How long does it take to learn Hungarian?

  • Hi there! I'm thinking of studying in Hungary for a year and would like to learn Hungarian during that time. However, some friends told me that this is so hard that you can pretty much forget about it in a year. Any advice or opinion?

    17 May 2007, 10:57 Donald
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  • very hard

    Only the continuous practice will take you to learn it, even so, it can take a lot of time, not only if you do study it in a language school, The non-hungarian human being is not skilled to pronounce the way hungarins do, thats is a very hard issue we need to handle with. DOnt forget in every single case you learn a new language, you need to study a lot of new words, adjetives, sustantives, the way to use them and in hungarian, THE F***ING SUFIXES,...... it s also a pain in the ass the high amount of vowels and their deep-in-the throat sound..... Once you stop regecting to learn (It's so easy because EVERYBODY in Budapest speaks English or German, so you get into the point of start speaking english to everyone because its easier and hungarians get to practice their english for free)... In any case, I recommend you to buy a pocket book with usual sentenses and buy a hungarian language book, the hungarian language book it will be ONLY in hungarian thats why it ll be useful to get the related teacher book with all the explanations in your mother tongue..... Good look! and dont feel sorry if you die before learning hungarian, jaja you wont be the only one.....I've know people living in budapest from 7 years who dont speak more than Szia and Koszonom szepen

    Veronica 20 Jul 2007, 02:16 - Report
  • Hungarian language

    Hello Guys! I`m Hungarian, but writing from Dubai at the moment. I know it ll sound strange but u know what? Don`t even try to learn Hungarian. If u don`t have special skills, I mean extreamly special language skills and u don`t speak other 10different languages yet, don`t waste your time on Hungarian. It`s really very hard. And it`s not only our grammar, but also the way we pronounce words. My boyfriend is American, He spent 5 years in Hun, and we`ve been together for 4 years now. That is 9 years altogether. He is not able to pronounce the words. And trust me, it`s not his deffect. And Hungarians can`t understand u if u don`t pronounce words the way we do. We are simply not able to!! But have a good time there! LOL

    A Hungarian 03 Aug 2007, 07:31 - Report
  • Hungarian language

    Hi everyone,
    I don't think it's a good idea to talk that way of Hungarian language. I know a lot of average people from all over the world who learnt 1 year of the language and can speak quite well and tell you what, they enjoy speaking Hungarian!They say it is an interesting language that sounds nice happy Why do you want to scare people and telling them not even to give a try???? It is really possible for everyone to speak Hungarian, just as any other language, not easier and not harder... The whole world is struggling with English, just think of all the pasts (ex.present perfect&friends) and presents and futures. In Hungarian it's so much easier.Learning depends just on your point of view: so, if you are curious of the Hungarian language, just give a try and experience yourself!

    Anonymus 06 Aug 2007, 07:41 - Report
  • learn hungarian in 1 year

    Dear eager language students!

    Maybe I have more than average language skills, I speak 6 languages and understand 10 languages. But it's not impossible.

    I started Hungarian in evening classes, 2 hours a week. After 3 year I was able to ask a question in Hungarian, but I didn't understand the answer. Lack of grammar, vocabulary, slang, ... lack of practice.So you get very frustrated.
    After my studies, I went to hungary and looked for a good language school, and I've found it. Have a look at They have groups at different levels. I started there as a near-beginner. The real beginners reached the level I had after 3 year already after 2 months. After 1 year the complete beginners were all able to express themselves in everyday conversations in shops, restaurants, train stations, etc. and were able to talk in an interesting way about their home countries, hobbies etc. Maybe with an accent, but Hungarians do appreciate it, when you try to speak their language.
    After 10 months of intensive Hungarian (not only the lessons are important, you also have to try yourself to use all the words you learn, all the grammar you learn) I passed the C-type ORIGO language test, even Hungarians think this is a realy difficult test. I also passes the entrance exam (and 10 months later the final exam) for the interpretor training at the Budapest Technical University.
    This school has different programmes, for different types of students. Evening classes, for people who are working and don't have time for full time training, private classes, if you want to study at your own pace, university preparation for foreign students who want to start university in Hungarian (after 1 year these guys are perfectly able to attend all classes and can produce papers and presentations in Hungarian). They have special full-time programmes for foreigners, offering language classes, history, literature, culture, and special language and history classes for foreigners with hungarian roots, in this case classes will remediate "false friends" in Hungarian, special training for translators of hungarian literature, summer schools ...

    I've spent a wonderfull year in that school, I have many new friends from all over the world, we are still in touch and we always speak Hungarian, not English.

    I can only recommend it to everybody else.
    There are other possibilities as well to learn the language, but I can only tell you about my experiences.
    so check out:
    Ministry of education:
    Hungarian scholarship board:
    My favourite school: Balassi Balint institute:
    if you want to become a pro:

    success !

