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Simone:Hi everyone and welcome to Lower Beginner, season 2 lesson 24, Are You Trying to Skip Out on your Hungarian Cleaning Duties? I’m Simone.
Csaba:And I’m Csaba.
Simone:In this lesson we’re going to learn the last formal addressing system.
Csaba:The conversation takes place in Anne’s apartment complex.
Simone:It is between Anne and a janitor.
Csaba:They use the formal language.
Simone:Let’s listen to the conversation.
Simone:Those good old Hungarian janitors...
Csaba:They sure get annoying. Hungary has been the home of aggressive janitors and doormen for decades now and the end of this tyranny is still a long way away.
Simone:(laughs) It can’t be that bad.
Csaba:Doormen are proverbially aggressive and uncouth. At the same time, though, they are quite competent and respond favorably to sweets and cakes. But I’ll let you figure out the rest yourselves.
Simone:So why the fuss in this lesson?
Csaba:Most of the bigger residential complexes assign cleaning duties to all the residents. I guess Anne must have forgotten. After all, she’s only been with us for two seasons.
Simone:Haha, it’s alright, I’ll give her a pass. Let’s go to the vocab section.
Csaba:The first word for today is szokik, which means “is used to, usually do.” Normally, in Hungarian we use the past tense form.
Simone:Let’s hear an example.
Csaba:Szoktam pingpongozni.
Simone:“I play ping pong.”
Csaba:Szoktam pingpongozni. Literally it is something like: “I have the habit of playing ping pong.”
Simone:So it’s the first person singular past tense verb, plus an infinitive.
Csaba:Right. In the second person, if you’re asking someone, you say. Szoktál sportolni?
Simone:“Do you play sports?”
Csaba: Szoktál sportolni?
Simone:How do we answer?
Csaba:The short answer is szoktam. Szoktam sportolni.
Simone:“I play sports.”
Csaba:All right. Now, we also had the word bocsánat in this lesson.
Simone:Say that again.
Simone:“I am sorry.”
Csaba:We’ve had an expression meaning “I’m sorry” before, it was Elnézést. Bocsánat carries more weight so to say it expresses deeper regret. You use elnézést when you step on someone’s foot on the bus, but bocsánat when you run over his dog.
Simone:Well explained, Csaba:.
Simone:In this lesson we’re talking about formal language one last time.
Csaba:Right, this is the last occasion for some time. Don’t worry at all.
Simone:All right, so what is the key sentence.
Csaba:Maga takarít?
Simone:“Do you do any cleaning?”
Csaba:Maga takarít?
Simone:What is unusual here?
Csaba:We have a brand new personal pronoun here, maga. Maga is a kind of formal “you.”
Simone:In what way is it different from ön, which we have already covered?
Csaba:When you use maga to address others, it feels like you are trying to distance yourself from the other speaker. While it is not impolite, you do keep a respectful, non-friendly relationship.
Simone:Can you illustrate it a little bit more?
Csaba:Maga kit keres?
Simone:“Who are you looking for?”
Csaba:Maga kit keres? Also, consider this: Ön kit keres?
Simone:“Who are you looking for?”
Csaba:Ön kit keres?
Simone:What is the difference?
Csaba:If you use ön, that conveys a neutral but very polite message. “I am here to help, who do you need?”
Simone:And with maga?
Csaba:If you use maga, it means “I am willing to help, but more importantly, what are you doing here?” If you wander into someone’s office by accident, and you are then caught, you’ll definitely hear this. Respectful, but needing explanation.
Simone:All right, I think I get it.
Csaba:On the other hand, your superior may say it to you and other coworkers.
Simone:Let’s hear another example.
Csaba:Maga is itt van?
Simone:“You’re here too?”
Csaba:Maga is itt van? Your boss just wondered in to his surprise party and sees you. Maga is itt van?
Simone:Not unfriendly at all.
Csaba:Nope. One last comment. The conjugation for both ön and maga sentences is the same. Third person as usual.


Simone:All right guys, that does it for the lesson. Please come back next time, and until then, make sure you take a look at the lesson notes.