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Lesson Transcript

Simone: All about Lesson 4. Learning how to pronounce the Hungarian Alphabet. In this lesson, we are going to show our take on Hungarian pronunciation with you.
Csaba: Yes we will have to get a good foundation that will set you on the right track.
Simone: From experience, I’d say one of the best ways to get Hungarian pronunciation down is to listen and repeat and listen and repeat.
Csaba: Yes just copy the sounds the native speaker makes like me.
Simone: And yes just like that annoying song you can’t get out of your head, one day Hungarian will get stuck in your head and you will be set for life.
Csaba: So make sure you repeat all the sounds I make today. That will get you on the road to speaking Hungarian.

Lesson focus

Simone: Yeah. So first learning about the Hungarian alphabet is going to help make things clearer.
Csaba: Yes let’s briefly repeat the characteristics of the Hungarian alphabet.
Simone: There are 44 letters in total in the Hungarian alphabet.
Csaba: 14 vowels and 30 consonants.
Simone: These letters are all pronounced exactly the same when they standalone as when they are in words.
Csaba: Yes at least most of the time. That was one of the pieces of good news back in lesson 2 when we talked about the alphabet.
Simone: Umm Hungarian writing is phonetic. Therefore we almost always pronounce what we see written on the paper.
Csaba: Screen, Simone, it’s 2011.
Simone: Okay, okay. Well why don’t you just start with the vowels already.
Csaba: All right. Like we said before, 14 vowels most of which are in short and long pairs.
Simone: Right. Let’s start with the ones that are really pairs, not only in writing.
Csaba: Okay we have I, Í, O, Ó, Ö, Ő, U, Ú and Ü, Ű See the first is short, the second is long. Again I, Í, O, Ó, Ö, Ő, U, Ú and Ü, Ű.
Simone: Sounds kind of funny in a list.
Csaba: Yeah I like to think that the listeners are standing in a crowd at subway just articulating.
Simone: That would be a spectacle.
Csaba: Any way like I said, there are two pairs of vowels left and they are not really short, long pairs but the alphabet treats them like one.
Simone: Yes and these would be
Csaba: A, Á and E, É.
Simone: Say them again a couple of times.
Csaba: A, Á, A, Á, E, É, E, É.
Simone: All right. That does it for the vowels. Like we said, once you learn to write them, they are always consistent. Consonants any one?
Csaba: Okay so we have labial consonants such as P, B, F and V. These are consonants articulated with both lips or biting down on the lower lip. Also in this group, you will find the nasal M and we also have alveolar consonants such as T, D and C, DZ and SZ, Z. These are the consonants articulated by moving the tongue against or towards the ridge that you feel right behind your upper teeth. Also in this group, you will find that you have R and L.
Simone: So far so good. Please continue.
Csaba: And then we have postalveolar consonants. The fancy name just means that you are moving towards the back in our mouth. CS, DZS and S, ZS. All right, we are halfway done. We also have palatal consonants NY and TY and GY. These are pronounced by softly pressing the tongue towards and against the palate. Also here is the ubiquitous LY, J and then we have velar consonants K and G. Only two honest consonants in this group. Finally a glottal sound H.
Simone: Well that doesn’t sound too difficult. Many of these sounds are used in English as well.
Csaba: Sure maybe I even over explained the sounds. There is one more thing people will have to get used to though.
Simone: Yes. You have to realize and understand that the length of consonants can also be important just like the length of vowels. Give us an example please Csaba.
Csaba: I will, but you don’t have to make it sound so serious. Here is a pair kasza and kassza. The first one means side. The second means cash registry. The difference lies in the length of the consonant.
Simone: Say it again. Just to start helping the listeners get used to it.
Csaba: Kasza, kassza, kasza, kassza.
Simone: And what you recommend the listeners do about this?
Csaba: Like you said, listen and repeat and you may want to pick up our pronunciation guide 2 where all these and a lot more will be explained in greater detail.
Simone: Yes and if we can learn, you can learn. One day, if you just keep on practicing, it will all click. We promise.
Csaba: You can trust us.


Simone: Okay. Phew! Done. So we know that it wasn’t that fun but it was necessary.
Csaba: What? I thought it was always fun learning from us.
Simone: Don’t flatter yourself. Now remember, one of the best ways to get Hungarian pronunciation down is to listen and repeat and listen and repeat.