    Katja 07 Aug 2007, 10:03 - Report
  • Hungarian

    It's not so hard. I have spent about 6 months there on and off over the past 7 years, I'm no linguist (failed german GCSE) but I would guess that my hungarian is about A-level standard. I can order food, discuss work and sports, chat up gorgeous hungarian girls etc. etc.

    Brit Guy 18 Oct 2007, 11:19 - Report
  • It is a very sweet and useful language


    Though it may be difficult to learn on the onset , but it is worth giving it a try . Nagyon szep nyelv . Erdemes Tanulni .

    Asvanyviz 07 Nov 2007, 02:42 - Report
  • dont lissen to theme.

    hi mu name is mariah from sweden, i learned to speak and understand almost evrything in hungarian it took me 2 years , and i dont find pronouncent hard at all. all you have to do is realy wanting to learn and study not just in school but at home as well. lissen to only hungarian music,get a hungarian tv channel and start to think in hungarian!

    mariah 30 Nov 2007, 01:29 - Report
  • Learning in old age

    I am a psychiatrist, about 70 years old. I am well known in my home city Venezia (Velence). I speak Italian (my native language),French, English, German, Spanish and Russian.Two years ago I began to study Hungarian. It's true that I bore myself when learning all the word lists, but, more or less, I still can find my way in Hungarian. This is for written Hungarian. I tried to invite here some Hungarians, paying them and giving them the possibility of learning Italian, but it did not work out. I have a private teacher who comes to my house twice a week, and, of course, I have a lot of difficulties with spoken Hungarian. But, what's horrible !! is that you forget Hungarian words and verbs in a very easy way. If any Hungarian, cultivated witty and eager to learn Italian has any idea of spending some time in Venezia (Velence) I will be glad to correspond with him, as my teacher goes back nowto Budapest.

    Antonio A.Rizzoli ( 14 Dec 2007, 10:23 - Report
  • Zuzer

    I'm not sure if Hungarian is that hard to learn or that easy to forget. Words are usually long so it's easier to catch them and remember imo. How could you forget a word like szeretlek (pron: 'seretleck).

    As for pronunciation: Hungarians do NOT have any special heads, mouths or vocal chords, so they pronounce only sounds all other people could also pronounce.

    Stress is always on the 1st syllable of the word and 1st word of the sentence. What could be easier, it's an ancient and rather primitive language. Once i met a British girl who spoke OK Hungarian in 3 months!

    drop me a line if ur in Budapest
    calyptratus<AT>gmail<DOT>com --- no bots plx happy

    Zuzer the Hun 26 Dec 2007, 10:59 - Report
  • Hello!!

    Hello LOL!!

    I am interested to talk to you if you find time for me...Szinten magyar vagyok es dubaj-ba keszuok lakni a baratommal, aki angol...ha van par perced ird meg milyen dubajban lakni([email removed])...thanx a lot!!!

    helga 27 Mar 2008, 01:12 - Report
  • -

    Hi, learning Hungarian is really not impossible. I know somebody who can speak Hungarian better than me... and I'm Hungarian. O.K., maybe Hungarian language is not like English or any other popular languages, but pls don't be afraid of learning it. I think pronouncation is easy to learn and genders are not relevant in this language, so it might be defenately easier than German or French happy Don't give it up. If you live in Hungary, you will need Hungarian, since many (or most?) of the people don't speak foreign languages. Try to focus on everyday Hungarian, so you will be able to communicate and you will feel the success. The easiest way is to learn expressions from your Hungarian friends, especially the slang from everyday usage. It will help a lot. Don't be afraid of practicing what you've already learnt. Anyway sometimes I think I don't have the skills to pronounce French or even English - but you don't need perfect pronouncation to be understood. I'm proud of my strong Hungarian accent - it makes me an individual blunk
    The answer to your question is: usually 1 year is enough - if you spend as much time as possible with native speakers. (To tell the truth I've been learning English for about 12 years... but who cares? happy )
    Anyway why do you think we Hungarians have any special skill to learn this language? Even the most unskilled people could learn it - so it seems that it's really not impossible.

    xyz 31 Mar 2008, 10:09 - Report
  • Hungarian

    If you spend the time with the language, there is no reason any person would not be able to learn Hungarian. There are plenty of rules (as in every language) but they are consistent, as is the pronunciation. The rules work together to make Hungarian sound quite lovely and to have a fluidity many languages do not have.

    Since it is 10 months after Donald posted his query, I would guess he's already made his decision.

    Nevertheless, if anyone else would find themselves in a similar spot, Hungarian is such a neat language to learn. All of this nonsense about it being so difficult is a bunch of craziness. Every language is difficult if you did not grow up with it!

