Dialogue - Hungarian

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Vocabulary

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kifejt to elaborate
üdvözlöm welcome
lehetőség opportunity
jelentkezik to sign up, to register for, to apply to
helyet foglal to take a seat
folyékonyan fluently
szert tesz valamire to acquire
üzletkötő sales representative
hamarosan értesít to get back to somebody soon, to inform
felkelt to arouse, to wake up

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of this Lesson is to Explore Hungarians' Politeness
Kifejtené, milyen megbízásai voltak az előző munkahelyén?

"Would you elaborate what kind of tasks did you have in your previous job?"


 

 

One of the difficulties of the Hungarian language is the complexity of its polite language. Depending on the other person's age, profession and the context of the conversation, the level of politeness can change significantly. In lower levels we learned basic rules of formal language such as conjugation, the difference between ön and maga, as well as expressions Hungarians use when talking to the elderly. The focus of this lesson is to go one level up in politeness and learn how to address people in a formal context, and to be able to ask favors/questions using the conditional form. Here are two tips to master politeness in Hungarian quickly:

First, you can let go the definite articles in a possessive structure! In a very polite conversation, the definite article is often left out when you use a possessive.

For example:

  1. Az önéletrajza felkeltette érdeklődésünket.
    "Your resume has aroused our interest."

In a less formal context or during a polite oral conversation, you would naturally say Az önéletrajza felkeltette az érdeklődésünket., by getting out the definite article before the noun in the possessive form, your speech becomes even more polite. In written language, this rule is a must!

Second, using the same logic, you can also get rid of the conjunction hogy or "that" usually found after a comma.

For example:

  1. Úgy éreztem, az önök cégénél új tudásra tehetnék szert.
    "I felt that in your company I could gain new knowledge."

In spoken language, it would be still polite to say "Úgy éreztem, hogy az önök cégénél új tudásra tehetnék szert.."

 

Politely Addressing Your Conversation Partner


 

 

In English, polite language is quite simple, and you can address your conversation partner easily by adding Mr/Miss/Mrs before the second name of the partner. However, you may have felt that addressing your conversation partner in Hungarian can be quite tricky depending on the context. Let's clear those rules up!

Addressing men in a polite conversation

If you need to call somebody for the first time, and you don't know his name, you can generally say Uram! or Fiatalember! but please note that the latter is only used with young men and never in a business context.

When you know the person's family name, you can simply add úr at the end of his name and say Kovács úr which is equivalent to "Mr Kovács." However, you will never use úr after a first name; this would be felt as an insinuating manner. Another possibility is to use only the first name alone, if you know it. This is still very polite and is often used when talking to a colleague or when a boss is talking to an employee.

In a professional context, when your conversation partner has a respectful position or profession, you usually put úr after his profession, not his name.

Some examples:

  1.      Doktor úr - "Doctor..."
  2.      Tanár úr - "Professor..."
  3.      Főnök úr - "Sir..."
  4.      Igazgató úr - "Principal/Director..."
  5.      Polgármester úr - "Mayor..."

 

Addressing women in a polite conversation

Women can be somewhat difficult to address because usually Hungarians are more polite when talking to women. If you address a women for the first time, you can say Asszonyom! or Hölgyem! ("Madam!" or "Miss!") the rules are the same here as for men, the latter is only used for young women and never in a business context.

When using the person's family name, you can add asszony after her name, but never hölgyem. Kovács asszony is the equivalent of Mrs Kovács, in a letter or email you can also use Kovácsné where - means that the person is married and took the name of her husband. However, if you don't know whether the person is married, you should use asszony.

When the other person introduces herself by her first name, you should call her by her first name. Please note that in a professional context, it is not polite to use surnames except for addressing colleagues in a friendly way.

When talking to someone with a public position, such as teachers or doctors, you usually put the ending "-" after her profession.

For example:

  1.      Tanárnő - "Professor (female)..."
  2.      Doktornő - "Doctor (female)..."

However, in a professional context, one would say igazgató asszony (literally "Mrs Director") or főnök asszony (literally "Mrs Executive") to address a director of a company or someone in top of the hierarchy, because asszony is usually much more polite.

Some examples:

  1.      Elnök asszony - "Mrs President"
  2.      Polgármester asszony - "Mrs Mayor"
  3.      Képviselő asszony - "Mrs Representative"

 

Using the Conditional Form when Making Requests


 

 

It is no surprise that Hungarians often use conditional form to make polite requests or ask polite questions, the same is true for English or French. When you are the subject of the sentence, you can also use potential form to be more polite.

