The People’s Poet and the Wife of Wives: Sándor Petőfi and Júlia Szendrey

As I write this on the 15th day of March, 2017, Hungary is commemorating one of the most significant events in the history of the nation: the Revolution and Freedom Fight of 1848-1849. On this day, meetings and processions are organized throughout the country, patriotic citizens gather around memorials to listen to speeches and sing Hungary’s national anthem (Himnusz) and the nation’s revered and inspiring poem set to music, the ‘Szózat’. People young and old wear cockades in the national colours of red, white and green. It is a national holiday, not so much a celebration as a time to remember our heroes of the past, and to reflect on how in all societies there will always be aims and ideals to strive for. Hungarian rosette
On this special occasion one of the central figures we remember is Sándor Petőfi, known as the People’s Poet, who came from an ordinary background, but with his genius as a poet and keen insight regarding the political scene, was able to champion his nation during the turbulent years of the mid-19th century. The Hungarians were fighting for independence from the Habsburg monarchy, for as part of Austria-Hungary they were oppressed, and Austria did not consider Hungary to be an equal in the partnership. Unrest led to revolution and a fight for freedom that lasted from 1848-1849. Sándor Petőfi rallied the Hungarians with his famous poem ‘Nemzeti dal’ (National Song), which he wrote on March 15th and recited that very day at the Pilvax Coffeehouse in Pest. Petőfi continued to write pamphlets and rousing poems, which led to the Austrian authorities accusing him of incitement, and he became a wanted man. He served as aide-de-camp to General Bem during the battles that took place throughout that year of revolution. He was lost on the battlefield, and although his body was never officially identified, reports heard at the time and research during subsequent years have resulted in it being generally accepted that Sándor Petőfi died during the war, most likely at the Battle of Segesvár near Fehéregyháza on July 31st, 1849. He was 26 years old.
Petőfi Sándor by Barabás Miklós
Sándor Petőfi had been married for only two years when he died. His wife was Júlia Szendrey, and no novelist could have come up with a plot more dramatic or romantic than the true story of their relationship. Often it is the case that immediate accounts re-colour and transform events in a way that can be misleading, and it is only years after, thanks to historical research, that a clearer and truer understanding of events can be gained. So it is with Júlia Szendrey, who, as the widow of Hungary’s great national hero, was greatly criticised when she married again, barely a year after her beloved Sándor’s death. Today we understand her reasons, one of which was that she was left on her own to care for and protect their little son Zoltán, who had been born on December 15th, 1848.
Júlia Szendrey was as remarkable as her husband. Her life after meeting Petőfi was troubled and turbulent, but she would not have called it tragic, for it was illuminated by the two years she spent in matrimony with Sándor. Szendrey Júlia by Barabás Miklós
Júlia Szendrey is one of Hungary’s most inspiring women, being herself a fervent champion of social and political justice, a woman who stood by her husband through all the threatening and dangerous events of the Freedom Fight, who has become known as ‘the Wife of Wives’. Despite the hardships she bore during the years following her husband’s death, Júlia went on to produce several literary works; among her publications are her poems and diaries, short stories, and a diary that was discovered after her death. In 1856 the Tales of Hans Christian Andersen were published for the first time in Hungary, translated by Júlia Szendrey.
A contemporary of Júlia’s was George Sand, whom she greatly admired for her literary prowess and her unconcern for social conventions. Júlia herself – even while her husband was alive – was one of the first Hungarian women to wear a trouser – which was considered to be quite scandalous behaviour at the time! – and she had her hair cut short. This side of Júlia’s character was not approved of by society at that time, and illustrations and statues of Júlia from that era usually present her as a demure, modest little woman.
Sándor Petőfi and Júlia Szendrey were the perfect couple, in the sense that they both were passionate and strong-willed, that they complemented each other, and seem to have been what today we would define as the perfect Yin and Yang.

RESZKET A BOKOR, MERT…                                                                                                                                       By Sándor Petőfi

Reszket a bokor, mert
Madárka szállott rá.
Reszket a lelkem, mert
Eszembe jutottál,
Eszembe jutottál,
Kicsiny kis leányka,
Te a nagy világnak
Legnagyobb gyémántja!

Teli van a Duna,
Tán még ki is szalad.
Szívemben is alig
Fér meg az indulat.
Szeretsz, rózsaszálam?
Én ugyan szeretlek,
Apád-anyád nálam
Jobban nem szerethet.

