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Lesson Transcript

Simone: Hi everyone, I’m Simone and this is Absolute Beginner, season 1, lesson 19: Don’t Lose the Hungarian Wine!
Gergo: I am Gergo.
Simone: In this lesson we’re going to learn how to tell someone where certain objects are.
Gergo: We’re also going to hear a bit about the vowel harmony. The conversation takes place in Anne’s apartment.
Simone: Between Anne and Balázs...
Gergo: … who are of course friends, so they use the informal speech.
Simone: Let’s listen to the conversation now.

Lesson conversation

Anne: Hol van a bor? A kocsiban?
Balázs: Nem, a hűtőben.
Anne: Nincs a hűtőben. Hová tetted?
Balázs: Nem a hűtőbe tettem?
Anne: Szerintem a kocsiban vagy a kosárban van.
Balázs: Megnézem. … A kamrába tettem.
English Host: Let's listen to the conversation one time slowly.
Anne: Hol van a bor? A kocsiban?
Balázs: Nem, a hűtőben.
Anne: Nincs a hűtőben. Hová tetted?
Balázs: Nem a hűtőbe tettem?
Anne: Szerintem a kocsiban vagy a kosárban van.
Balázs: Megnézem. … A kamrába tettem.
With Translation
Anne: Hol van a bor? A kocsiban?
Anne: “Where is the wine? In the car?”
Balázs: Nem, a hűtőben.
Balázs: “No, in the fridge.”
Anne: Nincs a hűtőben. Hová tetted?
Anne: “It is not in the fridge. Where did you put it?”
Balázs: Nem a hűtőbe tettem?
Balázs: “Didn’t I put it in the fridge?”
Anne: Szerintem a kocsiban vagy a kosárban van.
Anne: “I think it’s in the car or in the basket.”
Balázs: Megnézem. … A kamrába tettem.
Balázs: “I’ll go look… I put it in the larder.”
Simone: All right, now let’s talk about wine in Hungary.
Gergo: Yes, well you can find both the best and the worst wine experience you’ve ever had in Hungary.
Simone: How do you avoid the latter?
Gergo: If you don’t know much about Hungarian wine and can’t differentiate between good and bad just by sight, you should probably look at the prices. Don’t buy anything below 1500 forints – that’s a good starter.
Simone: Where do I go for wine?
Gergo: If you are not in one of the many wine regions where you can go to a cellar, try to go to a wine shop, not the supermarkets. Supermarkets usually have cheaper stuff that’s better to mix it with something.
Simone: I remember having drunk wine spritzers at many places.
Gergo: Yes, in summer many Hungarians drink it instead of beer. You just mix some wine with mineral water or club soda. Of course it’s a sin to mix good wine with water, but the low quality stuff has its uses here.
Simone: Oh and be careful with the terminology here. Soda in Hungarian...
Gergo: ...means club soda. Tap water with gas, essentially. Beverages are called üdítő, or just by their own names.
Simone: Good to know. Let’s listen to the vocab now.
Gergo: OK.
Gergo: bor
Simone: “wine”
Gergo: bor
Gergo: bor
Gergo: kocsi
Simone: “car”
Gergo: ko-csi
Gergo: kocsi
Gergo: hűtő(szekrény)
Simone: “refrigerator”
Gergo: hű-tő(szekrény)
Gergo: hűtő(szekrény)
Gergo: tesz
Simone: “put”
Gergo: tesz
Gergo: tesz
Gergo: szerint
Simone: “in someone’s opinion”
Gergo: sze-rint
Gergo: szerint
Gergo: megnéz
Simone: “look”
Gergo: meg-néz
Gergo: megnéz
Gergo: kamra
Simone: “larder”
Gergo: kam-ra
Gergo: kamra
Gergo: kosár
Simone: “basket”
Gergo: ko-sár
Gergo: kosár
Simone: Let’s look at some these now in more detail.
Gergo: The first one is szerint. You can translate this word as “in someone’s opinion.”
Simone: How do you say “In my opinion it’s too expensive.” Please repeat.
Gergo: Szerintem túl drága.
Gergo: Szerintem túl drága.
Simone: Let’s try a question now. “Do you think it’s cold outside?”
Gergo: In that case, you change the conjugation a bit. Please repeat: Szerinted hideg van kinn?
Gergo: Szerinted hideg van kinn? Szerinted is “in your opinion.”
Simone: All right, one last example with this word. A negative sentence maybe. “I don’t think we should go.” Please repeat.
Gergo: Szerintem ne menjünk.
Gergo: Szerintem ne menjünk. The more exact English translation would be “I think we shouldn’t go.”
Simone: Always nitpicking. What else do you want to talk about?
Gergo: The word kocsi. This one means “car.” This is very spoken Hungarian, instead of the more formal autó.
Simone: Not much to add to that. Go on.
Gergo: We used another shortened form. When they are talking about the “fridge,” the word hűtő pops up.
Simone: Repeat that please.
Gergo: Hűtő. This is short for hűtőszekrény, the official name for the object. Unless you’re in the refrigeration business and you’re on a meeting, you’ll probably use the shorter version.
Simone: All right, a lot of everyday Hungarian, good, good.
Gergo: Finally, there was a word that meant “put” in the past tense.
Simone: How do you say, “Where did you put my keys?”
Gergo: Hova tetted a kulcsomat?
Gergo: Hova tetted a kulcsomat? Tetted is “put” and kulcsomat is “my keys.”
Simone: OK Gergo, grammar time.