For example:

  1. Megkérhetem, hogy ismételje meg?
    "Can I ask you to repeat it please?"
    or to be even more polite, you can say
  2. Megkérhetném, hogy ismételje meg?
    "Could I ask you to repeat it please?"

When asking requests, you can use the following expressions.

  1. Megtenné, hogy megismétli/odaadja/elküldi... 
    "Would you do such a thing to repeat/ give/ send.."
  2. Lenne szíves megmondani/elvinni/megvárni... 
    "Would you be lovely to tell/take/wait..."
  3. Tudna esetleg ajánlani...
    "Could you eventually recommend..."
  4. Nem bánná, ha kölcsönvenném/felhívnám... 
    "Would you mind if I borrowed/called..."
  5. Megkérhetném, hogy hívjon vissza/várjon meg.... 
    "Could I ask you to call me back/wait for me..."
  6. Hálás lennék, ha elküldené ...
    "I would be grateful if you'd send it..."
  7. Le lennék kötelezve, ha megmondaná/leírná... 
    "I would be obliged to you if you told/wrote it down..."
  8. Aziránt szeretnék érdeklődni, hogy merre találom/nyitva vannak e...  
    "I would like to inquire about where to find/opening hours..."

 

Sample Sentences


 

 

  1.           Hálás lennék, ha elkísérne az állomásig.
    "I would be grateful if you would accompany me to the station"
  2.           Aziránt szeretnék érdeklődni, hogy merre találom Kovács úr irodáját.
    "I would like to inquire about where to find the office of Mr Kovács."
  3.          Elnézést kérek, lenne szíves megismételni a nevét?
    "I apologize, would you please repeat your name?"
  4.          Megkérhetném, hogy hívjon vissza a tárgyalás után?
    "Could I ask you to call me back after the conference?"
  5.          Lenne szíves átadni ezt az üzenetet az Elnök úrnak?
    "Would you be kind to give this message to the President?"
  6.          Le lennék kötelezve, ha erről nem beszélne senkinek.
    "I would be grateful if you didn't talk about this."

 

Cultural Insights

Employment in Hungary


 

More and more companies are involved with illegal employment called "black work" or feketemunka in Hungarian. These companies don't register their employees legally or they register only a small part of their employees' revenue in order to avoid heavy taxes. A job-seeker should be aware that a seasonal job or a part-time job will not be entirely registered. Employers of cleaning ladies, gardeners, baby-sitters or waiters will try to avoid taxes and will not pay health insurance or retirement taxes. In order to avoid, don't accept a position where you are paid entirely or in part in cash even if they offer to pay you more.

Useful expression:

  1. Nincs bejelentett munkahelye.
    "He doesn't have a registered job."

 

