Hungarian Lesson for your Stag Do in Budapest

Budapest Kiss meHungarian (Magyar) bears no relation at all to the Slavic and Germanic tongues spoken in neighbouring countries, and finds its closest cousins in the national languages of faraway Finland and Estonia. The alphabet contains such logical innovations as eight variations on the letters O and U, all of which are unpronounceable, as well as compound letters like “Dzs”, which sounds like the English letter J. With some patience, though, you’ll be fine speaking English – especially amongst younger Hungarians.

Hauling out the phrasebooks for anything beyond everyday pleasantries isn’t for the faint of heart: to the Magyar ear, even slightly mispronounced Hungarian sounds like gibberish. Should you wish to give this bizarre Finno-Ugric language a whirl, here are the essentials. Just remember that the emphasis is always placed on the first syllable of every word.

English                                    Hungarian                          Pronounced like 
Good day                                Jó napot kivánok               YO NA-pot KEE-van-ock

Hello (informal)                     Szia                                     SEE-ya

Bye-bye                                  Hello                                     HE-llo

Yes                                          Igen                                      EE-gen

My name is Dave                  Dave vagyok                       DAVE VOH-dyock

One pint of beer,                   Egy korsó sört,                    EDGE COR-sho SHiRT,
please                                    kérek szépen                       KAY-reck SAY-pen

I love you                                 Szeretlek                             SEH-ret-leck