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.

 

Get in the mood for Easter – Learn a Hungarian Easter poem!

You might not know it looking out the window but spring has officially started!
On Monday we celebrate Easter, and on this day in Hungary men visit all of their women relatives, friends and colleagues. Friends in groups, fathers with their sons and single men leave early in the morning and their ‘tour’ sometimes lasts all day long. They greet girls and women with little poems and sprinkle them with cologne or water. The girls in turn treat them with hand-painted eggs and home-made cakes.
As a preparation for this, one of our learners has asked for a little Hungarian Easter poem to learn.
So Boys, if you would like to greet your Hungarian girlfriends with an Easter poem on Monday, you could learn the following:

Zöld erdőben jártam,
Kék ibolyát láttam.
El akart hervadni,
Szabad-e locsolni?

 

 

 

Have a listen to this little recording and perfect your pronunciation as well!


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!

 

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!

Free Hungarian taster sessions

At Hungarian Language Solutions, we are passionate about the Hungarian language. To celebrate Adult Learners’ Week, we would like to share this passion and inspire adults to discover this unique language.

Experience something new by working through a 45-minute, one-to-one or one-to-two taster session and find out more about the courses we run. You can choose between two themes for your lesson: ‘Holiday Hungarian’ or a general, introductory Hungarian lesson. These two themes are for beginners but we are very flexible, so if you are e.g. an intermediate or advanced learner please let us know in advance.

As we would like to make best use of time & technology enabling you to have your lesson from your home the sessions will be delivered on Skype through the Internet. Doing this, we also would like to reach out to adults who would not normally have the opportunity to have face-to-face lessons.

On Skype as well as speaking we type the words and sentences so you can hear them and at the same time see them on your screen.

System requirements:

Skype is simple to download and free of charge. It is downloadable from http://www.skype.com/intl/en-gb/get-skype/

Internet Connection: Broadband works best.

Speakers and microphone (built-in or separate): a headset is best.

Camera (built-in or separate): nice to have, but not a must.

How to book

21 taster sessions will be delivered in various slots from Sunday, 13 May 2012 to Friday, 18 May 2012. To register your attendance for this free event please contact renata@hungariansolutions.com. Renata will confirm available time slots and discuss technicalities with you.

Do you know how to get into a state of ‘Flow’ when learning a new language?

In 2011 I was lucky enough to have been awarded an EU-grant which allowed me to travel to Munich, Germany, and attend a course on intercultural communication. As part of the course I not only met six amazing professionals passionate about their chosen fields, but also learnt about the famous theorists and their work and how this can influence my own work in a very practical way.

Before attending the course there was one particular topic with regard to teaching Hungarian which was quite often on my mind. At the time I had not known there was a famous theory on this, I just felt there was ‘a narrow strip of land’ on which my learners can confidently navigate, where they find the lessons challenging without being too demanding.

For if they find the lessons too easy, they can get bored and we certainly do not want that; and if I put the bar too high, they may find the lessons too difficult, and so get frustrated and lose interest.

We discussed this with every learner of mine, and agreed that we need to communicate in an honest and very open way to make sure we can find that place where they feel comfortable, but not too comfortable. Learners’ feedback is crucial so that we can find this ‘strip of land’ which in some cases can, indeed, be quite narrow.

It was a very nice reassurance that during Assist International HR’s Intercultural Communication Course in Munich I learnt about Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (pronounced “chicks send me high” according to the Professor!), a fellow Hungarian who  worked out the theory we now refer to as the ‘Flow’. According to this, people are most happy when they are in a state of flow, i.e. when they are fully immersed and don’t even notice time passing.

According to Csíkszentmihályi some people find it easier to get into a state of ‘Flow’ than others. These are people with an autotelic personality, i.e. people whose personality traits include persistence, low self-centeredness and curiosity. However this does not mean that only this group of people can get into the ‘Flow’, on the contrary: I am sure that everyone can find this magical state and there are several methods which can help with this.

For a great view on how to achieve the ‘Creative State of Flow’, please read Victor Stachura’s superb article.

I personally think that learning a new language can be a very rewarding experience and one, that, similar to playing music, is perfectly capable of getting people into the ‘Flow’. I am also convinced that it works the other way around also: a state of ‘Flow’ can immensely help the language learning process. When I teach Hungarian I do my absolute best to get each and every person into this state and help them increase the time they spend in ‘Flow’.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you find it easy to get into the ‘Flow’?

How to decide whether to learn Hungarian one-to-one, or in a group setting?

