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Your motivation for learning Hungarian

Hi! It is amazing to see so many enthusiastic people here who want to learn this unique language. As a native speaker, I would be really interested to know why you wanted to start learning Hungarian - were there any special reasons or you just wanted to try something new?

(also, if you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them :) )


July 8, 2016



My parents are both native Hungarian speakers, but moved to my current country before I was born. Although they spoke Hungarian, they also wanted for me to master the language of the locals first. Hence, German became my native tongue.

When I was around 8 or so, they tried to teach me Hungarian, however by then I thought it's a pretty much useless language and wanted to focus on English.

There was slight regret about this later and to this very day, I think I missed a great opportunity, because in the last few years I began to appreciate other languages more and more. Finding learning material for Hungarian is very hard though. I found some random books at times, but they never really grabbed my interest.

However, since I often hear my parents talk in Hungarian, I can usually guess what is being said, and want to turn my very passive knowledge into an active language to communicate with.

Then I found Duolingo and saw, that a Hungarian course was on it's way. I've waited for that, because I really love the system to get started in a language.

I hope Duolingo will allow me to start speaking a bit with my parents, and maybe even get me to an intermediate level, where I can progress faster with native speakers at hand.

I could also use the language to travel around in Hungary once that happens. I heard it's a beautiful country.


You're so lucky to have native speakers at home, you shouldn't miss that opportunity. If your parents are patient enough they will find ways to teach you. You can even show them Duolingo, I'm sure they'll be impressed :-)

Wow being of Hungarian descent you haven't actually been to Hungary yet ? It's really beautiful, I hope it'll give you more motivation so that you'll get to intermediate level soon !


Both of my parents were born in Hungary, and are fluent speakers. I was born in the US, and although my family tried to teach my sister and I Hungarian, it never progressed beyond counting and a few basic words.

As an adult, I regretted not learning more when I was younger. When I found out that Duolingo was adding Hungarian, I couldn't wait. Hopefully I'll be able to pass this on to my children.


I want to understand the Omega's songs


Me too, but I am native Hungarian living in Hungary :D :D :D

  • 2318

Lá lá, gyöngyhajú lány, lá lá lá lá lá lá lá lá :)


A few years ago, I was reading about the Hungarian nationality law and I saw that a person of Hungarian descent is eligible for citizenship if their ancestor, close or distant, were a citizen either before 1920 or between 1941 and 1945. Strangely enough, I fit the criteria (my great-great-grandmother was born in Hungary in 1880) and I thought that it would be so cool to hold dual citizenship (of Hungary and the United States, where I am from). Not long after, I saw that the person applying for citizenship had to have knowledge of the Hungarian language as well, something that I definitely didn't have. I tried many different ways to learn Hungarian quickly, like videos and podcasts, but they didn't help me too much. A few months later, I stumbled upon Duolingo and saw that a Hungarian course was being created. That was in May 2015, and here I am in July 2016, having waited 14 months for this opportunity.


Hello, I'm on a similar path as you and since it's been about a year since you posted this, I wondered if you have any update.

I also have ancestors who came from Hungary to the US before 1920. I am learning Hungarian so I can obtain dual citizenship. I enjoy learning languages anyway and being able to learn a language I know my forefathers (and mothers) spoke, it is very enjoyable.

So did you complete the process for citizenship? I am hoping to be able to get to the point within a year where I can apply so I can have my citizenship interview at the consulate.


I'd be interested to know as well. I hope you did, and hope you see this and reply


Just because I'm Slovak so we are neigbours and I have a few Magyar friends, I want to impress them


I'm American. Both of my parents got out of Hungary after the '56 uprising. I started out speaking Hungarian. Over the years, my proficiency has waxed and waned (a lot), but over the past 2 years, I've been learning Hungarian enthusiastically, and was hoping this course would be done a long time ago, to help me (it's been in development for years).

By now, I believe my Hungarian language skills have advanced beyond (I'm guessing here) about 80-90% of this course. Still, I expect I'll strengthen a lot of basic skills, plus learn some new ones ... and I also want to help improve the course, and interact with this community of enthusiastic Hungarian-language students.

There is a vast gulf of knowledge, between being able to have a simple conversation with natives, and really "grokking" a language. I'm somewhere in the middle there, still trying to improve my proficiency and comfort level in Hungarian.


