Learning Hungarian

One friend of mine is currently moving to Hungary to work there as a scientist, and someone asked if it’s harder to learn Hungarian than English as a second language.

Well, what should I say…

It probably depends on which mother-tongue one has. For example, if your mother-tongue is Finnish or Estonian (or even Mongolian…) then you might find it approachable (I wouldn’t say easy though). If your mother-tongue happens to be one of the Indo-European languages such as German or English or Russian, then learning Hungarian is probably not something you would do in one or two years. Ten, maybe.

The pronunciation is one issue, it needs a lot of practice. But the main problem is that the structure of the language is very different from any other European languages. The grammar is totally out-of-reach. One really needs to learn not just a set of words and rules, but a whole new way of thinking in order to master Hungarian.

At least I needed to learn another way of thinking when I learned Indo-European languages, so I guess it goes the other way around as well.


Okey, so here is your first lesson. We are going to learn a few basic words. More here.

hi/bye — szia — “see-y’o”

cheers — egészségedre — “aa-guess-shage-add-ra” or “eggy-sheggy-dray”

i love you — szeretlek — “seh-ret-lek”

help! — segítség! — “shag-ee-cha-g”


Wow! You’re learning fast. You can already get your second lesson. Will be fun, trust me!

to burn — ég [ˈeːɡ] — “aeg”

Got it? Good.

hun(Source here.)

Nobody said it was easy.


Your third lesson is coming soon, embrace yourself.