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Lesson Transcript

Simone: Pronunciation Lesson 4. Learning about stress is the stress free way to speak Hungarian.
Csaba: In this lesson, we will talk about stress in Hungarian.
Simone: Alright, so we’re starting with a bit of stress then.
Csaba: Shall I make a pun here?
Simone: Please don’t.
Csaba: Alright. Let’s just take a look at what stress really is.

Lesson focus

Simone: Stress is basically giving relative emphasis to a syllable in a word.
Csaba: This is what is called word stress.
Simone: OK, So how does this work in Hungarian?
Csaba: In Hungarian it is actually a lot simpler than in English where you’re never quite sure which part of the word to stress or you just have a vague idea.
Simone: Whereas here…
Csaba: Hungarian has what is called ‘fixed stress’ which means that stress falls on the same syllable in every word.
Simone: Which, in our case, is the first syllable.
Csaba: Exactly. Once you know this fact and of course the alphabet…
Simone: About which, by the way, we have another lesson. Just saying.
Csaba: Knowing the alphabet plus this rule is going to help you a lot.
Simone: Alright. So please say a few words and point out what to pay attention to.
Csaba: I chose a sentence instead. A kutya elment a macskáért.
Simone: The dog went to get the cat.
Csaba: I’ll say it again slowly, word by word. A kutya elment a macskáért.
Simone: The first part was…
Csaba: A kutya , “the dog”. I will ignore the definite article now and just say kutya.
Simone: kutya
Csaba: See, the first syllable is stressed. Kutya.
Simone: Then we had “went”.
Csaba: elment
Simone: Again, first syllable.
Csaba: elment
Simone: And finally we had “after the cat” or “to get the cat”.
Csaba: A macskáért. Like before, there is a definite article a. Ignore that and pay attention to macskáért.
Simone: Again, stress on the first syllable.
Csaba: I’ll say this sentence again. A kutya elment a macskáért.
Simone: This doesn’t mean that you have to go overboard and say it like…
Csaba: A kutya elment a macskáért.
Simone: No. instead it means that while studying Hungarian, you’ll get used to this kind of pattern and how to pronounce it.
Csaba: Yes, it really isn’t too hard.
Simone: Right. So what else do you have for this lesson?
Csaba: I was thinking we could give the listeners a few sentences to show them how stressing different words sounds in a sentence.
Simone: Ok, let’s do that.
Csaba: Let’s see how the stress on different words can change the meaning of a question.
Simone: Is this sample sentence going to be canine related?
Csaba: You know me very well. A kutya kergeti a macskát.
Simone: I'm sure by now they know the word kutya.
Csaba: Kergeti is “chasing”.
Simone: And the last word is “the cat”.
Csaba: A macskát. The whole sentence again. A kutya kergeti a macskát. A kutya kergeti a macskát.
Simone: So now let’s make a question.
Csaba: A kutya kergeti a macskát? A kutya kergeti a macskát?
Simone: Is the dog chasing the cat?
Csaba: But I can also change the stress better in a bit by saying A kutya kergeti a macskát? A kutya kergeti a macskát?
Simone: This is very similar to saying “Is the dog chasing the cat” in English.
Csaba: Very good. And finally I can also say A kutya kergeti a macskát? A kutya kergeti a macskát?
Simone: Which would be “Is it the dog chasing the cat?”
Csaba: Yes. We have scratched the surface of intonation and stress, but there’s a lot more for you to keep your ears open for.


Simone: Of course. But we will wrap it up here for this lesson.