Vidám MesékI’m currently reading “Vidám Mesék” (Happy Stories), a children’s book by Vlagyimir Syutyejev.  I never thought that reading about little ducks, kittens, and mice would be so challenging and intellectually stimulating.  Actually, this book is perfect for our stage of Hungarian.

VocabularyI’ve also picked up these awesome vocabulary cards.  Our system of learning vocabulary work fairly good, but I’m eager to work through this set of 1000 words.  Actually its about 3000 since they do a great job including synonyms and corresponding verb/noun/adjective forms.  They are actually designed for Hungarians learning English, but they work the other way around too.  Here’s a phrase I’m working on: “Valaki nagy örömére…” (Much to somone’s delight….).

soccer (futball, foci, labdarúgás)

focinyelvI play soccer with some guys 2-3 times a month on Saturdays, and today Kristof wrote out a page of Hungarian soccer lingo (words/phrases).  I needed this Hungarian lesson like it was going out of style.  When I’m on the field I just speak in English all the time.  (The fellas have good English, and I think they can understand most everything I’m saying.)  BUT, now when one of the guys does some really fancy footwork I can say, “Szétcselezi az agyát” which means, “he tricks his own brain apart!” 

Some other very cool/useful phrases: “Vigyázz mögötted!” (Watch out, he is behind your back!), “Lőjj!” (shoot!), “Remek védekezés” (Good Defense), “Héé” (Hey, I’m running here too so would you be so kind as to give me the ball), and “ketten vagytok” (there are two of us, so you’re not alone at the attack).  I can’t wait to try some of this out.

the field

top 3 ways to learn Hungarian

Our team of researchers have concluded that there are three effective and proven ways to learn the Hungarian language. 

1) be born in Hungary…to a Hungarian family.

2) marry a Hungarian who only speaks Hungarian.

3) have a brain transplant with a Hungarian brain.


Szeretném elmesélni a napomat.  Ma reggel, amikor mentem a HÉV-hez, megálltam a fodrásznál megtudni, hogy van-e szabad hely.  Régóta nagyon hosszu a hajam.  Ildinek, a fodrászomnak volt szabad ideje és levágta a hajamat.  Most nagyon jól érzem magam.  Hajvágás után HÉV-vel elmentem a Belvárosba.  Aztán elgyalogoltam az irodámba.

Segítségedet és finomítasadat köszönöm Ági!

movie and karate

Tonight, Laura and I went with our Canadian friends to see MI-3 in the cinema at Móm Park Mall. Of course there was a lot of guns, explosions, and spy-equipment. At the end of the movie we were able to breathe again. It’s a great action film.

Learning Hungarian is an arduous process, and I wonder when I’ll be able to speak and write meaningful Hungarian.

Recently, I watched the Kyukoshin Karate world competition. My friend helped to organize this competition. I’ll write more about (in English) in the near future.

Now my very broken Hungarian:

Ma este, Laura és én elmentünk a Canadai barátainkkal nézni a MI-3-at a moziban Móm Park-nál. Természetesen, sokkal pisztoly, kirobbanás, és kémi berendezés volt. A mozifilm végnál, mi lehelhetünk. Ez a nagyon jó film.

Én csodálkozom amikor beszélhetem és írhatom értelmes magyarul.

Mostanában én néztem a Kyukoshin Karate világi versenyet. Én barátom segit megszervezni ez versenyet. Fogok írni többet Angolulban jövőre.


sorry the blog was down for a few days! my friend Matthew has rescued once again. thanks Matt!

i’ve been working on our visa renewals lately and learning some awesome new vocabulary. here’s some of my new hungarian words:

  • letelepedési engedély = residential permit
  • bevándorlás = immigration
  • ügyfélfogadás = ?
  • meghívólevél = invitation letter
  • tartózkodási = residential
  • hatósági = official?
  • bizonyítvány = report?
  • less is more

    As I teach English and learn Hungarian I am increasingly convinced that “less is more.” This is primarily true for beginner language students. A student can only acquire a “second” language through “learning by doing.” Learning huge sets of vocabulary and conjugations leads to a wonderful passive knowledge of the language. But active knowledge comes through use alone, and this requires a different approach to learning. “Less is more” and using a small set of new phrases rather than memorizing a large set of new words will lead to fluency and a “feel” for the language.

    So how does this impact my vocabulary notebook? Well, during each Hungarian class I get around 30-50 new words. I still write down all 30-50 new words, and I’m also trying to select 10 on which to focus. In my notebook I try to use these 10 new words in 10 appropriate and grammatically correct sentences. And then I try to use five of these sentences in my conversations during the week. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s a nice idea.

    Some words I “know,” but I can’t recall them. I only recognize them when I hear them. Some words I “know,” and I can call them to mind. But these words I can’t use in a sentence very well. And some words I “know” and can easily use them in sentences and daily life.

    So what does it mean “to know” a language? Is it to know lots and lots of words and grammitical rules? Nope. I guess the main point is to learn by doing/using/experiencing. And interestingly, this is sort of a life principle…for career, for university, for parenting, for marriage, for faith.

    the longest Hungarian word

    Ok. Ready? The longest Hungarian word is:


    At Topher’s challenge, I’m going to attempt to translate/interpret it. To the very best of my Hungarian knowledge, I believe that this word means: “for your oath-like oneness there exists the impossibility of being anti-sanctified.”

    Hmmmm. Somehow I don’t think this is even close to the real meaning.

    If you read the comment, you’ll see Topher’s excellent translation of this word. In short, the true meaning is: “For your (plural) acts of putting something in the state of being impossible to desecrate.”


    Here’s a few interesting English language stats from McCarthy and O’Dell, “English Vocabulary in Use.”

    • Did you know that there are approximately 500,000 words in English?
    • A person with a particularly large vocabulary might use around 60,000 English words.
    • The average native English speaker uses about 5000 words in everyday speech.
    • There are 50 words that represent 45% of everything written in English.


    Would you like to learn Hungarian? Perhaps it would be good to start with the second longest Hungarian word.


    It simply means: you (plural) were against (the idea of) something that had been thoroughly Savoy-cabbaged.