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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.


Please to leave a comment.
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HungarianPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Let's practice a little! Hogy írja a nevét? Where would you like to go in Hungary?

HungarianPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:01 AM
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Hi Mocha,

'lj' is pronounced as 'l' and 'j' following each other.

I know it is not common in English, but when you pronounce 'parancsoljon' just put them together.

'itt' means 'here'

to sign is 'aláírni'

In this phrase 'Itt írja alá' the prefix moves to the end. ('alá' literally means 'under')

Jó tanulást! Szép napot!


Team HungarianPod101.com

Monday at 05:27 AM
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Hello! I would like to ask some questions about this dialogue:

First, for the word "parancsoljon", how to pronounce the "lj" part, could you show me by using IPA symbols?

Second, what do "itt" and "alá" mean?

Thank you!

HungarianPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 07:24 PM
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Szia Walt!

Thanks for your hard work! ?

Actually, Russian language is getting more and more popular amongst young students! A couple of friends of mine took Russian at university - They are in their twenties!? - So you shouldn't apologise for that, please be proud of your language knowledge and don't hesitate to share similarities with us through comments!

Though I don't speak Russian, I think that your knowledge of Russian can be really helpful for your Hungarian studies. In this website, all explanations and vocab will be in English, but sometimes - quite often actually- it might be interesting to make a parallel with Russian instead of English. But that is certainly what you already do.

Your example of "horse" in Russian seems to be pretty close to the ny sound in Hungarian, though unfortunately i'm not the right person to juge similarities with Russian.

Please feel free to share your discoveries which can also help other learners!

Kellemes napot?


Team HungarianPod101.com

Friday at 12:12 AM
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Kedves Dorottya !

Thank you for the suggestion of trying a very short "ö" vowel after "ny" when it appears at the end of a word. That was what I had been trying since beginning study, but the results did not always seem right. So recently I tried a different approach; let me explain it for your evaluation.

Let me try to say this tactfully. For excellent historical reasons, Russians and the Russian language are not popular in Hungary, so please forgive me for mentioning them. There is a sound in Russian which, at the end of a word, sounds a lot to me like what I think I am hearing with "ny" at the end of a Hungarian word. Most consonants in Russian can actually be pronounced two ways: "hard" and "soft". With this in mind, when I hear "ny" at the end of a word, it sounds to me like the soft "n" at the end of a Russian word. For example, please visit a website for Russian pronunciation, and paste in the word конь. How close is the "нь" at the end of the word to "ny" at the end of lány?

Köszönöm szepen,


HungarianPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 07:48 PM
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Kedves Walt !

Köszönjük szépen a hozzászólást !

For other learners, Walt refers to his question in the forum of the following lesson: Getting Formal in Hungarian of the Absolute Beginner Season.

Let’s try something non-traditional! Try to pronounce the ny sound by addig a vowel after... When it comes at the end of the word or before another consonnant, try to put a short ö vowel after the ny. It is a little trick that can help you practice these sounds.

Ex. Lány – lányö or lániö

Szárny – szárnyö or szárniö

Aranykor – aranyökor or araniökor

Of course, try not to stress the ö sound too much, bit if you pronounce it just a little, it can help to produce this sound.

I hope this will help!

Your first name is the same in Hungarian, but is spelled in a slightly different way: Valter.?

Please do not hesitate to tell us if it works for you!



Team HungarianPod101.com

Saturday at 01:08 AM
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Please forgive me for returning to an old topic.

Several posts have asked about how to say (and even to hear) the sound "ny". Your responses have been completely consistent with the descriptions I have found in various places:

For speakers of American English: "ny" in canyon

For speakers of Spanish: "ñ" in niño

For speakers of British English: "n" in the beginning of the english word “new” pronounced in a British way: /njuː/

Unfortunately, for students like Boris and me (and maybe many others), all of these examples sidestep the primary difficulty for foreign students. Every one of these examples contains "ny" followed by a vowel, but for us the problem is hearing and saying "ny" at the end of a word, not followed by a vowel.

The situation reminds me of the joking Zen statement "Imagine the sound of two hands clapping. Now imagine the sound of one hand clapping." To a Zen guru who has mastered such mind tricks, it is easy to imagine the sound of one hand clapping, but it is hard for the rest of us. Similarly, to a native Hungarian speaker, hearing and saying "ny" without a following vowel is easy, but many (most? all??) foreign students have trouble with it.

Can you provide some examples from other languages where the "ny" sound is not followed by a vowel?

Köszönöm szepen,

Walt (BTW What is the Magyar equivalent of "Walter"?)

HungarianPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 02:01 AM
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Kedves Walt és Susan,

Köszönjük a hozzászólást! ?

You are completely right, Szia comes from See ya in English, the only difference is that you can say Szia both when arriving and when leaving! ?



Team HungarianPod101.com

Tuesday at 05:23 AM
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I found this online. Fascinating!

The other day I discovered that the Hungarian word szia [sijɑ], which is used as a informal hello and goodbye, like ciao in Italian and ahoj in Czech and Slovak, possibly comes from the English expression ‘see you’ / ‘see ya’, at least that’s what a Hungarian friend believes. I hadn’t noticed the similarity between the two phrases before, and if I had, I would have assumed that it was a coincidence.

Another possible origin for this word is the Austria greeting/parting word servus, which is written szervusz in Hungarian, and which somehow became szia. This is the etymology given by Zaicz Gábor in the Etimológiai szótár (Etymology Dictionary) according to this discussion.

Tuesday at 04:01 AM
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Is the word "szia" a cognate of the English phrase "See ya"?

Susan Walch
Wednesday at 04:46 AM
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Szia Dorottya

Megpróbáltam megvásárolni a könyvet angol nyelven.

Nem lehetséges :-(