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Lesson Transcript

Michael: What is Hungarian slang like?
Krisztina: And is it commonly used?
Michael: At HungarianPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Sara Simon uses a slang expression Ben Lee has never heard before.
"Mi a pálya?"
Simon Sára: Mi a pálya?
Simon Sára: Mi a pálya?
Ben Lee: Ez mit jelent?
Simon Sára: Azt jelenti, "mi történik?"
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Simon Sára: Mi a pálya?
Michael: "Mi a pálya?"
Ben Lee: Ez mit jelent?
Michael: "What does this mean?"
Simon Sára: Azt jelenti, "mi történik?"
Michael: "It means, "What's happening?""

Lesson focus

Michael: In this lesson, we will be learning about Hungarian slang, or as they say in Hungarian
Krisztina: magyar szleng.
Michael: Slang is an informal way of speaking. One does not learn slang in the classroom, but it is important to know the slang of the country you are in if you want to be able to communicate effectively and speak like a local. Slang is specific to different places as well as different age groups, and it changes over the years. In this lesson, we will be looking at how slang is used in Hungary, and hear some slang words and phrases.
Let's start with the Hungarian version of "cool," which you may hear often in casual conversation while in Hungary. You will be able to use it in a variety of different ways and in response to many different comments.
"Cool" in Hungarian has several forms. Here's the first,
Krisztina: zsír
Michael: This directly translates to "fat," but can be used in Hungary in response to something "cool." For example,
Krisztina: A barátom elvitt moziba
Michael: means, "My boyfriend took me to the movies" to which one may reply, "cool," or
Krisztina: zsír.
Michael: Another Hungarian slang word meaning "cool" is
Krisztina: király.
Michael: It means "king," if translated directly. You could use it as follows:
Krisztina: Nagyon király volt az a film.
Michael: This translates to "That movie was really cool." The last slang word meaning "cool" that we will look at is
Krisztina: menő.
Michael: It translates directly to "going," but it also means "cool" in the figurative, slang sense. It is used for expressing that things are trendy or "happening." Let's hear those three ways of saying "cool," one more time before we continue:
Krisztina: zsír, [pause] király, [pause] menő.
Michael: Cool! Now, let's move on to some things you can say when you greet someone. You'll probably hear young people using the following word:
Krisztina: tesó.
Michael: It is the equivalent of the English slang words "bro" or "sis," which are short for "brother" and "sister." It can be used to refer to someone's brother or sister, or to greet a friend. This slang word is based on the Hungarian word
Krisztina: testvér
Michael: which means "sibling."
Krisztina: Helló, tesó
Michael: which means, "Hello, bro," is an example of this usage. If your friend is happy to see you, he might reply,
Krisztina: Tök jó látni téged.
Michael: This means, "It is very good to see you" and contains the slang phrase
Krisztina: tök jó
Michael: which means "very good" or "awesome." It can be used to respond casually to any good news, or to describe how an event was. For example, you could use it to reply to the question
Krisztina: Milyen volt a vacsora?
Michael: which means "How was dinner?" You could then reply,
Krisztina: Tök jó
Michael: to express that it was "very good."
Our next slang phrase is also positive and you can use it when you are greeting someone. Directly translated, it means "you paint well." Think of it as meaning that the person is "paintable," similarly to how one might say someone photographs well.
Here is the phrase:
Krisztina: Jól festesz.
Michael: This means, "You're looking well." You could use it in a greeting like,
Krisztina: Hogy vagy? Jól festesz.
Michael: This means, "How are you? You are looking well." If you are the person they're talking to, you could reply by saying something along the lines of
Krisztina: Jól vagyok köszi.
Michael: or "I am well, thanks." We hope you liked these examples so far. There is more slang to come!
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Sara Simon says "Mi a pálya?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Jennifer as Simon Sára: Mi a pálya?
Michael: This literally means "What is the field?" But used as a slang expression, it means "What's up?"
One can use this phrase to ask about how someone is doing, if anything is new, or what is happening. It is a very versatile way to inquire about someone's well-being.
Michael: In this lesson, we learned some "cool" or
Krisztina: zsír
Michael: Hungarian slang. In fact, you learned three ways to say "cool" in Hungarian slang. Slang is not only cool but necessary. It might not be taught in schools, but it is an important aspect of casual, friendly communication.
Michael: Let's look at some more Hungarian slang. In Hungary, if someone is sending you to buy something for them from the "shop," or
Krisztina: bolt,
Michael: they might convince you to go for them by saying how close it is, and they might use the following slang expression:
Krisztina: Egy köpésre van.
Michael: This translates to "It's a spit away" or "It's spit-far" and the slang meaning is "It's close." It can be used in this way, for example:
Krisztina: Menj el a boltba és vegyél egy tejet! Egy köpésre van.
Michael: This means, "Go to the shop and buy some milk. It's close."
The expression is very similar to the English phrase "spitting distance," which also relates to proximity and how close a place is.
Now, let's move on to a slang word that you might need to use when in a shop with a friend who buys things impulsively. Let's hear it:
Krisztina: gagyi
Michael: This word has no literal translation, but its slang meaning is "fake" or "worthless." If your friend is looking at a necklace that is a cheap replica, you could use the word and say the following:
Krisztina: Ne vedd meg, nagyon gagyi.
Michael: This means "Don't buy it, it is trash." Of course, your friend might not be happy with you for a while after that, so use it at your own discretion.
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: Speaking of buying cheap jewelry—in English, when a person makes a bad decision, you may have heard someone ask them, "Have you lost your marbles?," meaning, of course, "Have you lost your mind?" In the Hungarian equivalent of this expression, the person does not lose their marbles—they lose something else. Here is the expression:
Krisztina: Elgurult a gyógyszered?
Michael: It translates directly to "Have your pills rolled away?" This is not the only Hungarian slang expression that means "Have you lost your mind?"
Krisztina: Neked teljesen elmentek otthonról?
Michael: which translates to "Have they all left your home?." You can think of this slang expression as "your home" being analogous to "your mind" and, if all have left, that means it is totally empty. It can be used if someone makes a bad decision, says something shocking, or suggests anything unseemly. For example, if you were invited to a Hungarian person's house, it would be crazy for any of the guests to ask,
Krisztina: Együnk valamit, mielőtt elmegyünk!
Michael: which means, "Let's eat something before we go." This is because, if you go to any Hungarian household, you are guaranteed to be fed, and probably overfed. Hungarians pride themselves on their hospitality, and rightly so. For this reason, if someone suggested eating before attending, one may exclaim
Krisztina: Elgurult a gyógyszered?
Michael: or "Have you lost your mind?"
Speaking of eating, let's look at the fun Hungarian slang phrase
Krisztina: kolbászolni.
Michael: This expression's slang meaning is "standing at one place doing nothing" or "walking around without purpose or direction." What makes this expression fun is its literal translation which is "to sausage" or "to be sausaging." Are you hungry yet? And no, I'm not punning with the words "hungry" and "Hungary" because many Hungarian people find this very annoying and even offensive.


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