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Lesson Transcript

Michael: Where is Hungarian spoken?
Boglárka: And how many varieties of Hungarian are there?
Michael: At HungarianPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Emma Epres is meeting another college student Daniel Dudas for the first time. On hearing her speak Hungarian, Daniel asks,
"Where did you learn Hungarian?"
Dudás Dániel: Hol tanultál meg magyarul?
Dudás Dániel: Hol tanultál meg magyarul?
Emma Epres: Itt, Magyarországon.
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Dudás Dániel: Hol tanultál meg magyarul?
Michael: "Where did you learn Hungarian?"
Emma Epres: Itt, Magyarországon.
Michael: "Here, in Hungary."

Lesson focus

Michael: In the conversation, we hear Daniel ask,
Boglárka: Hol tanultál meg magyarul?
Michael: which in English means, "Where did you learn Hungarian?" Emma responds,
Boglárka: Itt, Magyarországon.
Michael: "Here, in Hungary."
Michael: As you surely may have guessed, the Hungarian language is spoken most widely in the European country of Hungary. However, in this lesson, we'll take a closer look at other parts of the world where Hungarian is also spoken.
Michael: Hungarian is spoken worldwide by 13 million people. The majority of those speakers live in Hungary,
Boglárka: Magyarországon.
Michael: As Emma says, Hungary is located in Central Europe and bordered by the countries of Ukraine, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Romania.
Around 10 million of the total number of Hungarian speakers live in Hungary, while a sizable minority also live in neighboring countries, mostly in the well-known province called Transylvania, in Romania,
Boglárka: Románia,
Michael: which has about 1.5 million speakers, as well as in Slovakia
Boglárka: Szlovákia
Michael: and
Boglárka: Szerbia.
Michael: In fact, in addition to these countries, Hungarian is also considered a co-official language at the local level in Austria,
Boglárka: Ausztria,
Michael: Slovenia
Boglárka: Szlovénia
Michael: and Croatia as well
Boglárka: Horvátország.
Michael: And, due to emigration over the past century, there are more than a million Hungarian speakers living in the United States,
Boglárka: Egyesült Államok,
Michael: as well as a growing number of Hungarian communities all across Western Europe,
Boglárka: Nyugat-Európa.
Michael: Some great news for our language learners is that, unlike English, the Hungarian spoken in Hungary no longer has significant varieties from region to region, therefore it is not likely that you will have to struggle with regional differences and accents when you come to Hungary or encounter the Hungarian language online. The only areas that have preserved stronger varieties of Hungarian accents are the Hungarian-populated regions in neighboring countries. Within the borders of Hungary, the standard Hungarian, also called
Boglárka: irodalmi nyelv,
Michael: literally meaning "language of the literature" is the accepted and spoken variety almost everywhere with very minor variations in certain, mainly rural, regions. Some regions have specific words that might not be universally intelligible for standard Hungarian speakers. For example, in the northeastern parts of the country, one might hear the word
Boglárka: tengeri
Michael: literally meaning "marine" or "sea" to express what standard Hungarian calls
Boglárka: kukorica
Michael: or "maize," "corn" in English. The dialectal word reflects the origins of maize which was originally cultivated in the Americas and introduced to Europe through the sea. Such vocabulary differences, however, do not cause much trouble nowadays as basically everyone in Hungary knows the corresponding standard varieties of these words too.
A somewhat more common variety that one might encounter in rural areas are the various accents. Along the northern border of the country, as well as in most parts of the Hungarian-populated areas of Slovakia, the sound
Boglárka: a
Michael: is pronounced more openly, with a transitional sound between the Hungarian
Boglárka: a
Michael: and
Boglárka: á.
Michael: Another common language variety is the one along the southern border of the country, around the town of Szeged. The most common characteristic of this accent is the wide usage of the sound
Boglárka: ö.
Michael: For example, in the word "person," which in standard Hungarian is
Boglárka: ember,
Michael: in the southern Hungarian accent, this would be
Boglárka: embör.
Michael: As you can see, dialects and accents are not likely to cause much of a headache for you when learning Hungarian. The only places where these are still strongly present are the Hungarian-populated regions in neighbouring countries, most notably in Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine, and Serbia, where locals did not have a chance to access Hungarian media outlets and Hungarian-language education for a long time in the past, and, as such, their communities preserved the older varieties of spoken Hungarian.
Michael: In order to keep the language alive, now, in the 21st century, there are schools that offer classes in Hungarian in the surrounding countries with Hungarian minorities. These are called:
Boglárka: magyar iskola,
Michael: literally meaning "Hungarian school" or
Boglárka: magyar tannyelvű iskola
Michael: that can be translated as "Hungarian language school" that refers to the lectures being held in Hungarian rather than a language school where you learn the language alone.
As of today, there are thousands of such Hungarian schools, from the elementary level to universities in the Hungarian-populated areas of Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria.


Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Boglárka: Viszontlátásra!
Michael: See you soon!