Mikor együtt voltunk,
Tudom, hogy szerettél.
Akkor meleg nyár volt,
Most tél van, hideg tél.
Hogyha már nem szeretsz,
Az isten áldjon meg,
De ha még szeretsz, úgy
Ezerszer áldjon meg!

(Written in Pest, after November 20th, 1846)


The rosebush shakes because
A bird on its twig flew,
My own soul shakes because
I think, my dear, of you!
I think, my dear, of you,
My darling, charming maid,
Thou art the richest gem
My God has ever made.

Swollen the Danube is
So that it may o’erflow,
My heart, with love replete,
Is now for thee even so.
Tell me, my fairest rose,
Art thou to me still true?
Not even thy parents dear
Can love thee as I do.

I know thy love was mine
In last year’s summer weather;
But winter came since then
When we sojourned together.
And should’st thou love no more,
I pray God bless thee still, –
But, if thou lov’st me yet,
A thousandfold he will!

(Translated by WM. N. LOEW)

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:
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
szerelmet, forró
üres vékámba
árva kezembe
lámpámba lángot,
ne kelljen
korán az ágyra hevernem,
kérdésre választ
ő küldjön,
hogy hitem széjjel
ne dűljön,
adjon az Isten
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!


*: 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:






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.


28th August – National Goulash Day

I’d like to say I had been familiar with the 28th of August being National Goulash Day, when Leanda posted about it in our Facebook group. I had not. But I guess you learn something new every day, so I have embraced the idea and thought we should put a recipe and pictures on the website.
But before I share my family recipe I can’t help but I must to tell you about the etymology of the word. Hungarians have been cooking this dish for centuries (perhaps even longer), since the time when we were horsepeople. The Hungarian word ‘gulyás’ means herdsman. Even today, when there is a family get-together, we cook this dish in a ‘bogrács’ on an open fire in the garden. I think this probably goes back to our ancestry, and it feels so nice to sit around the big pot knowing something delicious in being cooked. This dish is not the same if you try to cook it on the hob – the smoke certainly adds a good bit of flavour. Hungarian goulash cooked in my parents' garden
Interestingly, goulash is how this dish is known everywhere in the world. But in Hungary ‘gulyás’ is a soup: essentially the same dish, but with more water added. What we call goulash in English is ‘pörkölt’ in Hungarian.

So here comes my dad’s recipe –  he does not add any tomato as he says it will make it a bit sour – I prefer to add at least a couple, when I cook this dish. You can add more tomato, or other vegetables, but this is the basic recipe for a very simple, no fuss dish. Dad calculates 1 kg meat for 3 people – I guess this just shows how much we eat…
1kg meat,
0.3 kg red onion (chopped into very small pieces, so that they don’t burn when you start cooking them)
2 cloves of garlic,
salt, pepper to taste,
2 green paprika,
some caraway to taste,
and most importantly, a heaped spoon of grained red paprika.
He also adds what we call ‘Vegeta’ in Hungary – a type of mixed seasoning. Other friends of mine add ‘gulyáskrém’ (paste you can buy in a tube), but I’m trying to avoid additives in my food, so I skip these.

First, you make a stew base using some oil and the chopped onion. Every time I cook this dish and tell my dad about it his first question is: have you used enough onion? You haven’t burnt the onion, have you? And it’s true I guess: the more onion you use the more sauce you will have and also, you need to sweat the onions to a golden colour, not fry them on a high heat. My dad cooking his 'signature dish' - it seems like there is not much in the pot, but it's a big one!
At this point, you can add the diced meat and fry it until the liquid evaporates. Now you can put the grained red paprika on it and stir it quickly. Make sure you don’t burn the paprika, otherwise the dish will have a bitter taste. Add some water, and then the salt, pepper, caraway and garlic. Add the chopped green peppers and whatever other vegetable you are using.
From here on, you just need to boil it – add some more water, depending on how thick a sauce you would like.

Traditionally, we eat this dish with ‘nokedli’ (Hungarian noodles) or potato, but rice, or any other side dish is fine, of course.

Jó étvágyat! (Enjoy your meal!)

PS: Please do let us know if you have cooked this and how it turned out! Thank you!



Learn the numbers in Hungarian!

