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Lesson Transcript

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.