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
Eric: Hi everyone, and welcome to HungarianPod101.com. This is Upper Intermediate, Season 1 Lesson 1 - You’d Better Ace Your First Hungarian Job Interview! Eric here.
Lena: Hello. I'm Lena.
Eric: In this lesson, you’ll learn about politeness in Hungarian. The conversation takes place at an office.
Lena: It's between Tom and Peter.
Eric: The speakers are an employer and employee, so that means they’ll be using formal Hungarian. Okay, let's listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Péter: Üdvözlöm, Kovács Péter vagyok, a cég igazgatója. Kérem, foglaljon helyet.
Tom: Örvendek, Marley Tom vagyok.
Péter: Az önéletrajza felkeltette érdeklődésünket, folyékonyan beszél magyarul?
Tom: Igen, már öt éve Magyarországon élek és tanulok.
Péter: Miért döntött úgy, hogy jelentkezik az állásra?
Tom: Úgy éreztem, az önök cégénél új tudásra tehetnék szert.
Péter: Kifejtené, milyen megbízásai voltak az előző munkahelyén?
Tom: Természetesen. Üzletkötőként a külföldi ügyfelekkel való kapcsolattartás volt a feladatom.
Péter: Értem. Köszönjük a jelentkezését, Tom, hamarosan értesítjük.
Tom: Nagyon szépen köszönöm a lehetőséget, a mielőbbi viszontlátásra!
Eric: Listen to the conversation one more time with the English translation.
Peter: Welcome, I'm Peter Kovacs, the director of the company. Please take a seat.
Tom: Pleased to meet you, I'm Tom Marley.
Peter: Your résumé has aroused our interest. Are you fluent in Hungarian?
Tom: Yes, I've been living and studying in Hungary for five years.
Peter: Why did you decide to apply for the job?
Tom: I felt that in your company, I could gain new knowledge.
Peter: Would you elaborate on what kinds of tasks you had at your previous job?
Tom: Of course. As a sales representative, my main responsibility was keeping in touch with foreign clients.
Peter: I see. Thank you for your application, we will get in touch with you soon.
Tom: Thank you very much for the opportunity, see you soon!
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Eric: Lena, how would you describe the situation with employment in Hungary now?
Lena: Well, I must admit that it’s very different from the United States’ system.
Eric: Oh really? How so?
Lena: Well, you know, these days more and more companies are involved in illegal employment called “black work” or feketemunka in Hungarian.
Eric: So...is that like when companies don't register their employees legally, or register only a small part of their employees' revenue to avoid heavy taxes?
Lena: Exactly like that. Anyone looking for a job should be aware that a seasonal job, or a part-time job, will not be entirely registered. Gardeners, baby-sitters, or waiters are usually paid this way to avoid taxes and will not pay health insurance or retirement taxes.
Eric: I see.
Lena: In order to avoid this, don't accept a position where you are paid entirely, or even partly in cash, even if they offer to pay you more.
Eric: That’s good to know. Okay, now onto the vocab.
VOCAB LIST
Eric: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this lesson. The first word is..
Lena: üdvözlöm [natural native speed]
Eric: welcome
Lena: üdvözlöm [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Lena: üdvözlöm [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Lena: helyet foglal [natural native speed]
Eric: to take a seat
Lena: helyet foglal [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Lena: helyet foglal [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Lena: felkelt [natural native speed]
Eric: to arouse, to wake up
Lena: felkelt [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Lena: felkelt [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Lena: folyékonyan [natural native speed]
Eric: fluently
Lena: folyékonyan [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Lena: folyékonyan [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Lena: jelentkezik [natural native speed]
Eric: to sign up, to register for, to apply to
Lena: jelentkezik [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Lena: jelentkezik [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Lena: szert tesz valamire [natural native speed]
Eric: to acquire
Lena: szert tesz valamire [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Lena: szert tesz valamire [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have
Lena: kifejt [natural native speed]
Eric: to elaborate
Lena: kifejt [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Lena: kifejt [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have
Lena: üzletkötő [natural native speed]
Eric: sales representative
Lena: üzletkötő [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Lena: üzletkötő [natural native speed]
Eric: Next we have..
Lena: hamarosan értesít [natural native speed]
Eric: to get back to somebody soon, to inform
Lena: hamarosan értesít [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Lena: hamarosan értesít [natural native speed]
Eric: And last..
Lena: lehetőség [natural native speed]
Eric: opportunity
Lena: lehetőség [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Lena: lehetőség [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Eric: Let's take a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first phrase is..
Lena: felkelti valakinek az érdeklődését
Eric: which means “to arouse somebody’s interest”
Lena: The verb “felkelt”, meaning “to arouse”, comes first. The noun follows the verb and has a possessive transitive ending: -at, -et, -át, -ét.
Eric: What kinds of expressions can we use this verb in?
Lena: You can use the verb felkelt to say…felkelti valakinek a figyelmét
Eric: “to arouse somebody's attention”
Lena: ...or felkelti valakinek a kiváncsiságát
Eric: “to arouse somebody's curiosity.”
Lena: You can substitute the verb felkelt” with its synonym “felébreszt” to talk about senses or emotions. For example, you can say... felébreszti a szenvedélyét
Eric: “to awake somebody’s passion”
Lena: or… “felébreszti a vágyát”
Eric “to awake somebody’s desire”. Great! Can you give us a sample sentence using the verb “to arouse”?
Lena: Sure. For example, you can say.. Ez a cikk felkeltette a figyelmemet.
Eric: ..which means “This article has aroused my attention.” Okay, what's the next phrase?
Lena: jelentkezik az állásra
Eric: which means “to apply for a job”
Lena: The verb “jelentkezik” means “to sign up, to apply, to register for” and is followed by a noun with an ending in -ra, -re.
Eric: You can also use this verb to say “to apply for a university”...
Lena: jelentkezik az egyetemre
Eric “to apply for a competition”
Lena: jelentkezik a versenyre
Eric “to apply for an exam”
Lena: jelentkezik a vizsgára. The noun can also have an ending in -nál, -nél
Eric: This will specify that you’re applying to a certain place or company.
Lena: For example...jelentkezik a cégnél az álláshirdetésre
Eric: “to apply for a job at the company”. Lena, can you give us another sample sentence using this word?
Lena: Sure. How about...Jelentkeztem a novemberi nyelvvizsgára.
Eric: “I registered for the language exam in November.” Okay, what's the last phrase?
Lena: szert tesz új tudásra
Eric: which means “to gain new knowledge”
Lena: The expression tesz szert is pretty formal and usually comes after a noun with an ending in -ra, -re. It means “to obtain, to acquire or to gain something”.
Eric: For example, you can say… “to gain a new experience”
Lena: tapasztalatra tesz szert
Eric: “to acquire profit”
Lena: nyereségre tesz szert
Eric: “to gain friends”
Lena: barátokra tesz szert. Listeners, please note, that the dictionary form of this expression is szert tesz valamire. The word order can change to tesz szert when you add a noun that you would like to stress in the sentence.
Eric: Can you give us an example of it?
Lena: For example, “Tapasztalatra tettem szert.” would mean “I gained a new experience”, and not something else.
Eric: And if you want to stress the action of acquiring something or gaining knowledge, not the knowledge itself?
Lena: You would say, “Szert tettem tapasztalatra.”
Eric: Ok! And one final sample sentence, please!
Lena: Az évek során sikerült gyakorlati tapasztalatra szert tennem.
Eric: It means “Throughout the years I managed to gain practical experience.”
Lena: With emphasis on the experience obtained.
Eric: Okay, now onto the lesson focus.