    ERB 06 Apr 2008, 12:20 - Report
  • hello

    am leaving in Dubai and i would like to learn this Hungarian languge,so if any one knows school in Dubai or teacher please let contact me
    [email removed]

    osama kutaini 03 Jun 2008, 06:28 - Report
  • Hungarian language uni instruction

    Hi guys,
    Just found this blog--hope Donald made his decision by now. Anyhow, if you're in the US, check out Indiana University's website for summer language instruction, including Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, etc.
    You can also take Hungarian up to the 3rd-year level during the academic year.

    Rutgers also has a program that covers the first 2 years of the language.

    If you are currently in a program and want to chat in English or magyarul, feel free to message me. If you have facebook, you can find me on the Indiana network.

    Tara L 07 Jul 2008, 12:48 - Report
  • Looking for Volunteers

    Hey there,

    I am absolutely sure that learning Hungarian in a short period of time is possible. My mother tongue is Hungarian, but I speak English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and I understand a bit of Hebrew, Italian and French. Well, most of my time I do nothing else but develop new methods of learning a foreign language.
    I am looking for up to 5 voluteers who would like to learn Hungarian with a new method. Quick and interactive. Motivation letters please to [email removed]

    linguarte 09 Jul 2008, 04:15 - Report
  • Learning Hungarian

    I found the hardest thing about Hungarian is that you can not mis pronounce it. In Italy or in English you can sort of say the words words wrong and people will still have a clue as to what your trying to spit out.

    Having said that Hungarian people seem quite good at guessing games..Ill go to the post office wave this random bit of paper at you and you guess what I want. They are quite patient and used to dealing with idiots like me who couldn't learn to speak.

    Victoria 12 Nov 2008, 01:20 - Report
  • Hungarian

    My wife was born and raised in Hungary and we are teaching our daughter Hungarian which is great, except for the fact that I myself am having a hard time learning the language. With my wife gone to basic training (Go Army!) its up to me to keep up with the Hungarian stuff. My sister-in-law speaks english and hungarian and has been helping me out where she can. I found a great way to learn is to just listen to the language. Music, for me, has been a great teacher and works well to familiarize yourself with the way the language sounds.

    Dallas 13 Jan 2009, 02:52 - Report
  • Learning Hungarian

    Hi all!
    I have lived in Hungary and did actually manage to learn this evil language, so do not give up.

    Sambo 19 Feb 2009, 02:10 - Report
  • hungarian

    Hi! I see that many people want learning hungarian. I teach slovak and hungarian languages in my free-time here in Budapest, so if somebody have a mood to learn I would help gladly. My email adress for your questions: [email removed] happy

    Enie 05 Mar 2009, 02:28 - Report
  • Learn...

    First of all, you have to turn into a Human Being! Then, you have to educate yourself.
    And finally, you have to be smarter than a Hungarian girl.
    Which you never will be!!!

    Hunter 16 Mar 2009, 10:31 - Report
  • Cmment

    Hi all!
    My native language is hungarian. It is hard to learn that pro level. I only met a few foreigners who could speak it properly (I mean without accent..)

    Advantages: You can express yourself better in this language. I believe in this.
    Maybe it is because of the complexity or the ways you can express things, niceties. I can not comment on other languages, but there are other very difficult languages. It depends on where you came from...

    If you really master this language, you will develop a better way of thinking... at least a better way to express yourself.

    I can comment on English.
    Not easy at all... No doubt about that.
    I only met a few fellow hungarians who could master it happy
    I am among those people. I'm not putting a big face, I am nearly accent-free. Sometimes people say I've got a welsh accent, but that's all.. So I'm proud of myself.
    I live in the U.K. for 5 years now.

    All I can say. English as compared to Hungarian.... I prefer Hungarian.
    I base this jugdement on my experiences.
    Firstly, I thought Britons are stupid (I'm sure many of the hungarians got the same thought when moving to the U.K.), but with time I realized it's not true... It's all about our language, the fact that we express ourselves more complex..
    So, from this point of view I must say, an average English person speaks simple.
    Although that's what I think, I must say that English language can be as complex as hungarian, it's just not that commonly used with it's full potential in an everyday conversation...

    We (an average hungarian) speaks/expresses more complex than an average brit. No big deal.

    But if you talk to a solicitor and talk about legislation etc... you will have some hard times, I can guarantee that...

    English is a beautiful language and many of the hungarians struggle to master it.... it doesn't mean that you pop out to the shop or you order food on the phone....

    Anyway, good luck with Hungarian!
    It's worth to learn.

    By the way, Wikipedia has a few good comments on Hungarian.


    Rob 29 Mar 2009, 05:28 - Report
  • Learning Hungarian

    Oh my god I thought i was the only person in UK trying no learn!!! wey heeyyyyy!

    Andria from Sheffield 17 Jun 2009, 02:52 - Report
  • What does spoken Hungarian sound like?

    Is there a good way to describe how the spoken language sounds? I would be interested to know. [email removed].

    diane 06 Aug 2009, 03:46 - Report
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