Dialogue

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Vocabulary

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Szia! Hi!
én me
vagyok I am
Örülök, hogy megismertelek. Nice to meet you!
hogy how
Jó reggelt! Good morning!
hív call
igen yes
is too

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of This Lesson is the Verb "to be"
Én Pál Balázs vagyok.
"I'm Balázs Pál."


In this lesson, we'll take a look at the verb van.

Before we start explaining anything grammar related, you should know that Hungarian dictionaries provide the third person singular conjugation to every verb you look up. A minority of reference books that you find may have the infinitive, but we will stick to the third person form, since it is more convenient.
Not only can you use them already without any conjugation headaches but the third person form is the same as the second person singular form in polite speech.

Therefore, when we here give you verb it will look like this (unless noted otherwise):

For Example:

  1. fut
    "run"

(always remember: it actually means "runs" or "you run" (formal)

With this intro in mind, the first verb here is:

  1. van
    "be"

Conjugated to the first person singular, it isn't too difficult to use, just use it after pretty much any adjective or noun, like this:

  1. Orvos vagyok.
    "I'm a doctor."

The second person singular form of "to be" is vagy. This works in a very similar fashion.

For example:

  1. Amerikai vagy.
    "You are American."

This will help you make statements about others.

For example:

  1. Buta vagy.
    "You are dumb."

Finally, changing the intonation a bit will turns this into a question. Make sure you listen to the dialogue over and over again, to master the questions completely. An example sentence:

  1. Amerikai vagy?
    "Are you American?"

You should be able to give an answer (at least a positive one) already:

  1. Amerikai vagyok.
    "I am American."

One last note here: These are all informal.

Cultural Insights

But Which Name is Which?


Hungarian names don't follow the Western order, which means that in Hungary the family name comes first. Now that you know this rule you may actually be even more confused when you're talking to the locals, since Hungarians often use the Western order to help foreigners understand. When you're not exactly sure, don't be afraid to ask, just like Anne does in our lesson.

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Gergo: Sziasztok. Gergó vagyok.
Simone: Hi, Simone here! Welcome to HungarianPod101.com. Absolute Beginner, Season 1, Lesson 1: Finding New Friends in Hungary! In this lesson, you’ll learn how to say hi to people and ask their names.
Gergo: Sziasztok! That’s right.
Simone: So, where does this conversation take place?
Gergo: It takes place on the train, where Anne, our main character, speaks with Balázs, a Hungarian guy who sits next to her. Balázs noticed she had a foreign accent and he wants to get to know her better.
Simone: Ok, so listen carefully everyone!

Lesson conversation

Anne: Jó reggelt!
Balázs: Szia! Hogy hívnak?
Anne: Anne Smith.
Balázs: Én Pál Balázs vagyok.
Anne: Szia, ööö, Balázs?
Balázs: Igen, Balázs. Örülök, hogy megismertelek.
Anne: Én is.
English Host: Let's listen to the conversation one time slowly.
Anne: Jó reggelt!
Balázs: (smiling) Szia! Hogy hívnak?
Anne: Anne Smith.
Balázs: Én Pál Balázs vagyok.
Anne: Szia, ööö, Balázs?
Balázs: Igen, Balázs. Örülök, hogy megismertelek.
Anne: Én is.
With Translation
Anne: Jó reggelt!
Anne: “Good morning!”
Balázs: (smiling) Szia! Hogy hívnak?
Balázs: ”Hi! What is your name?”
Anne: Anne Smith.
Anne: “Anne Smith.”
Balázs: Én Pál Balázs vagyok.
Balázs: “I’m Balázs Pál.”
Anne: Szia, ööö, Balázs?
Anne: “Hi, er, Balázs?”
Balázs: Igen, Balázs. Örülök, hogy megismertelek.
Balázs: “Yes, Balázs. Nice to meet you.”
Anne: Én is.
Anne: “Nice to meet you too.”
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Simone: Alright, so Anne meets a new person on the morning train, Balázs. Is that a common name, by the way?
Gergo: Yes, I know a lot of men with that name among twenty-somethings in Hungary. By the way, you should remember that Hungarian names don’t follow the Western order.
Simone: That means that in Hungarian, family names come first.
Gergo: And to complicate matters even further, Hungarians will assume you don’t know this, so they switch it to the western order for you convenience.
Simone: But now that you know it, you’ll probably just switch it back mentally.
Gergo: When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask, just like our main character Anne did. So, Simone, shall we go over the vocabulary we have for this lesson?
Simone: Let’s do that.
VOCAB LIST
Simone: Now let’s take a look at the vocabulary in this lesson.
The first expression is:
Gergo: Jó reggelt!
Simone: “Good morning!”
Gergo: Jó reg-gelt!
Gergo: Jó reggelt!
Gergo: Szia!
Simone: “Hi.”
Gergo: Szi-a!
Gergo: Szia!
Gergo: Hogy hívnak?
Simone: “What is your name?”
Gergo: Hogy hív-nak?
Gergo: Hogy hívnak?
Gergo: Én … vagyok.
Simone: “I am ...”
Gergo: Én … vagy-ok.
Gergo: Én … vagyok.
Gergo: Örülök, hogy megismertelek.
Simone: “Nice to meet you.”
Gergo: Ö-rü-lök, hogy me-gis-mer-te-lek.
Gergo: Örülök, hogy megismertelek.
Gergo: Én is.
Simone: “Me too.”
Gergo: Én is.
Gergo: Én is.
KEY VOCABULARY AND PHRASES
Simone: Alright, so what other vocabulary and phrases are we going to mention in this lesson?
Gergo: Well, we’ll start with the two greetings. Jó reggelt and szia.
Simone: Jó reggelt is “Good morning” and szia is “hi”, right?
Gergo: Right. Now, you can say hi to other young people, but usually not to the elderly or superiors, unless you have already agreed to use this form.
Simone: This has to do with the formal-informal language. We’ll always try to give the listeners the appropriate form in a certain situation. Can we hear those two again?
Gergo: Sure. Jó reggelt! Jó reggelt!
Simone: “Good morning.” This is easier to use – with anyone, basically.
Gergo: Szia! Szia!
Simone: “Hi.”
Gergo: There is another thing about szia. It should only be used to address one person. When we want to say hi to multiple friends, say sziasztok. Sziasztok.
Simone: Let’s move on Gergo, we’ll have plenty of time to explain this to our listeners in other lessons too.
Gergo: Sorry. Hogy hívnak? Hogy hívnak?
Simone: “What is you name?”
Gergo: Yes. Again, you should only use it when addressing young people. Asking someone’s name outright is a bit weird sometimes, but in this situation it is perfectly fine.
Simone: Also, it is really hard to hit on someone without knowing her name.
Gergo: Right. Again: Hogy hívnak? Hogy hívnak?
Simone: “What is your name?” Good. What else do we have?
Gergo: One last expression then a bit of grammar.
Simone: All right, in this order, please.
Gergo: Örülök, hogy megismertelek. Örülök, hogy megismertelek.
Simone: “Nice to meet you!” Do you want to break it down for us?
Gergo: Not at this point, if you don’t mind. All I’m going to say is that this is to be used in informal situations.