Lesson focus

Eric: In this lesson, you’ll learn about politeness in Hungarian. As you know, one of the difficulties of the Hungarian language is the complexity of its polite language.
Lena: Right. Depending on the other person’s age, profession and the context of the conversation, the level of politeness can change significantly.
Eric: The focus of this lesson is to learn how to address people in a formal context, and to be able to ask for favors or questions using the conditional form. Here are two tips to master politeness in Hungarian quickly.
Lena: First, you can forget the definite articles in a possessive structure!
Eric: In a very polite conversation, the definite article is often left out when you use a possessive. For example...
Lena: Az önéletrajza felkeltette érdeklődésünket.
Eric: “Your resume has aroused our interest.”
Lena: In a less formal context, or during a polite oral conversation, you would naturally say “Az önéletrajza felkeltette az érdeklődésünket.”, not Az önéletrajza felkeltette érdeklődésünket.
Eric: So, by taking out the definite article before the noun in the possessive form, your speech becomes even more polite.
Lena: Right. Listeners, in written language, this rule is a must!
Eric: Lena, what’s the second tip?
Lena: Tip number two: get rid of the conjunction “hogy”, which means “that” and is usually found after a comma.
Eric: For example?
Lena: Úgy éreztem, az önök cégénél új tudásra tehetnék szert.
Eric: This means “I felt that in your company I could gain new knowledge.”
Lena: In casual conversation, it would still be polite to say Úgy éreztem, hogy az önök cégénél új tudásra tehetnék szert.
Eric: Now onto the conditional. Hungarians often use the conditional form to make polite requests or ask polite questions, just like in English.
Lena: When you are the subject of the sentence, you can also use the potential form to be more polite.
Eric: Lena, can you give us some examples?
Lena: For example, let's take the sentence….Megkérhetem, hogy ismételje meg?
Eric: which means “Can I ask you to repeat that, please?”
Lena: The more polite form will be Megkérhetném, hogy ismételje meg?
Eric: “Could I ask you to repeat that, please?” When you’re making requests, you can use the following expressions.
Lena: Lenne szíves megmondani...
Eric: This means “Would you be so kind as to tell…”
Lena: Le lennék kötelezve, ha megmondaná...
Eric: “I would be obliged to you if you told..”
Lena: Tudna esetleg ajánlani…
Eric: “Could you possibly recommend…”. Listeners, you can find more phrases, as well as information on how to address men and women in a polite conversation, in the lesson notes!

Outro

Eric: Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time!
Lena: Viszontlátásra