During a Hungarian Citizenship Interview, the applicant is required to demonstrate a certain level of proficiency in the Hungarian language. Understandably, we are very proud of our clients when they clear this hurdle, for they have worked very hard at their language learning in order to be able to declare that they “understand and speak the Hungarian language”. For this reason, our Hungarian language courses are built on the communicative approach to language learning. Our aim is for our learners to be able to understand and respond to the questions or inquiries posed to them, and to be relaxed and confident enough to show that they are friendly, open individuals. All of them are excited about the possibility of gaining Hungarian citizenship, and of course very proud of their Hungarian origin and fond of the cultural ties. We want these things to be evident at the interview, and this is what we aim for as we work with our learners.    Hungry for more Hungarian - cakes
We have a number of learners who passed their Citizenship Interviews in 2015 and are now sitting tight waiting to be granted citizenship. 2016 started well: two of our lovely learners have just received invitations to attend their oath ceremonies and we couldn’t be more excited for them.

Hungry for more Hungarian - Christmas markets

 

Stepping into 2016, we are full of plans for developments, but one thing won’t change: we treat every single client as we would like to be treated ourselves. With translation projects we produce high-qualitiy translations that read like originals, always meet the agreed deadlines and it goes without saying that we adhere to strict confidentiality. When it comes to delivering Hungarian language lessons, we treat every learner as they were our only client and feel privileged to be able to join them on this very important, special journey. We carry on offering a first, free lesson to each new learner so that people can see what they get for their money before they commit themselves.
In 2016, we continue to build our bridge between cultures.

 

No, seriously – who is he? (Communication can be fun in a bilingual, English-Hungarian family!)

I’m sure many of us, finding ourselves in a foreign-language environment, and using the elementary knowledge we have of the language – which to our mind ‘isn’t bad’ – have been able to get a pretty good idea of what those around us are talking about. At the level preceding this, the foreign language is so new to us we are extremely surprised at how similar it is to our own native language! They use so many of our words, and the names of objects and people are so familiar… Our languages must be related somehow, even if they belong to completely different language families!
This is how my brother Peter must have felt many years ago when he was still at pre-elementary level in his Hungarian. Peter and his family were staying with us at our home in Martfű, a pleasant little town in the Great Hungarian Plain beside the River Tisza. You can imagine the bustle and excitement in a house full of four- to fourteen-year-olds, with animated interaction between adults and children, and everyone wanting to be heard and understood in their own language. The irate mother (me) is trying desperately to keep discipline and order among her Hungarian-speaking sons and daughter and her English-speaking nieces. Likewise Peter and Miranda, who are attempting the same with their daughters, niece and nephews. “Téboly!” – a Hungarian speaker would cry; “It’s a madhouse!” – so the Englishman.
Knowing little of the mysteries of Hungarian grammar, Peter was still oblivious of the ‘roppant érdekes’ (extremely interesting) way in which the infinitive tenni (to put) takes its form in the imperative. Nor was he quite clear on the meaning of the word vissza (adverb, means ‘back’ in Hungarian) – although it certainly sounded familiar to him! Finally, no longer able to suppress his curiosity, and with Hungarian-English words and expressions whistling past his ears, Peter asked, “Who’s that bloke Ted Vissza you keep mentioning?” All I could do was laugh and say:”He’s a friend of that guy Ted Le!” *

 

For Theodore, who did so well preparing for his citizenship interview, so he knows why I laughed when he said I could call him Ted.

Communication can be fun in a bilingual, English-Hungarian family!

* Julia’s comments: ‘Tedd vissza!’ means ‘Put (it) back!’ in Hungarian. ‘Tedd le!’ means ‘Put (it) down!’.

How to pronounce Hungarian vowels and double-digit consonants

When people start learning Hungarian they are usually very conscious about their pronunciation. But please believe me: if you keep practising (listening to Hungarian CDs, the Hungarian radio, or having lessons) your pronunciation will be fine and people will understand you. At the end of the day, your aim is not to win a pronunciation competition, but to communicate with people and if you stick to practising, you will certainly be able to do that.Hungarian vowels and double-digit consonants

On the other hand, I perfectly understand where this self-consciousness might come from: I used to be like this with my English when we first moved to the UK. Now I have been living here for nine years and still have a strong Hungarian accent! However, if I was waiting for my accent to disappear, I would probably never say a word. (A Hungarian accent is notoriously difficult to lose and the chances are that I will still have it in thirty years’ time.)

