Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Prepare to Serve Interview: Growing Pains Learning to Speak Hungarian

I know, I know... I've been behind in posting these. My excuse: It's almost as hard to re-learn college life as it is to learn Hungarian...almost...

Love Always,


  1. Hi there,

    Cool mission! Can I ask you something? I've always wondered what happens to the mission language when missionaries return home. Do they simply forget it?

    Do you do something to not forget the language? Is there someone to practice with?

  2. Well it certainly is hard to keep up a language like Hungarian because there isn't exactly a large Hungarian population in the area. I volunteer at the MTC on occasion to help missionaries who are also learning the language, I have a friend here from Hungary, I occasionally talk to other returned missionaries in Hungarian and I also Skype with my converts and investigators when I can. I also read my scriptures in Hungarian most of the time for my personal study.
    It is still hard to keep up, but I absolutely love the opportunities to speak magyarul when I get them. :)

  3. Cool! Reading the scriptures in the mission language is a good idea.

    Considering how hard it is to learn a language (any language) in the first place it's definitely worth the effort to keep it up.

  4. Hi, I have an other question regarding the video. What was the hardest part when learning Hungarian? The suffixes? Though in their simplest form they may be not hard to learn that e.g. from is -ról/ről (from the mountain, a hegyről), but when they start to pile up then I guess they may be tricky to decipher/assemble when one is new to the language (e.g the ball belongs to my dogs = a labda a kutyáimé).

    Was it the hardest part? Or something else?

    1. I think it depends on the person. Basically everything about Hungarian can be hard for an English speaker. There's a joke article on "The Onion" that says they are coming out with a Rosetta Stone for Hungarian and the first CD is just a recording of someone asking you if you are SURE you wan't to learn it. haha.

      For me different things were hard at different times. It was hard at first for me to not get Icelandic and Hungarian words mixed up (I still sometimes pronounce Jesus the Icelandic way when I pray).

      The suffixes are definitely hard at first. Another thing that was (and is) hard for me is fluent word order.

      In my opinion, it's fairly easy to learn enough Hungarian to communicate, but board-line impossible to learn it well enough to speak "Hungarianly". But I love it anyway :)

    2. Ah, yes, the word order can be tricky until you get used to it. But I don't think it's impossible to learn Hungarian well enough. AFAIK you learned it for 18 months which is usually not enough for any language to learn to speak it like a native. It simply takes more time.

      BTW, regarding practicing the language which was mentioned in the comments above Youtube has lots of Hungarian material which can be used for listening practice and expanding vocabulary.

      For example, here's a Hungarian cartoon series, the Hungarian Folktales, which consists of short episodes, so it is easy to view them anytime when you are in the mood for a bit of Hungarian:

      These are real folk tales and the series is well made, so it is enjoyable for adults too.

      If you find it useful then let me know here and I'll recommend some more.


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