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Simone:Hi everyone and welcome to Lower Beginner, season 2, lesson 23, Respecting Your Elders in Hungarian. This is Simone.
Csaba:And this is Csaba, sziasztok.
Simone:In this lesson we’re going to learn about using polite language with the elderly.
Csaba:The conversation takes place on the tram.
Simone:It is between Anne and an old lady.
Csaba:They use the formal language.
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Anne: Csókolom, tessék ideülni.
Öreg néni: Köszönöm kedveském. Nagyon udvarias.
Anne: Még hosszú az út, tessék pihenni.
Öreg néni: Nagyon kedves. Bárcsak minden fiatal ilyen lenne!
Anne: Hová tetszik menni?
Öreg néni: A piacra.
Simone:How is it that old women are always going to the market?
Csaba:Haha, I think that’s just your perception. And that was not the point of this lesson anyway.
Simone:What was it then?
Csaba:Being polite in Hungarian. Most kids learn this at the age of six, when they start elementary school. Before that, it is all tegezés, which is...
Simone:using the informal language. I see. Do I sound rude if I don’t find the right form?
Csaba:I’d say that as a foreigner who is clearly making an effort to speak correctly, you already deserve – and will receive – hero awards from all Hungarians. Besides, the informal language is gaining territory slowly.
Simone:Yes, but we’ll cover formality as well. Let’s go to vocab now.
Csaba:The first thing we learn is csókolom. This greeting is reserved for elderly ladies. Normally, guys of any age can use this.
Simone:Can I use it?
Csaba:Sure, girls say this to old ladies too, but when women get out of their thirties, they stop using it and start receiving it more.
Simone:But guys?
Csaba:Men can use this even when they themselves get older. Csókolom. It literally means “I kiss” and “your hand” is implied.
Simone:Say it again, like I was the old lady from your floor.
Csaba:Csókolom. Guys can also say kezit csókolom. This is even nicer, very old-school, very gentlemanly. It means “I kiss your hand.”
Simone:Repeat again.
Csaba:Kezit csókolom.
Simone:All right, what else for vocab?
Csaba:The old lady says kedveském.
Simone:“My dear.”
Csaba:Kedveském. The root word is kedves, to which we add -ke. Kedveske means “little dear.”
Simone:And one more step for the possessive...
Csaba:Kedveském. “My little dear.” Usually old ladies use this.
Simone:We also had “I wish” in there somewhere.
Csaba:Bárcsak is like “I wish” or “if only.” Conditionals are still a mystery at this point, but a couple of ready-made sentences should be handy.
Simone:How do you say: “Wish you were here...”
Csaba: Bárcsak itt lennél!
Simone:Very romantic... Again, please.
Csaba:Bárcsak itt lennél!
Simone:All right, one last example and then we will go to grammar.
Csaba:Bárcsak ne esne!
Simone:“If only it didn’t rain.”
Csaba:Bárcsak ne esne!
Simone:In this lesson we’re going to learn how to talk to the elderly.
Csaba:Well, at least we’ll learn the grammar for that.
Simone:What is the key sentence we start from?
Csaba:A piacra tetszik menni?
Simone:“Are you going to the market?”
Csaba:A piacra tetszik menni?
Simone:How is this different from the ones we have covered before?
Csaba:We have inserted the word tetszik which means “like.” This is a special case of formality which is only used when talking to older people. Basically, you use tetszik and then add an infinitive.
Simone:Infinitives end in -ni, as you may remember. Let’s hear one more and explain.
Csaba:Mit tetszik kérni?
Simone:“What would you like to have?”
Csaba:Mit tetszik kérni? Mit is of course “what” in the accusative. Tetszik is the new auxiliary word used for this formal construction. Kérni is not a new thing, it means“to want, to ask for.”
Simone:All right. Anne also used another construction.
Csaba:The imperative: Tessék ideülni.
Simone:“Please take this seat.”
Csaba:Tessék ideülni. Tessék is the imperative form of tetszik, used in requests. Ideülni means “sit over here.”
Simone:Oh, so she is giving up her seat.
Csaba:Exactly. If you can’t really decide whether the person you’re addressing is old enough for the tetszik construction, don’t use it.
Simone:Yes, it could convey the message that you think they are old.
Csaba:Consequently, the first time you hear it from kids, you go NOOOOO!.
Csaba:Oh, well. Another expression that contains tessék is tessék parancsolni.
Simone:What does this mean?
Csaba:It means “’I’m at your service.” Literally it means “please give orders.”
Simone:So when an elderly person approaches you, you say...
Csaba:Tessék parancsolni.
Simone:All right. This all looks easy to use, you just have to remember a few verbs.
Csaba:Right. We may as well throw out the plural “you” in this construction.
Simone:When you are talking to more than one elderly person.
Csaba:Tessenek parancsolni.
Simone:Repeat again, please.
Csaba:Tessenek parancsolni.
Simone:Well, that does it for now. What are we going to talk about next time?
Csaba:One last lesson on being polite and after that, on to different material.


Simone:Sounds good! Until next time, bye everyone.


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HungarianPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Where you come from, do young people (fiatalok) offer their seat to older people in a bus or the metro?


HungarianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 04:40 AM
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Dear Savannah!

Thanks for the comment, you are completely right!

As Csaba said, age is a very important point, in some families grand children use formal language to address their grand parents! Otherwise, people of a certain age should be also addressed in a formal way, it is a question of respect.


Team HungarianPod101.com

Sunday at 01:11 AM
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Hello Amy!

ALL of my teachers use informal languages towards the students, but the students use formal languages towards teachers :)

Monday at 03:16 AM
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Hi Amy!

It happens a lot in school, where it is just accepted that teacher use informal to address students and students use formal. Also when you are talking to children.

Age is more relevant in this decision then hierarchy. It would be really bad form for a boss to tegez the employee only based on the pay-grade difference :smile:


Team HungarianPod101.com

Wednesday at 11:42 PM
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Is there ever a situation where one person uses the formal language but the other responds with informal? For example, the boss uses informal language towards the younger colleague, but the colleague responds with formal?