But to make your life a bit easier, I have prepared a short recording on Hungarian vowels and consonants. Whilst listening to it, please refer to the list below and have a look at the words I’m saying. This way, as well as hearing the words, you can see them written down in front of you, so you will be able to understand what I’m referring to. When you hear a gap in the recording, that is for you to repeat the word please.

So here is the list of vowels and consonants I go through, please click here to have a listen.

  • Vowels

long and short vowels: a – á, e – é , i – í, o – ó, ö – ő, u – ú, ü –ű

a              alma (apple), magyar (Hungarian)

á              Magyarország (Hungary)

e             te (you)

é             én (I)

i               Szia! (Hi!)

í               tíz (ten)

o             Jó napot kívánok! (Good Day!)

ó             jó (good)

ö             Ön (polite You), köszönöm – thank you

ő             ő (he, she)

u             Duna (Danube), gulyás (Goulasch)

ú             húsz (twenty)

ü             ül (sit), eskü (oath)

ű             tűz (fire)

  • Double-digit consonants:

ty            tyúk (hen)

cs           csak (only)

gy           magyar (Hungarian)

sz           szép (nice, beautiful)

zs           zsiráf (giraffe)

ny           nyilatkozat (statement)

ly            Erdély (Transylvania)

Please let me know in the ‘Comments’ section if you have any questions and I will be more than happy to help you!

 

New Year, New Project: ‘Hungarian Word of the Day’ on Twitter

'Hungarian word of the day' on Twitter Creating a Twitter account has been on my to-do-list for a long time, but a few weeks ago I finally sat down and started using Twitter on a daily basis. I’m not saying I’m an expert yet, but I’m now feeling comfortable enough to start posting every day.

So from next Monday I am going to post a new Hungarian word each day. They probably won’t be random words but I will try to follow a logic – I am going to give it another thought during the weekend and come up with something logical.

So if you are a learner of Hungarian and would like to learn a new word each day, follow me on Twitter and feel free to ask any questions you might have. Also, if you have a particular topic you would like to see words from, please let me know here in the ‘Comments’ section or in an email, and I will add that topic to my list. Thank you!

2012: A great year for Hungarian Language Solutions!

 Sometimes I feel I’m just running around focusing on the present and immediate future and forget to look back at the things I have achieved and be grateful for them. Today, even though preparing and filing my self-assessment is at the top of my to-do list, I decided to sit down and look back at 2012: I felt it was a special year for Hungarian Language Solutions and wanted to make a list of the things I have achieved.

First of all, I translated a lot and through translation, I contributed to the success of several businesses. This year, my main areas of work were foreign trade, aviation and orthopaedics. I have also translated a number of certificates from English to Hungarian and Hungarian to English, e.g. birth and marriage certificates and police checks.

But most importantly I had the chance to teach Hungarian and work with some amazing people: I have helped people prepare for their citizenship interviews, translated Hungarian citizenship application forms and helped writing biographies. Hungarian citizenship has a special place in my heart: I always feel those people shouldn’t have had to leave the country in the first place so it’s only fair if their children and grandchildren can become Hungarian citizens now.

I have also worked with people who learn Hungarian for a variety of other reasons: again, these guys truly inspire me and in 2013 I’d like to continue doing my very best to help them enhancing their lives.

In 2012 I was also lucky enough to have been awarded a grant by City&Guilds that enabled me to take a course in PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector). As part of the course I had the chance to familiarise myself with the theoretical and practical knowledge of teaching in the lifelong learning sector. I have enjoyed this course and hope to be able to put the knowledge to good use in 2013!

Thank you to You for reading and following my blog posts and getting in touch with me throughout the year. Please stay tuned for more to come in 2013!

 

A very unusual present: Christmas Gift Vouchers for Hungarian Lessons

Christmas Gift Vouchers for Hungarian Lessons

A very unusual present: Christmas Gift Vouchers for Hungarian Lessons

Last week a gentleman contacted me asking how come Christmas vouchers are not available to buy on my website. It turns out his wife has been thinking about taking Hungarian lessons for a while but somehow never got round to actually starting it. So he realised this could be a very nice Christmas present (which just proves for us ladies how thoughtful our partners and husbands can be!) and asked me to prepare a voucher in his name.

The business side of my brain says it should have been me coming up with this idea but as it was not the case I thanked him for his suggestion and worked out the following scheme.

You can buy as many lessons as you would like but from 3 lessons upwards you get an extra lesson free. E.g.:

3 in-person or Skype lessons + 1 free lesson: GBP 60.00

4 in-person or Skype lessons + 1 free lesson: GBP 80.00

5 in-person or Skype lessons + 1 free lesson: GBP 100.00

The lessons are the usual high-quality, good-value for money lessons I deliver with well-designed and thorough lessonplans and useful follow-up vocab lists guiding our work.