I'm part Hungarian on my father's side, and I've always had an interest in the country. I enjoy a lot of Hungarian music and movies. On top of that, my boyfriend is Hungarian, and I'd love to try conversing with him in his native tongue, since he always has to speak English with me.


I was wondering what Hungarian is like since many people label it as one of the hardest languages to learn... I think Hungarian is a very beautiful language and I want to learn it to prove that just because something is hard doesn't mean giving up is an option. Also, I want to impress Hungarians by learning their language, and impress English speakers with the language's beauty and my accomplishments in it. It's different from most languages I have tried, but it's a very exiting and interesting difference.


I like trying all the Duolingo languages as I am a linguist/language professional and just love learning new languages of all stripes. I have carried on 'properly' with about half of those that I've tried, properly being defined as going for several months at least. I think Hungarian will end up fitting into this category. It is so unique! It feels European in terms of the accent (which is a really lovely accent btw - it has a really pleasant sound to it), but totally something else in terms of the grammar and most of the vocab (and I feel like I have a broad idea of what 'European' means in terms of language as I've studied Latin, Germanic and Slavic languages to a heavy degree and Celtic a bit now too). That mix is just fascinating and I have found myself coming back to do a bit of Hungarian every day since it was launched in addition to the other languages I am focusing on at the moment.


למה לא עברית? =)


I am the kind of person who gives long, detailed answers to questions like this, so here it goes:

A whole other alphabet and typing system can be a pain if you aren't making it a primary focus. I did try it the day it came out, but decided it wouldn't slot well in with the other things I'm focusing on at the moment (Catalan, Polish, Welsh, and Norwegian plus reviewing Italian to go to Italy in the near future). Hungarian, whatever challenges it presents, doesn't involve learning an alphabet I am completely unfamiliar with, whereas, when I gave Russian and Ukrainian a go, I'd studied their alphabet before, so it wasn't hard to get started. I also had the extra motivation with them that I was doing them to wake up my Polish while I was waiting for that course (it absolutely worked btw). I felt similarly about Vietnamese to Hebrew. Even with a more similar writing system, coping with tones seemed like a big start up commitment for something I am mainly doing for fun at this point in my life. Basically, if it doesn't feel like it will mainly be fun and interesting, I don't do it. It doesn't mean I will never learn one of these languages with a very unfamiliar alphabet or tones, but I also know I can get the basics of a few comparatively easier languages down in the time it would take to committing to learning Hebrew or Vietnamese. I mean, I already know the languages I use professionally well (Spanish, Portuguese and English), so I am only here to learn what I fancy.


Ah, I see. Well, perhaps Hebrew isn't in your best interests right now anyway. A new alphabet can be hard to learn at first. I can see that you have several other languages under your belt and more that you are working on, so I wish you good luck!


Yes, I have done it, but I don't find Duo that great for new alphabets. The ones I have studied (Hiragana/Katakana, Hangul, Cyrillic and Greek) all involved a lot of writing things on paper and workbooks. I think if I ever give Hebrew a go, it will involve buying a workbook before I jump into the course here.

  • 2318

Same for me, I tried Hebrew on the day it was released and I gave up after the first lesson. Not for me, right now. :)


Hungarian is, alongside Finnish, the most beautiful language on Earth (I may have a thing for Uralic languages :P), so I obviously couldn't lose the opportunity to learn it. It's a challenge learning such a very different language from Portuguese (my native tongue) and other Indo-European languages too. Also, I would love to visit Budapest - which seems to be like its language: beautiful - and put what I've learned into practice. :D


I am from Russia, me and my family (partner and our three children) every year travel by car, and always stay for a few days in Hungary. We were in Budapest, Szeged and on Balaton lake. We have to speak english with people in Hungary, because non of us knows a word in hungarian. So I was waiting for this course to easy learn basics and then practice in our travels. Thank you for this course. Maybe one day will start russian-hungarian course =) Dreams, dreams =)


My Dad is a native speaker of Hungarian (and Slovakian). Unfortunately, since his family fled Slovakia when he was a teenager, he finds his own knowledge of both languages inadequate and I therefore only speak German natively. I've always wanted to learn both, but my interest in Hungarian got even bigger when Dad first took me on holidays to Budapest.


