A reference guide to Hungarian grammar, designed with English-speakers in mind

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Greetings and basics of Hungarian

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The most satisfying first step of learning any language is the basics such as hello, thanks, how are you, etc. This page teaches them without any grammar, but it is the only time I will give Hungarian phonetic pronunciation. The grammar is contained in the rest of the site!

Meeting and greeting - hello, goodbye, etc

  • szia hi, hello, bye see-ah This is a little like "ciao".
  • jó napot/reggelt/estét/éjszakát Good day/morning/evening/night yo na-pot / reh-gelt / esh-tet / ay-sa-kat
  • jó napot/reggelt/estét/éjszakát kívánok Good day/morning/evening/night (more polite) kiv-a-nok
  • viszontlátásra goodbye vee-sont-laa-taash-ra
  • hogy vagy? how are you (informal)? hodge vodge *

The very basics - yes, no, please, thanks

  • igen yes ee-gen (hard G like in gate)
  • nem no
  • köszönöm thank you kur-sur-nurm
  • kérek please care-ek (in the sense of "a beer, please")
  • legyen szíves please ledge-en see-vesh (in the sense of "be so kind as")
  • szívesen; nincs mit you're welcome; it's nothing, don't mention it see-vesh-en / ninch mit

Useful stuff for lovers - I love you, you are beautiful

  • szeretlek I love you seh-ret-lek
  • szép vagy you are pretty sairp vodge This is easier to pronounce than the next phrase, that's why I included both
  • gyönyörű vagy you are beautiful djer-nyer-oo vodge
  • boldog születésnapot (kívánok) (I wish you a) happy birthday bol-dog soo-let-esh-na-pot (key-va-nok)

Useful stuff for friends - happy birthday, Christmas

  • boldog születésnapot (kívánok) (I wish you a) happy birthday bol-dog soo-let-esh-na-pot (key-va-nok)
  • boldog karácsonyt (kívánok) (I wish you a) happy Christmas bol-dog kar-ah-chonyt (key-va-nok)
  • boldog új évet (kívánok) (I wish you a) happy New Year bol-dog ooi air-vet (key-va-nok)

My name is

There are several ways of giving your name. These are listed here with their listeral meanings; all are acceptable.

  • Daniel vagyok my name is Daniel vodge-ok Literally, "I am Daniel".
  • a nevem Daniel my name is Daniel Literally, "my name is Daniel".
  • Danielnek hívnak my name is Daniel heave-nek Literally, "they call me Daniel".
  • mi a neved? what is your name? me ah nev-ed
  • hogy hívnak? what is your name? hodge heave-nak Literally, "how do they call you?"

Where are you from?

  • angol vagyok I am English an-gol vodge-ok
  • te magyar vagy? are you Hungarian? tea modge-or?
  • ő amerikai he is American eugh a-mer-i-kar-ee
  • Atlantából vagyok I am from Atlanta Atlanta-bol vodge-ok
  • Honnan való vagy where are you from? honnan vah-low vodge?

Languages - do you speak...?

  • beszélsz angolul? do you speak English (informal)? bes-ells an-go-lul
  • nem beszélek magyarul I don't speak Hungarian nem bes-el-ek modge-or-ul
  • csak egy kicsit beszélek magyarul I only speak a little Hungarian chok edge kitch-it bes-el-ek modge-or-ul

See the main page about country names introductions in Hungarian.

This was the very first phrase I learnt, in a café in Budapest in December 2006. It was scribbled on a piece of paper to show me the spelling, as I thought that "hodge vodge" was hilarous. Thus was planted, by the girl for whom I studied, the seed of my love of this language.

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