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.

 

 

 

 

The direct object of the verb – how Hungarian tackles flexible word order

Many of you who have, or who are studying Hungarian with us at Hungarian Language Solutions speak more than one language, so you are familiar with various grammatical terms, and with how grammatical structures work in the languages you speak. It can be reassuring to hear your teacher talk about, for example, the dative and genitive case, as this serves as a reminder that no matter how exotic or way-out a ‘foreign’ language may be, we humans have been able to observe and identify the linguistic building blocks of LANGUAGE, and we are able to apply this knowledge when learning any language we decide we want to. If only it were as simple as that! Because, not all of us are multilingual, or even bilingual.  For some of you who are interested in learning Hungarian, it may have been many years since you had any kind of language lesson at school, and perhaps you found the grammar constructions you were taught then to some extent confusing , and you may have forgotten much of the terminology you were expected to learn at the time. Don’t let that discourage you! Remember, human language is an intrinsic natural phenomenon. Some linguists consider language to be faculty humans are born with, and that we have a natural ability to develop this capacity. My point is that human language is not something mystical and unfathomable. I am convinced that it is natural for any of us to connect with other languages, and that we all have the ability to absorb and utilize non-native languages.

Of course, knowledge of grammar speeds up and facilitates the language learning process. So, don’t be intimidated by grammar rules, because discovering how a language works is fascinating and fun. When in real, living linguistic expression we recognise the grammatical structures and parts of speech we learnt about during language study, it can be a true revelation and very exciting. Let us consider the accusative case in Hungarian, and then read a poem which demonstrates beautifully how this case functions in the Hungarian language.

In the accusative case, the object receives the direct action of the verb. In some languages, a noun takes a specific position in a sentence to make it function as a direct object. This happens when a language uses strict syntax or word order. Hungarian is a language with flexible word order, and to tackle this, in the accusative case the direct object of the verb takes the accusative suffix –t. Sometimes this suffix is presented with its linking vowel, and so we have a choice of –t, -ot, -at, -et, -öt as the accusative suffix.  Those of you who are familiar with vowel harmony in Hungarian will understand why the linking vowel for the suffix -t is not always the same! Thus, although in the Hungarian language the position of a direct object in a sentence depends on, for example, what one wishes to emphasise with the sentence structure, the direct object will always be identifiable, and there will be no confusion as to the meaning of the sentence.  Of course, remember that not every Hungarian word ending in ‘t’ functions as a direct object in the sentence! When learning nouns, pay attention to the accusative forms and look out for exceptions.
The general rules are the following:
– If the word ends in a vowel, or the consonants l, ly, n, ny, r, s, sz, z, zs the ending is usually -t without a linking vowel: kocsit (car), lányt (girl), banánt (banana).
Of course do not forget that if the last vowel of the word is -a, or -e it becomes long when the suffix –t is added: medve  medvét, alma  almát, éjszaka→éjszakát.
– Back and mixed vowel words usually take -o as a linking vowel: szomszédot (neighbour), virágot (flower), paradicsomot (tomato).
– Front vowel words take ‘e’ as a linking vowel: gyereket (child), mézet (honey).
– Rounded vowel words (where the last syllable contains a rounded vowel: ö ő ü ű) usually take -ö as a linking vowel: gyümölcsöt (fruit), bőröndöt (suitcase). Even so, there are exceptions and they are usually short, one-syllable words:
(book) = könyv→könyvet;
(ear) = fül→fület;
– Those short, one syllable words we mentioned above are quite often problematic, not only when they have a rounded vowel in the stem. With these, the linking vowel may be an -a: házat (house), tollat (pen). So it’s best to check your dictionary.
– With compound words follow the rule you have learnt already: the last part of the compound decides vowel harmony: számítógépet (computer), óratervet.
– In foreign words you need to check the last syllable to determine the linking vowel: koncertet (concert). *

In the following poem by Nagy László you will be able to recognize the accusative case, and you will notice how the nouns are inflected in the accusative.  You can listen to Nagy László’s rendering of his poem at this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smcOpm8qYU4
Nagy_László_1972 The poet László Nagy

Some words from the poem:
szerencse = luck;
szerelem = love;
kemence = kiln, oven;
gabona = grain;
parola (from the French) = word of honour expressed by a handshake;
láng = flame;
válasz = answer;
fények = lights;
élet = life

The title of the poem is God give me (adni = to give;  Isten = God)

Nagy László: Adjon az Isten

Adjon az Isten
Adjon az Isten
szerencsét,
szerelmet, forró
kemencét,
üres vékámba
gabonát,
árva kezembe
parolát,
lámpámba lángot,
ne kelljen
korán az ágyra hevernem,
kérdésre választ
ő küldjön,
hogy hitem széjjel
ne dűljön,
adjon az Isten
fényeket,
temetők helyett
életet –
nekem a kérés
nagy szégyen
adjon úgyis, ha
nem kérem.

Few literary translations of this poem have been produced. But the language and expression used is clear and natural, and with some dictionary work, you will be able to understand it, and perhaps you could even write your own translation of this beautiful piece of poetry. I hope you feel inspired to!
How did you like this poem? Have you managed to find all the objects? Please let us know in a comment – we would love to hear what you think!

Julia

*: We have used our favourite grammar book: Szita Szilvia – Görbe Tamás: Gyakorló
magyar nyelvtan (A Practical Hungarian Grammar) page 124, Akadémia Kiadó,
Budapest, 2014. You can buy it here: http://magyar-ok.hu/hu/order.html

 

 

 

 

 

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!’.

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!