I travel to Hungary quite often and have friends there. I love the country and I want to be able to communicate with people in their native language. Plus, I love the way Hungarian sounds :)


I have friends who are Hungarians from Slovakia.

I met them through Esperanto, at an Esperanto summer camp in Slovakia.

Then when I decided to learn Slovak more intensively in preparation for a trip to Slovakia this year that isn't for Esperanto, I started to speak Slovak with them to practise.

And the mother said, "But next year, we'll have this conversation in Hungarian, OK?"

I said I couldn't promise anything, I would be focussing on Slovak first.

But... then came Hungarian on Duolingo. So I'm picking it up to see how far I'll get :)

I know that Duolingo helped me quite a bit when I did a three-month intensive period of Turkish.


I am a language enthusiast/lover. So I like learning various languages. At least, I want to learn a language from different family language. For example, I learn Arabic from Afroasiatic, Cambodian from Austro-asiatic, Turkish from Altaic, German from Germanic. Hungarian is from Uralic. That's why I want to learn it.

However, not just that. I have one more reason. Learning Turkish has teached me a true agglutinative language (my native lang. is also agglut. but not as extensive as Turkish). I have been amazed by the beautiful of agglutination. It's so interesting. That makes me want to learn Hungarian. Before, I just want to learn only Finnish because both of them are from the same family and famous for their difficulty. But, since I went further in Turkish, I am interested to learn more agglutinative language.

I love to see how different languages work in different ways. That's why I'm learning languages!


Because is "The only language the Devil respects". Well, this in accordance with a book that I read. And also because of Paulo Rónai, a Hungarian writer, author of "Como Aprendi o Português e Outras Aventuras".


What a fascinating-sounding novel! I assume you're talking about Budapest, by Chico Barque? ( https://www.amazon.com/Budapest-Novel-Chico-Buarque/dp/0802142141 ) Have you read it? Is it good?


In fact, I watched the movie Budapeste and this sentence doesn't go out of my mind: "The only language the Devil respects." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5UHTvQ1AQE/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RziBW-H7amY But is better to read the book. Do you intend to read Budapest*?


Easy....my job! We have native Hungarian speakers at work who understand English but speak very little of it! Plus I just found out that my great-great-great grandfather was Hungarian!

[deactivated user]

    My boyfriend is Hungarian. I've always admired the language from afar, but never had a reason to learn it until now.


    I want to order somloi galuska in Hungarian. Maybe if I am really polite I might get a little more?

    - Truly, my story is that I love Hungarian desserts and would like to teach English there to earn a little more to buy more Hungarian desserts. I'd like to learn enough Hungarian to be polite and to get me by. It'd be nice to be able to make friends with Hungarian natives but I find the language incredibly difficult.


    I really didn't have any previous desire to learn Hungarian, but since it was available (finally!), I thought I'd check it out.

    It's obviously quite a bit different from the Indo-European languages I've learned in the past, but it is interesting, and the course seems well organized so far.

    I doubt I'll finish the tree any time soon (I'm working on finishing Russian, then perhaps I'll go back to Turkish), but it's very cool to at least get a taste of Hungarian, and I'll probably continue a bit further and keep repeating earlier lessons.


    I have been with my Hungarian boyfriend for nearly a year and would like to be able to talk to his family without relying on him as a translator!

    It's incredibly difficult but I'm so happy to be able to use Duoling alongside my tutor.

    In a week I have got so much further than I thought possible.

    I know that I am very lucky to have a native speaker at home and with patience to help me :)

    [deactivated user]

      Exactly the same situation here! :D good luck!


      Had you practised or learnt much before starting duolingo?

      [deactivated user]

        Yes, quite a bit! I went with him to Budapest to visit his family (same situation, he had to act translator) and learned a few bits and pieces; mostly completely random words (foods and place names) and simple stuff like igen, nem, köszönöm, how to ask for a beer etc. Oh, and his dad taught me "sörhas" :D

        What about yourself?


        His friends were great at teaching me rude things! I did learn some of the basics but hope that when we go back in a couple of weeks that I will hav learnt a bit more ha ha


        Not for any special reason, I just want to complete all the languages here. I also wanted to see how other languages in the Fenno-Ugric family are. I can see now that Hungarian separated from Finnish and Estonian, which I speak fluently, thousands of years ago. This far based on the sentence construction I feel like it's more similar to Turkish than Finnish.