Well, there is no simple answer to this question, as basically your requirements, flexibility and the type of learner you are, all play an important part in your decision making process. I think you should take all the factors below into consideration before paying for a language course, or start taking individual lessons.

For an excellent look at this topic, please read Abroad Languages’ Group Courses vs. One-to-One: Which Will Help You Learn Languages Faster?

In this article learners are encouraged to carefully consider all pros and cons and decide on the course they think they will enjoy most.  ‘After all, if you are having fun, it will be easier to learn and improve your languages skills.’

Learning Hungarian in a group setting

Group lessons can be very interactive and interesting and my opinion is that in a group setting your Hungarian teacher/tutor will usually have lots of opportunities to deliver a fun lesson. With more learners there can also be interaction between the students as well as with the tutor.

Also, please do not underestimate the power of learning from other non-native speakers. Although this short article is about learning Hungarian, similar considerations apply to learning any language in a group setting.

In his well-researched and very informative article, ‘Foreign Language Study: A Language Learning System’, Jeff Blum says he attended a conversation club at a local bar whilst travelling in Latin America. Jeff found that it was very useful to notice the mistakes others made and reflect on whether or not he was making those same mistakes. Lots of research prove that reflection is a very important part of the learning process, so whether you attend a conversation club, or taking lessons in a group setting, reflecting on other learners’ mistakes and phrases used can be extremely useful.

Group courses are offered in various levels from beginner to advanced, and I think it is extremely important that when you are looking to start taking group lessons in Hungarian, you find a group where the level closely matches your existing level of Hungarian. If you are miles ahead of the rest of the learners in your group then inevitably you will be bored and wasting your time and money. If, however, you are a little bit behind the rest of the group, but you do have the time and dedication to study and work hard then this can actually turn out an advantage: a friendly group can provide an added incentive and ‘pulling power’ to individual learners who are lagging a little bit behind. On the other hand, you need to be careful that this gap between yourself and your classmates is not too big; if the gap is too big, then you might struggle keeping up with the group. If, for example, you are an intermediate learner of Hungarian who has previously studied Hungarian grammar explained in English only, then attending an advanced group where explanations are delivered in Hungarian might mean a lot of the explanation will go over your head.

Also, in a group your Hungarian teacher/tutor won’t always necessarily have the time to deal with your individual questions. Remember: the more people are in a group the least time each person can get.

One more thing to keep in mind is that if you are planning lots of holidays or are susceptible to catching every outbreak of flu then you might miss a lot of lessons; for of course the group won’t be waiting for you. Whilst if you are taking one-to-one lessons, then your Hungarian tutor will hopefully be understanding and won’t charge for any lessons skipped provided that you gave sufficient notice in advance.

Private Hungarian lessons

Therefore if you have little spare time in your life, it might be a good idea to start taking one-to-one rather than group lessons. This way, you don’t have to share the time and attention with anyone else: in a one-to-one setting, it is about you and your progress, only.

I obviously can’t talk about other Hungarian tutors, but this is how one-to-one lessons at Hungarian Language Solutions work. Your first lesson is free as I feel it’s only fair that you can see what you get for your money before committing yourself. During the first lesson, as well as giving you a taster of the Hungarian language, we also use the opportunity to get to know you a bit better and find out a little about your goals.

Lessons are designed with you in mind: we think long and hard about what kind of learner you are (e.g. based on the 4MAT System there are four learning types: the ‘why’, the ‘what’, the ‘how’ and the ‘what if’ type. But more about this in a later post.). We also put a lot of time and thought into thinking about various ways to make lessons fun and effective. I, personally, love tutoring Hungarian so much that sometimes I wake up during the night and start thinking about what else I could do in the lessons, and how I could help a client’s progress.

Every learner is different so each lesson plan needs to reflect this. At Hungarian Language Solutions each lesson plan is customised to match your needs and we encourage you to be very vocal about your goals: we can help you the most if we know what your goals are and what you would like to get out of your lessons.

Whether you are having your lessons in person, or on Skype on the Internet, our lessons do not end once the 60-minute period is over. We are here to provide continuous support; so if you get stuck with anything, you are free to contact us with your questions during the period between lessons.

In general, we always treat clients the way we would like to be treated ourselves: with respect and lots of attention.

This is clearly important when learning any language, not just Hungarian: you need to make sure you work with a tutor who takes the time to customise your lesson plans and provides all the support you need in order to maximise the advantage of the one-to-one lessons you are paying for.

Conclusion

So these are a few of the important points to take into consideration when deciding between group and one-to-one learning, and please don’t forget: whichever route you decide to go down, the important thing is that you enjoy the journey.