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Lesson Transcript

Michael: What are interjections?
Boglárka: And are they commonly used in Hungarian?
Michael: At HungarianPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Kitti Kocsis accidentally poured water on her clothes while drinking. She cries out: "Oh, I poured water on myself!"
Kocsis Kitti: Jaj, leöntöttem magam vízzel!
Kocsis Kitti: Jaj, leöntöttem magam vízzel!
Balogh Borbála: Ejnye-ejnye, miért nem vigyáztál jobban?
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Kocsis Kitti: Jaj, leöntöttem magam vízzel!
Michael: "Oh, I poured water on myself!"
Balogh Borbála: Ejnye-ejnye, miért nem vigyáztál jobban?
Michael: "Well well, why weren't you more careful?"

Lesson focus

Michael: In this lesson, we will be looking at interjections in Hungarian. The Hungarian word for "interjection" is:
Boglárka: [NORMAL] indulatszó [SLOWLY] indulatszó
Michael: But what exactly is an interjection? Interjections are words that are put between other words to express a feeling or a spontaneous reaction. They can also stand on their own and are traditional parts of speech in their own right, in the same way that nouns, verbs, and other words are. In a way, interjections could even be seen as the emojis of language!
The word "Yuck!" in English, is a good example of an interjection. You can combine it with other words, as in, "Yuck, this tomato is rotten!" But it can stand on its own too, as in when someone sees something they don't like and simply says, "Yuck!" or
Boglárka: Pfuj!
Michael: in Hungarian. If you look at the emojis on your phone, you will see that there are probably several of them that could express this interjection!
In Hungarian, interjections are classified according to three criteria—their pragmatic function, their meaning, and their origin. In this lesson, the criterion we will look at is their pragmatic function which can be divided into two categories: the emotive-cognitive category and the volitive category. If that sounds confusing, don't worry, it will become clear to you in a moment. Let's have a look at a Hungarian interjection that expresses pain or distress. It sounds like this:
Boglárka: jaj.
Michael: This is a very pragmatic interjection expressing an emotive state. We will mention more about it later on in the lesson. Another example of a pragmatic interjection in Hungarian is the word:
Boglárka: [NORMAL] ejha [SLOWLY] ejha
Michael: This means "wow!" and it expresses a cognitive state of surprise. Cognitive interjections relate to knowledge or to mental states. There is some overlap between these and the emotive interjections. It should now be easier to understand what is meant when we say that interjections like "oh no!" and "wow!" are emotive-cognitive interjections. Now, let's look at the volitive interjections.
Sometimes, we may use interjections to command, request, or demand something. We might be talking to a person or an animal. For instance, in Hungarian, if you want someone to be quiet, you could say:
Boglárka: [NORMAL] Csitt! [SLOWLY] Csitt!
Michael: This is the equivalent of saying "shut up" in English, so use it with caution! It is an example of a volitive interjection because you are commanding someone to do something if you use it.
And there you have it—the two categories into which pragmatic interjections are classified. They are the emotive-cognitive and the volitive.
Some of these interjections have very specific meanings and the contexts in which they can be used are limited. Consider the Hungarian word for "hooray!," which is:
Boglárka: [NORMAL] hurrá [SLOWLY] hurrá.
Michael: Just like it's English equivalent, this word is only used to express joy or pleasure, usually in the context of a celebration. For instance, if our favorite sports team wins a game, we might shout, "Hooray, we won!" In Hungarian, one would say:
Boglárka: [NORMAL] Hurrá, nyertünk! [SLOWLY] Hurrá, nyertünk!
Michael: An interjection with broader semantic applications is the word:
Boglárka: [NORMAL] ah [SLOWLY] ah
Michael: This interjection can be used to express anything from satisfaction and hope, to fear and dismay. For instance, one could express satisfaction by saying, "Ah, the water feels so warm!." In Hungarian, it sounds like this:
Boglárka: [NORMAL] Ah, annyira meleg a víz! [SLOWLY] Ah, annyira meleg a víz!
Michael: Or you might express dismay:
Boglárka: [NORMAL] Ah, a víz túl hideg! [SLOWLY] Ah, a víz túl hideg!
Michael: That means, "Ah, the water is too cold!." This interjection is so flexible that it has been used to express opposite emotional states in these examples!
There are many interjections in Hungarian, just as there are in all languages. It is important to get to know them because they will help you to sound more natural when speaking Hungarian.
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue. Do you remember how Kitti Kocsis says "Oh, I poured water on myself!"?
Boglárka as Kitti Kocsis: Jaj, leöntöttem magam vízzel!
Michael: Kitti poured water on herself and used the interjection
Boglárka: jaj
Michael: to express her distress. In English, one might say, "oh!" or "ouch!" in the same situation.
[Recall 2]
Michael: Now, let's take a look at our second sentence. Do you remember how Borbala Balogh says "Well well, why weren't you more careful?"
Boglárka as Borbala Balogh: Ejnye-ejnye, miért nem vigyáztál jobban?
Michael: Borbala responded to Kitti and used the interjection
Boglárka: ejnye-ejnye,
Michael: to express her disapproval and criticism. In English, we would normally say "well, well" in the same situation. A slight difference is that in Hungarian this usually comes with a disapproving tone.
Michael: In this lesson, we discussed Hungarian interjections. One thing we learned was that Hungarian interjections can serve an emotive-cognitive function by expressing feelings. We also learned that they can serve a volitive function when used to tell someone what to do or to make a request.
It's a good idea to learn as many of them as possible so that you can sound more natural when speaking Hungarian. Just remember that some Hungarian interjections have very specific meanings and can only be used in a limited context, while others can be used far more broadly.
Michael: Interestingly, some interjections are interjections first and foremost. Their primary purpose is to be interjections, while others start out belonging to a different word category but evolve into interjections. Consider an expression like:
Boglárka: [NORMAL] hoppá [SLOWLY] hoppá.
Michael: This means the same as the English word, "Oops!" and it can be used only as an interjection. On the other hand, there are interjections like this one:
Boglárka: [NORMAL] Segítség! [SLOWLY] Segítség!
Michael: This means, "Help!" and it can be used as an interjection, for instance when saying "Help! My purse was stolen!," or
Boglárka: [NORMAL] Segítség! Ellopták a táskámat! [SLOWLY] Segítség! Ellopták a táskámat!


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