Get 31% OFF With The Breakthrough Sale. Hurry! Ends Soon!
Get 31% OFF With The Breakthrough Sale. Hurry! Ends Soon!
HungarianPod101.com Blog
Learn Hungarian with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

10 Basic Hungarian Questions and Answers You Must Know

Thumbnail

Questions are the cornerstone of every introduction, and they provide a gateway to learning more about someone. 

In this article, you’ll learn about the ten most basic Hungarian questions and answers that you should know before visiting the country. Asking the following questions will be a great way to get to know someone you’ve just met. Because these are basic conversation questions in Hungarian, they’re perfect for small talk. 

But before we go too much further, there are a few things you should know about asking questions in Hungarian, which we’ll outline below.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hungarian Table of Contents
  1. An Overview of Hungarian Questions
  2. Our List of the Top Hungarian Questions
  3. Reach Your Full Potential with HungarianPod101

1. An Overview of Hungarian Questions

First things first: What is “question” in Hungarian? Take a look:

  • “Question” (Kérdés)

Now, how do Hungarians actually form questions? 

Well, it’s pretty simple. Hungarians don’t use a reversed word order or anything crazy like that. They simply indicate that a sentence is a question by raising their voice at the end of the sentence.

What about in writing? Are there question marks in Hungarian?

Yes! Like English, Hungarian uses question marks to indicate questions in writing. 

As you can see, asking questions in Hungarian is pretty straightforward. As you go through this article, you’ll also learn the WH- question words in Hungarian and pick up the best phrases for when you want to practice speaking in Hungary! 

We’ve done our best to structure the questions and answers logically so that you won’t get lost in all of the grammar and vocabulary. But remember that there’s no shame if it takes you some time to memorize the structures or the words. Practice makes perfect, and we’re here to assist you along the way. Just reach out to us if you’re uncertain about something.

Ready? Let’s get started!

2. Our List of the Top Hungarian Questions

First Encounter

1 – What’s your name?

One of the key questions to ask a Hungarian person, or any person for that matter, is what their name is. It’s a good ice-breaker, and you’ll know how to address that person for the rest of the conversation. In addition, knowing a person’s first name will give your conversation and relationship a more friendly feel, rather than the stiff politeness of first meetings. 

So, without further ado, let’s see how Hungarians ask for a person’s name:

“What’s your name?” – Mi a neved?

Let’s break it down:

  • “what” (mi)
  • “your name” (neved)

You may have noticed that “is” isn’t in the sentence. This is because, as we mentioned earlier, Hungarians don’t use a reversed word order when asking questions. 

Now a note about neved: this word’s stem is név, meaning “name.” But with the second person singular suffix, it changes to neved. The accent from the é is removed for easier pronunciation.

Now, how would someone answer?

“My name is Peter.” – (A nevem) Péter.

This is a complete sentence, and is considered more formal and polite to use. However, many Hungarians will simply answer with just one word: their name. In most situations, it’s a bit weird to say the full sentence.

You can ask this very same question in a different way, as well:

“How do they call you?” – Hogy hívnak?

This version isn’t really used in common speech, but we decided to include it anyway. Here’s a breakdown:

  • “how” (hogy or hogyan)
  • “they call you” (hívnak)

You may have noticed that “they call you” is condensed into one word: hívnak. This is because the auxiliary word “do” isn’t used in the Hungarian question, and suffixes and conjugation allow for this one word to express the entire phrase. 

Here’s another common way to answer these questions:

“They call me Peter.” – Péternek hívnak.

This one is more common than the sentence A nevem…

2 – Where are you from?

The following question is one that you’re very likely to hear during your Hungarian conversations as a foreigner in Hungary. You probably won’t have a good opportunity to ask this question yourself, but we’ll show you a modified version that you can ask Hungarian locals. 

“Where are you from?” – Honnan származol?

  • “from where” (honnan)

Here, származol is a verb for “originating.”

When someone asks this question, they’re usually referring to one’s home country or continent. However, there’s a more subtle way to ask this question, which can be applied to cities as well. This modified version isn’t as odd to ask locals

 “Where are you from?” – Hová valósi vagy?

Here, “where” is hová

Someone who’s asked this question may answer with their country, but more commonly, they’ll answer with the name of a city or village.

Now, here are two possible answers:

“I’m from Italy.” – Olaszországból (származom).

Usually, the answer to this question will just be the name of the country you’re from, though you can use the full phrase if you want to. Not so hard, after all, right? 

“I’m from Budapest.” – Budapestre.

This is an example of an answer you might receive to the second version of the question. Beware that, because of this, “Budapest” gets a suffix.

A Woman in a Black Shirt Thinking with Question Marks above Her Head

3 – Do you speak Hungarian?

