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Lesson Transcript

Simone: Hi, this is Absolute Beginner season 1, lesson 5: Making a Formal Hungarian Request. I'm Simone.
Gergo: And I am Gergo. Sziasztok!
Simone: In this lesson, you are going to learn about asking for things in a formal situation.
Gergo: Yes, and this conversation happens at Anne’s workplace.
Simone: ...where her boss interrogates her for some information.
Gergo: This is a formal situation. Her boss still hasn’t let up, so they use formal language.
Simone: Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Szabó úr: Hogy írja a nevét?
Anne: A-n-n-e S-m-i-t-h
Szabó úr: Köszönöm. Kérem az útlevelét.
Anne: Parancsoljon,
Szabó úr: Köszönöm. Itt írja alá, kérem.
Anne: Igen, máris.
Slow speed:
Szabó úr: Hogy írja a nevét?
Anne: A-n-n-e S-m-i-t-h
Szabó úr: Köszönöm. Kérem az útlevelét.
Anne: Parancsoljon,
Szabó úr: Köszönöm. Itt írja alá, kérem.
Anne: Igen, máris.
With English:
Szabó úr: Hogy írja a nevét?
Mr. Szabó: “How do you spell your name?”
Anne: A-n-n-e S-m-i-t-h
Anne: A-n-n-e S-m-i-t-h
Mr. Szabó: Köszönöm. Kérem az útlevelét.
Anne: “Thank you. Your passport, please.”
Anne: Parancsoljon,
Anne: “Here it is.”
Szabó úr: Köszönöm. Itt írja alá, kérem.
Mr. Szabó: “Thank you. Sign here, please.”
Anne: Igen, máris.
Anne: “Yes, right away.”
Simone: Okay, so what’s going on here Gergo?
Gergo: She is registering at her new workplace, handing over passports and whatnot.
Simone: Which you should carry around at all times.
Gergo: Yes, just be careful and use common sense with your belongings and you should be fine.
Simone: We do hear about pickpockets every now and then, but generally speaking, public transport is very safe.
Gergo: Right, during the rush hour you should be more careful. There were some bus lines a few years ago that were notorious for having pickpockets, line 7 especially, but it’s not a big problem now.
Simone: Just make sure you keep your hand around your pocket.
Gergo: Also, try to hold your backpack in front of your body. Although it defeats the purpose of a BACKpack, this is safer and it is also more polite – you’re less likely to hit an old lady in the head while turning around this way.
Simone: And it’s also the regulation in most cities on the public transport, right?
Gergo: Yep, so make sure you blend in.
Simone: “write”
Simone: “name”
Simone: “please, would like”
Simone: “your passport”
Simone: “here it is, here you are”
Gergo:Itt írja alá!
Simone: “Sign here.”
Gergo:Itt ír-ja a-lá!
Gergo:Itt írja alá!
Simone: “right away, already”
Simone: Any comments on these Gergo?
Gergo: The first one we want to talk about is parancsoljon.
Simone: “Here it is.”
Gergo: Right, but it literally means “give orders.” It is polite to say when you’re handing something to somebody.
Simone: You may also hear it from clerks, people in the service industry, as a way to start things up, much like “What can I do for you.”
Gergo: Yes, and naturally, this is in formal language now.
Simone: The second one is máris.
Gergo: Yes, máris.
Simone: “Right away.”
Gergo: This is used to indicate that you are already on the thing you’re asked to do. You’re being very obedient, almost.
Simone: Nice. Give us an example.
Gergo: Imagine that someone is waiting for you and you call ahead to say: “I’m there in a second.”
Simone: Which is...
Gergo: You have to say: Máris ott vagyok.
Simone: In this dialogue she didn’t use a verb with it.
Gergo: Yes, it almost works like “yes” in this instance, it not only means you are willing to do what’s asked, but you’re also doing it with much speed.
Simone: The last one is “how do you spell your name?”.
Gergo: Hogy írja a nevét? The more precise translation would be “how do you write your name?”.
Simone: This is formal, second person singular, but it is also third person singular, right?
Gergo: Yes, we won’t point this out every time there is a formal sentence, but just make sure you remember that the formal “you” and “he/she,” that is the formal second person and the third person is conjugated the same way.
Simone: And naturally, in this lesson, we want to use the formal version, since it is the boss addressing an employee.
Gergo: Right, they may turn more friendly later, but at the moment, we still need Mr. Szabó to be very polite.
Simone: All right, let’s talk grammar now.

Lesson focus

Simone: In this lesson, we’re going to focus on how to ask for things.
Gergo: And we will continue to do so in the next lesson as well, since this is a bit complicated in Hungarian. We start by repeating the sentence from the dialogue: Az útlevelét kérem.
Simone: “Your passport, please,” or to be more precise “I’d like your passport.”
Gergo. Right, kérem is “I’d like.” The trick here is to know that in Hungarian verbs conjugate differently, depending on whether the following object is definite or indefinite.
Simone: In this case, “your passport” is definite, right?
Gergo: Right, therefore the verb is kérem. The correct translation would probably be “I’d like the” or “I’d like your.”
Simone: Ok, examples, please Gergo.
Gergo: Repeat: Azt kérem. Azt kérem.
Simone: “I’d like that one.”
Gergo: Now say: Ezt kérem. Ezt kérem.
Simone: “I’d like this one.” How do you say: “I’d like the red one.”
Gergo: Repeat: A pirosat kérem. A pirosat kérem. You also use kérem to ask someone to do something. In this case a verb usually follows.
Simone: What do you say to the cabbie, if you want him to stop?
Gergo: Kérem álljon meg. Kérem álljon meg.
Simone: “Please stop.”
Gergo: Now say this: Kérem engedjen ki. Kérem engedjen ki.
Simone: “Please let me out.” You say that to the kidnappers?
Gergo: Either that, or just when you’re trying to get out from the window seat to get off the bus. Whichever happens to you more often Simone.
Simone: You never know.
Gergo: This second type of sentence with kérem is very much like the one in the dialogue, Itt írja alá, kérem.
Simone: “Sign here please.”
Gergo: Just to recap here, we already learned how to say “I’d like the” or “I’d like your.” This is asking for objects that are definite.
Simone: But we don’t know how to ask for indefinite stuff, like “I’d like a beer.”
Gergo: No, because in Hungarian definite – indefinite objects change the preceding verb.
Simone: So what’s the deal with those?
Gergo: My suggestion is this: Learn these sentences, use them a couple times and check out our next lesson on exactly this topic.
Simone: All right, you’re off the hook for now. See you next time.
Gergo: Sziasztok.