If you would like to give the gift of a unique language or would prefer to keep this present for yourself you can contact me here saying how many lessons you would like to pay for and I will be in touch about payment methods and send you your pretty gift voucher.

Walking down the High Street yesterday I realised that shops are full of clutter and presents that will probably be returned soon after Christmas. I am confident that my Christmas gift vouchers will not fall into that category and will represent a meaningful present and actually add something extra to your loved one’s life.

Teaching Hungarian in a more professional way – my journey on the PTLLS course

Two years ago, my amazing business development advisor, Leonore Lord told me about the PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) course and how she thought having the award would help me teach in a more professional way. She could not have been more right.

Having a small business, I was eligible to apply for a City&Guilds grant and after a successful application procedure and interview I was on my way to getting enrolled!

I chose Nescot (North East Surrey College of Technology ) as my course provider and looking back now, I’m really happy with my choice.

When I had decided to take the PTLLS course my main motivation was that I wanted to become a better teacher through familiarising myself with the theoretical and practical knowledge of teaching in the lifelong learning sector. The lifelong learning sector includes all post-16 education, including further education and adult and community learning. This is the area I work in and wanted to know more about.

In the past few months I have been learning about the most important learning and teaching strategiesTeaching Hungarian in a more professional way, including roles and responsibilities of a teacher, using inclusive learning and teaching approaches, principles of assessment, etc. I have adapted my teaching strategies to achieve ‘multisensory learning’ and learnt that during the lessons I must stimulate as many senses as I possibly can so that information gets engraved and memories last a lifetime. But this will be the topic of another blogpost as well as another area I’m especially interested in: adapting teaching strategies to suit different learning styles. Here I will show you a test that will help you to identify your own learning style. Then taking this to the next level I can help you with practical examples of activities that suit different learning styles.

My goal on the PTLLS course is the same as the aim of writing these subsequent blogposts: to make your journey of learning Hungarian as enjoyable and easy as possible.

Please let me know your thoughts here or send me a message about the challenges you encounter when learning Hungarian and I will try my very best to help you. Many thanks!

 

Your questions about Hungarian citizenship answered

This has been an exceptionally busy autumn so far and I have received quite a few emails enquiring about the new Hungarian citizenship law and my experience helping people prepare for their Hungarian citizenship interviews. Although I replied to all emails I was also thinking it would be nice to compile the answers here hoping that they might be useful to others, too.

Recently I have been contacted by an American lady asking whether there is a test she needs to sit. The answer is: no, there is no test, but there is a short interview you need to pass. The purpose of the interview is to establish that you fulfil all four criteria mentioned in my previous post and to check your ability to communicate in Hungarian.

Someone else asked me whether he would be allowed to keep his current citizenship after taking up Hungarian citizenship. Of course I am no legal expert but my understanding is the following: Hungary allows dual citizenship but you need to check whether the country where you have your existing citizenship allows it also. If it does then there should be no problem and you will be able to hold both citizenships. (I am a British-Hungarian dual citizen myself: both Hungary and the UK allow dual citizenship, but please check your individual circumstances before applying for Hungarian  citizenship.)

A gentleman from Canada asked me how long in my experience it takes to become a Hungarian citizen. Well, in my experience it is quite a long process and I have heard the processing authorities are very busy. E.g. a couple of my learners applied for citizenship in July 2011 and had their interviews in Budapest in September 2011. Then it took the authorities quite a long time to process their documents and they finally had their citizenship ceremony in April 2012. Only at this point when they received their Certificate of Hungarian Citizenship were they able to apply for Hungarian passport.

I have also been asked how many lessons one needs to have in order to pass the interview. Unfortunately I can’t give a definite answer to this question: some people need more, some fewer lessons. This depends on many factors such as your ability to memorise foreign words, how much time you have to study on your own, etc. Also, some people are very confident with a limited amount of fluency (and good on them, there is nothing wrong with being confident!) and some need a bit more practice to feel confident.

If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch – this happens to be an area I am reasonably knowledgeable in and extremely passionate about!

Also, if you are preparing for your Hungarian citizenship interview or learning Hungarian for yourself without applying for citizenship please join our Facebook group ‘Hungry for Hungarian’. Here we chat about Hungarian music, literature, traditions, citizenship and all things Hungarian. By clicking on this link our group should come up and if you click ‘Request to join’ I will be able to add you. Hope to see you soon!