The next “must” question in Hungarian is how to ask if someone speaks a specific language. This is a good question to ask a Hungarian if you want to get to know them better. For this question, we’ll show you the general patterns you can use, and then we’ll introduce you to more specific examples. 

General Patterns

  • “Do you speak ___?” 
    Beszélsz ___-ul/-ül?

In this case, every language (as a stem) gets a suffix, either -ul or -ül

Here are the basic answer patterns:

  • “Yes, I do (speak ___).”
    Igen, beszélek (___-ul/-ül).
  • “No, I don’t (speak __).”
    Nem, nem beszélek (___-ul/-ül).

Specific Examples

  • “Do you speak Hungarian?”
    Beszélsz magyarul?

This is one of the top Hungarian questions you need to know because you’re very likely to be asked this when you’re in Hungary. Locals like to know if a foreigner who’s visiting has acquired any—even if just a few words—of their language. And if not, they’re more than happy to change that.

Here’s how you could answer: 

  • “Yes, I speak Hungarian.”
    Igen, beszélek magyarul.

Let’s try another language.

  • “Do you speak Greek?”
    Beszélsz görögül?

Now, this is a question that you can ask a Hungarian. Hungarians usually like to interact with foreigners and are willing to learn—or at least try to—a few words in your language.

  • “No, I don’t speak Greek.”
    Nem, nem beszélek görögül.

Also, bear in mind that languages (as well as nationalities) are written with lower-case letters in Hungarian.

Two Girls Smiling and Looking Away

4 – How long have you been studying Hungarian?

A great way to continue the conversation is to ask how long they’ve been speaking or learning the language.

“For how long have you been studying Hungarian?” – Mióta tanulsz magyarul?

Mióta is one of the most important Hungarian question words, and it means “for how long.” The present perfect continuous tense is expressed in Hungarian using the present tense. Thus, “have you been studying” is tanulsz.

The Hungarian answer to this is pretty simple. You can answer with a full sentence, but giving only the amount of time is sufficient.”

(I have been studying Hungarian) for five years.” – Öt éve (tanulok magyarul).

Introducing Yourself

5 – Have you been to Hungary?

Imagine you’re out at a party, getting to know people, and you come across someone who appears to be Hungarian. You decide to strike up a conversation with that person in their native language, and it gets them curious. 

You should definitely expect to hear questions in Hungarian like this one. We also recommend that you memorize it so you can ask others. 

Many people love traveling, so speaking about where you’ve been not only helps you connect with people, but it also makes you the life of the party—especially if you’ve been to exotic or interesting places.

Basic Pattern

  • “Have you been to ___?”
    Jártál már ___-on/-en/-ön/-ban/-ben?

The country names in Hungarian take on suffixes depending on the group of vowels in the name. Also keep in mind that this Hungarian question can also refer to cities.

More Specific

  • “Have you been to Hungary?”
    Jártál már Magyarországon?

As you may know, Hungarian only has three tenses (past, present, future), so Hungarians express the present perfect using the past tense. For this reason, “have you been to” is jártál már. Keep in mind that the countries or other destinations get suffixes.

What would your answer be to this Hungarian question?

  • “Yes, I have been to Hungary.”
    Igen, jártam már Magyarországon.
  • “No, I haven’t been to Hungary, but I would like to travel there.”
    Nem, még nem jártam Magyarországon, de szeretnék elutazni oda.

“I would like to” is szeretnék, “travel” is elutazni, and “there” is oda.

Thus, the Hungarian answer patterns are:

  • “Yes, I have been to ___.”
    Igen, jártam már ___-on/-en/-ön/-ban/-ben.
  • “No, I haven’t been to ___, but I would like to travel there.”
    Nem, még nem jártam ___-on/-en/-ön/-ban/-ben, de szeretnék elutazni oda.

Although you might get bombarded with this question a lot, you can ask the person you’re talking to about the places they’ve visited, too.

  • “Have you been to Germany?”
    Jártál már Németországban?
  • “Have you been to Budapest?”
    Jártál már Budapesten?
A Group of Friends Talking and Laughing Around a Table

6 – How is ___?

This next question in Hungarian is going to be a lifesaver for you. If you want to know the word or phrase for something in Hungarian, you can simply ask a local this. In addition, this is a great question for asking about the status of something or someone. 

Here are two basic patterns you can use to ask how to say something.

  • “How is ___?”
    Hogy van az, hogy ___?
  • “How do they say ___?”
    Hogy mondják azt, hogy ___?

A specific example of this Hungarian question could be:

  • “How is ‘baby’?”
    Hogy van az, hogy ‘baby’?

This might sound odd in English, but it’s simply a way of asking how to say the word “baby” in Hungarian.

If your interlocutor doesn’t understand the word you’re referring to, you can always play Activity and try to act it out for them.