Lesson focus

Simone: OK. Let’s hear that again and move on to the grammar point.
Gergo: Örülök, hogy megismertelek.
Grammar Point:
Simone: So, Gergo, what’s the grammar point for today?
Gergo: We’re going to talk about the verb vagyok.
Simone: Which is?
Gergo: “I am.” Our sentence was: Pál Balázs vagyok. Just state your name and say vagyok to express who (or what) you are.
Simone: I noticed that Hungarians sometime say just their names in this situation, though, without any verbs.
Gergo: That happens too, yes. Are you trying to mess with my authority?
Simone: Absolutely not. Don’t worry.
Gergo: Haha, good. Now try this: Diák vagyok. Diák vagyok.
Simone: Diák vagyok. What does it mean?
Gergo: “I’m a student.”
Simone: Nice one. I got it. No more unwanted questions. Say that again please, and let’s make them practice a bit.
Gergo: Diák vagyok.
Gergo: Now that we've got that out of the way, say: Amerikai vagyok. Amerikai vagyok.
Simone: Yeah, it’s simple. Amerikai vagyok. I’m American, right?
Gergo: Yes, good job Simone. Repeat that a couple times. Amerikai vagyok.
Simone: You can pretty much pick up any kind of noun or even adjective, and stick it before vagyok, to express “I am something.” Can you go for an adjective now?
Gergo: Sure. Éhes vagyok. Éhes vagyok.
Simone: “I am hungry.” But before you all run to the shop, we’re going to cover second and third person singular as well.
Gergo: In second person singular the verb “to be” is vagy. Vagy. It works the very same way as vagyok, just use it with any noun or adjective. Orvos vagy. Orvos vagy.
Simone: “You are a doctor.”
Gergo: Amerikai vagy. Amerikai vagy.
Simone: “You are American.” These sentences sound a bit unnatural.
Gergo: I know, but change your intonation a bit and bam, you have questions: Orvos vagy? Orvos vagy?
Simone: “Are you a doctor?” Nice. Give us a few more examples, please, and we’ll also give the listeners a few moments to repeat after you.
Gergo: Szomjas vagy? Szomjas vagy?
Simone: “Are you thirsty?”
Gergo: Magyar vagy? Magyar vagy?
Simone: “Are you Hungarian?”
Gergo: All right, we can now ask and answer. Ready?
Simone: Shoot.
Gergo: Szomjas vagy?
Simone: Szomjas vagyok. “Are you thirsty?” and “I am”. I’ll ask another one: Amerikai vagy?
Gergo: Amerikai vagyok. “I’m an American” - which is not true, but we are still on lesson one, no need to explain everything just yet. One thing though: Remember that these are all informal sentences.
Simone: All right, I think that is enough for one lesson. They’ll have plenty of time to pick these up.
Gergo: Just make sure you listen to the conversation a couple times and you’ll be speaking Hungarian in no time.
Simone: In the meantime, if you have any questions...
Gergo: … post them in the comments section. Sziasztok!
Simone: See you next time!