This week I realised: we have so much audio material, but we haven’t prepared one for the numbers yet. So these are the numbers from zero to thirty in Hungarian:

0     nulla
1     egy                     11     tizenegy                            21     huszonegy
2     kettő, két*           12     tizenkettő, tizenkét*          22      huszonkettő, huszonkét*
3     három                13     tizenhárom                       23      huszonhárom
4     négy                   14     tizennégy                          24      huszonnégy
5     öt                        15     tizenöt                              25      huszonöt
6     hat                      16     tizenhat                            26      huszonhat
7     hét                      17     tizenhét                            27      huszonhét
8     nyolc                  18     tizennyolc                         28      huszonnyolc
9     kilenc                 19     tizenkilenc                        29      huszonkilenc
10   tíz                      20      húsz                                30      harminc         Learn the numbers in Hungarian!

The number 2 has two different forms.
a) If it is used in the attributive position (this means the thing the number refers to comes after it), you should use ‘két’. E.g. ‘két kocsi’ (‘two cars’), ‘két kutya’ (‘two dogs’).
b) If the thing the number refers to does not come after it (the number is used on its own), you should use ‘kettő’.
E.g. ‘Hány kocsid van?’
‘Hány kutyád van?’

The same thing happens not just to 2, but to 12, 22, 32 and all numbers ending in ‘2’.

If we want to emphasise the number for some reason, ‘kettő’ may also be used attributively (before the thing it refers to).

Please listen to this Recording of Hungarian numbers from 0 – 30 before we move on and learn the rest of the numbers. (Unfortunately, I don’t know how to set for the recording to open in a new window, so please click on it with the middle button of your mouse and it will open in a new window. Once you have started the recording, please come back to this page and follow the text on the screen.) I have left a little gap after each number – this is for you to repeat the number after me!

In the next few days we will add more posts teaching you the numbers, so if you are interested, please check back soon!

Thank you!




Do schools kill creativity?

Do schools kill creativityThe other day I watched a video on YouTube dealing with the education system and the influence it has on natural human creativity. The video was of the 20-minute talk given at the end of a conference by Sir Ken Robinson. He raised some interesting points, and gave a very graphic explanation of how the aim of most schools is to train and programme children to meet academic requirements. Gradually, the creative instincts of children die because they are not nurtured, and individuals who are artistic rather than academic eventually believe they are inferior to those who are good at maths and science.
It is strange how great a shift takes place when children go to elementary school. In Hungary children start ‘real’ school at the age of six or perhaps seven. Until then, during the years they attend nursery school, their days are filled with play, fairy and folk stories, music and children’s rhymes, painting and drawing. Children are encouraged to be creative; at least, they are exposed to many things that provide an outlet for their creativity. Then, when children leave nursery school and begin their first year at elementary or primary school, they are suddenly faced with new demands. They must learn to conform to standard requirements. Children must practise until they are able to form letters that precisely match those the teacher has inscribed on the board, and a picture that is an expression of a child’s most creative thoughts is pigeonholed according to a number (mark) the teacher scribbles at the bottom of the drawing.
And yet, creativity is said to be an important aspect of intelligence. Most modern IQ tests include sections that measure creativity, because we now realise that human intelligence is not purely a mental thing, but is also emotional and creative. Why is it, then, that so much emphasis is placed on the sciences, and that mathematics is still at the top of subject hierarchy? One reason is that parents encourage their children to study and do well in subjects that will help them find employment. Hardly anyone would agree that studying art or acting was the sure way to a successful career. Likewise, very few writers can boast of being financially secure. If so, it has taken them years to make themselves a name.

Most schools feel obliged to offer a curriculum in line with society’s expectations; indeed, there are certain governmental stipulations that regulate what is taught in schools, and even the methods that can be used.
However, there are schools that diverge from generally accepted content and methodology in order to allow children to develop their abilities and natural creativity. These include the Waldorf and Montessori schools, which are not mainstream, but are still the choice of thousands of parents all over the world, who want their children to have an education that nurtures creativity and allows children to develop their natural talents and abilities. The existence of such schools shows that there is still hope for human creativity.

At Hungarian Language Solutions we try using this natural creativity during our lessons and help you reconnect with your inner creative self. We watch you very closely to see which are the areas you enjoy and where you feel most creative. This is very important, as this happens to be the same place where you can achieve the creative state called the ‘Flow’ (for more information on this please read our article)
Our aim is to keep you in this creative state and use it wisely, so we design exercises that help us do this. This way, hopefully, we don’t just teach Hungarian, but add something you enjoy, something extra that enhances your life!
What do you think? Do you find it easy to reconnect with your inner creative self? Do you find doing this helps when learning Hungarian?

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!

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!


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.


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.