Now, how can you ask about someone’s well-being? 

  • “How is your grandma?”
    Hogy van a nagymamád?

“How is” is hogy van and “your grandma” is nagymamád.

  • “How is your sibling?”
    Hogy van a testvéred?

Here, “your sibling” is testvéred.

A Guy Wearing Glasses with Letters Coming from His Mouth

7 – Do you like Hungarian food?

You’ll surely hear this one a lot. Hungarians take pride in their cuisine, so don’t be surprised if you get this question a lot during your stay.

Here are the most common patterns you can expect to hear:

  • “Do you like ___ food?” – Szereted a(z) ___ ételeket?
  • “Do you like Hungarian food?” – Szereted a magyar ételeket?
  • “Do you like Hungarian food?” – Ízlenek a magyar ételek?
  • “Do you like Hungarian cuisine?” – Szereted a magyar konyhát?

This question is rather easy, because nationalities don’t get any suffixes. All you have to do is replace “Hungarian” with the name of any nationality. 

Possible Answers

Here are two answers you can give when asked this question. The parts that make the answers specific are in parentheses:

  • “Yes, I do (like Hungarian food).” – Igen, ízlenek (a magyar ételek).
  • “No, I don’t (like Hungarian food).” – Nem, nem ízlenek (a magyar ételek).

Learn how to talk about your favorite Hungarian foods with this handy vocabulary list! 

More Examples

Here are a couple of examples using other nationalities.

  • “Do you like Turkish food?” – Szereted a török ételeket?
  • “Have you tried Swedish food?” – Kóstoltál már svéd ételeket?

8 – What are you doing?

This is a very common question in Hungarian, and we tend to ask this very frequently in our daily lives. Therefore, it’s really important for you to learn this one!

  • “What are you doing?”
    Mit csinálsz?

Possible answers to this Hungarian question may be:

  • “Nothing. Why, what does it look like?”
    Semmit. Miért, minek néz ki?
  • “I’m just reading. And you?”
    Csak olvasok. És te?

This question also works if you want to ask someone out:

  • “What are you doing on Friday night?”
    Mit csinálsz péntek este?
  • “Nothing, I’m free.”
    Semmit, szabad vagyok.
A Man and an Asian Woman Talking and Laughing at a Party

9 – What’s wrong?

This question is essential in every language, and it’s useful for a variety of situations. For example, when you get into a fight with someone or when you see that someone looks sad or hurt. 

  • “What’s wrong?”
    Mi a baj?

Instead of baj, which translates to “trouble,” you can use gond. It has the same meaning, though it can also mean “problem.”

Here are some possible answers:

  • “Nothing. Everything is fine.”
    Semmi. Minden rendben (van).
  • “I’m angry with you.”
    Haragszom rád.
  • “I hit my elbow.”
    Beütöttem a könyökömet.

Here, “my elbow” is könyököm. It got the object suffix as well as a vowel (-et).

Two Girls Talking and Laughing

10 – How much is it?

Last but not least, one of the most important Hungarian questions for foreigners is asking for prices when shopping.

Basic Question Patterns

  • “How much is it?”
    Mennyibe kerül?
  • “What’s the price of the ___?”
    Mi az ára a(z) ___-nak/-nek?

Here, “price” is ár, making ára “its price.”

Specific Question Patterns

  • “How much is the bread?”
    Mennyibe kerül a kenyér?
  • “What’s the price of the slippers?”
    Mi az ára a papucsnak?
  • “What’s the price of the shirt?”
    Mi az ára az ingnek?

Possible Answers

  • “It costs only 100 Forints.”
    Csak 100 Forintba kerül.
  • “It’s free.”
    Ingyen van.
A Woman Thinking with Question Marks Above Her Head

3. Reach Your Full Potential with HungarianPod101

Now that you’ve learned about asking questions in Hungarian, you must be ready to hit the road straight for Hungary. Well, you should be. You’ve learned the ten most basic Hungarian questions and answers that you’ll need to know to get around the country easily.

You’ve also become familiar with their basic structures so that you can make up your own Hungarian questions and answers as you learn more vocabulary. 

If you have any questions about what we covered today, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments. Or maybe you’ve visited Hungary already, and heard some funny questions and answers in Hungarian that you’d like to share with us and your fellow Hungarian-learners! 

And don’t forget: Language-learning may not be all fun and games, but don’t become discouraged. Practice makes perfect. And HungarianPod101 is here to help!

Create your free lifetime account today to make the most of your study time, and take full advantage of our fun and effective audio and video lessons! And of course, we regularly update our blog with useful articles on language- and culture-related topics, and we’re always adding new themed vocab lists.

Stay safe out there, and happy learning!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hungarian