Lesson focus

Simone: In this lesson we’re going to learn about vowel harmony.
Gergo. Yes. Vowel harmony is basically a constraint on what vowels can appear close to each other.
Simone: Can you elaborate on that?
Gergo: Depending on where you pronounce vowels in your mouth, we can differentiate between front and back vowels. Vowel harmony, in its more ancient form, meant than a word either had front vowels or back vowels, not a mixed set.
Simone: Please list all the front vowels first.
Gergo: e-é, i-í, ö-ő, ü-ű. {2x} This is a good time to pick up our pronunciation guides.
Simone: What are the back vowels?
Gergo: a-á, o-ó, u-ú.{2x} Traditionally, Hungarian words either had one type or the other. Now it is of course not the case, but most mixed vowel words can be identified as foreign loans.
Simone: Why is this important to us?
Gergo: In Hungarian suffixes and conjugation tend to have more than one form, usually one with a front vowel, one with a back.
Simone: Let’s see an example.
Gergo: All right, one by one: Kosár.
Simone: “Basket.”
Gergo: Kosárban.
Simone: “In the basket.”
Gergo: You see, the word kosár has back vowels, it receives an ending with a back vowel, -ban. Kosárban. Now let’s say hűtő.
Simone: “Fridge.”
Gergo: Hűtőben.
Simone: “In the fridge.”
Gergo: Hűtő has front vowels, the suffix has a front vowel as well, -ben. You can say -ban and -ben both mean “inside,” but the vowels of the noun determine which one is to be attached to it.
Simone: It seems a bit complicated to keep in mind.
Gergo: Actually, it is not so. You don’t have to keep this in mind, the melody of the vowel will help and it becomes automatic very quickly, if you listen to a lot of Hungarian.
Simone: OK, so just to recap, front vowel nouns get front vowel endings, back vowel nouns get back vowel endings. What about mixed ones?
Gergo: I’ll use one of the case endings from our last lesson. First, please say: terasz.
Simone: “terrace, balcony”
Gergo: Teraszra.
Simone: “Onto the balcony, to the balcony.”
Gergo: Terasz is a mixed vowel word, e is front, a is back. The ending, -ra, is back. The rule is that if there is a mixed vowel word, the ending matches the last vowel.
Simone: Is this all?
Gergo: I just want to mention one more thing. Many endings and suffixes have two forms, front and back. Some have only one that matches everything. Some, on the other hand have three. We’ll see about them in the next lesson, where we finish vowel harmony.
Simone: Ok, it’s not so bad so far.
Gergo: It just might be unusual for English speakers at first, since it is almost unseen in Europe – only Finnish has it. But vowel harmony is actually quite common in Asia. There is vowel harmony in Turkish, Mongolian, and Kazakh.
Simone: All right, we apologize for the mainly theoretical nature of this grammar point, but we promise we’ll give you more examples in our next lesson. I hope they will tune in next time...
Gergo: I’m sure, we’re trying to make this painless...
Simone: All right everyone, see you next time.
Gergo: Sziasztok.