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Lesson Transcript

Michael: What greetings depend on the time of day in Hungarian?
Boglárka: And can they be replaced with time-neutral greetings?
Michael: At HungarianPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following scenario: Ben Lee is greeting his friend, but he hasn't noticed how late it has become. Ben says,
"Good morning!"
Ben Lee: Jó reggelt!
Ben Lee: Jó reggelt!
Simon Sára: Már délután 2 óra van. Jó napot!
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Jó reggelt!
Michael: "Good morning!"
Simon Sára: Már délután 2 óra van. Jó napot!
Michael: "It's already 2 in the afternoon. Good afternoon!"

Lesson focus

Michael: In this lesson, we will talk about time-sensitive greetings in the Hungarian language. Hungarian, similar to English, has some greetings that are used depending on the "time of day," or
Boglárka: napszak
Michael: These are
Boglárka: Jó reggelt!
Michael: meaning "Good morning!" and being used generally during the early hours of the day, and
Boglárka: Jó estét!
Michael: which means "Good evening!"—a greeting used in the evening from 6:00 pm until bedtime. What if you want to greet someone with "Good afternoon?" In that case, you can say,
Boglárka: Jó napot!
Michael: This literally translates to English as "Good day!" considering that the word "day" in Hungarian is
Boglárka: nap
Michael: Moreover, when greeting someone in Hungarian, you can also add the word
Boglárka: kívánok
Michael: which means "I wish you" and will make you sound more polite, although it's not required all the time.
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Ben Lee says "Good morning!"?
(pause 4 seconds)
Boglárka as Ben Lee: Jó reggelt!
Michael: As a rule, Hungarians use "Good morning!" as a greeting when greeting someone in the early hours of the day until approximately 10:00 am. However, it's also fine to use another form of greeting in the morning, which you're probably very familiar with. It's the greeting
Boglárka: helló
Michael: or "hello" in English. You can also greet with a simple "hi," or
Boglárka: szia
Michael: which is a more informal way to greet someone. Keep in mind, though, that this word could also mean "hello" or "bye," depending on the context.
[Recall 2]
Michael: Now let's take a look at our second sentence.
Do you remember how Sara Simon says "It's already 2 in the afternoon. Good afternoon?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Boglárka as Sara Simon: Már délután 2 óra van. Jó napot!
Michael: Here, Sara explains that it's already 2 o'clock, which means the correct greeting would be "Good afternoon!" or
Boglárka: Jó napot!
Michael: As I mentioned before, this could mean either "Good afternoon!" or "Good day!"
Michael:In today's lesson, we learned that Hungarian has time-related greetings, namely
Boglárka: Jó reggelt!
Michael: or "Good morning!" which is used in the early hours of the day until 10:00 am, and
Boglárka: Jó estét!
Michael: or "Good evening!" which is used from 6:00 pm until bedtime. And, for the afternoon, we can use the greeting,
Boglárka: Jó napot!
Michael: which could mean "Good afternoon!" or "Good day!"
Michael: All the greetings we have learned so far are used mostly in formal settings, such as when you're in a business meeting, when you're greeting someone older, or when you're speaking to someone who's higher than you in terms of rank and authority. We also use them when greeting someone we're not too familiar with yet. The question is: can we use other forms of greetings besides these? Are there time-neutral greetings in Hungrian or greetings we can use on not so formal occasions? The answer is yes! Here's one:
Boglárka: Mi újság?
Michael: This means "How's it going?" and could also mean, "What's up?" Another one is
Boglárka: Milyen a napod?
Michael: This means "How's your day?" You can follow that one up with
Boglárka: Rég nem láttalak!
Michael: or "Long time no see!" Here's another one:
Boglárka: Örülök, hogy látlak.
Michael: "It's nice to see you." And if you want something simpler, you can just say,
Boglárka: Hé!
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: Hungarians are known for using proper etiquette in formal situations. They also expect others to do the same. They follow a similar etiquette to most of Europe, though, so a normal greeting would involve a "handshake," or
Boglárka: kézfogás
Michael: However, if you're a man, you should always wait for a lady to offer her hand first. Eye contact is also important, particularly when you're dealing with businesspeople. It's also not unusual to see the older generation accompanying their greeting with a bow. And here's some trivia for you. Did you know that Hungarian men used to greet older women with a kiss on the hand?
While this is not a common practice anymore, men still greet older women in Hungary today by saying "I kiss your hand" or
Boglárka: Kezét csókolom! or Kezit csókolom!


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