        I am French, and I met an hungarian woman. It's the best reason for me We speak in English (i 'am improving my English too !) I am learning Hungarian language without telling her. I want to make her the surprise... Now, i really like this language... the music of the language, this game of "Lego"... I am very motivated and thank you very much for this course !!!!!!!!!!!


        I have a friend whose father is Hungarian (he was born here in the U.S. but his parents spoke it at home so it's his first language). He's almost 90 now but still very sharp and can still speak Hungarian. He always asks me to visit him - really sweet guy - and I thought if I were studying something he's an expert in, I could ask him some questions about it, and that might be a fun interaction for both of us. (I need a little more time with the course first though!)

        (This motivation is a pattern for me, but different language, different person:)


        I liked how the language looked.


        I fell in love with a Hungarian man. I've been to visit a few times, and perhaps one day will live there - and so I feel motivated to learn the language. Besides English, I only know some Esperanto. Languages are difficult for me, but Duolingo is really wonderful and fun. So, I have some hope that I can learn enough to get by!


        I'm Hungarian on my mother's side of the family. My grandparents were born in the U.S., but my great- grandparents emigrated from Hungary. I remember my grandparents occasionally speaking Hungarian when I was growing up, either with each other or with their siblings, so I thought it would be fun to learn.


        Two reasons: 1. I'm Romanian and I've been living for the past 10 years in a region with a lot of Hungarian ethnics. So I just want to understand a bit more about their culture. 2. Everyone says it's a very difficult language. I like tough challenges.


        I am trying not to do advertising here, so I won't even mention any names (it ends with an 'R'). Please feel free to remove this comment if even this is too much. Or let me know, and I will remove it myself. Just trying to help and share my experience. There is a course out there that might just give some of our American friends the initial boost they need (I don't think it is available outside the US, sorry). It is NOT free. It does cost money. But it is a very, very good introduction into the basic, everyday communication that anyone would need in the first few days and weeks in any country. They have courses in many languages, including Hungarian. They all follow the same basic method. You can even check out the first lesson for free and see if it works for you. What's best about it is that it is listen-and-repeat only, no books, no text involved. Only listen and talk. I bought several of their courses and find them very useful. For example, it gave me the initial basic understanding (and a very good pronunciation!) of Turkish and Spanish, two languages I currently study. And now I am just flying through those languages here in Duolingo. Yes, rest assured, you will still have a whole lot left to learn here in Duolingo. What I am talking about is just a good complement. A starter. That's all I wanted to say about this. I hope I didn't cross any lines. Let me know.

        Other than that, I just want to note, especially for learners of Turkish and Spanish, that I keep finding interesting logical similarities between those languages and Hungarian. Especially when compared to English. Little things, like the use of the definite and indefinite articles. It takes some effort to explain the concept to an English speaker. But if you speak Spanish, I can say it is very similar to the Spanish usage, as far as my current understanding goes. And, of course, there are many similarities with Turkish. Whether they are related or not. :) And there are also interesting similarities between English and Turkish. Like their various tenses. I was really surprised to see that. I guess we are all connected at some level. Anyway, I believe that learning other languages is a really exciting journey into the inner workings of the human mind. I just can't have enough of it. Forget computer games. This is the real fun!


        My boyfriend's Hungarian. I wanted to learn the language to be considerate and mostly to ease communication between us two. Mind you he speaks perfectly fluent English, but I suppose it'd be convenient to hold conversations in his native language too. Plus, he loves to write stories! He has a few of them lying around that he wrote in Hungarian, and I might be able to read and understand them some day.

        Other than that, it's a really cool language, being one of the few non-Indo-European languages spoken in Europe! My linguist heart flutters at the prospect of learning such a language!


        My dad is native hungarian but he never spoke to me in Hungarian as my mum is english so that became my first language. They then got divorced and I never see him but I still wish he had spoken to me in Hungarian. Now I am 15 I do not think that that I could pick it up so easily. I have started trying to learn it on Duolingo and it is unlike every language I have come across apart from Romanian, and very difficult to learn!


        I'm a quarter Hungarian (from my paternal granfather's branch of the family) so that was part of it. Another part was that I found Italic/Romance languages didn't present much challenge after I took Latin in school. I wanted something a bit different from what I was used to (the aforementioned Italic languages and Germanic languages.)


        There are some Hungarian musicals (or German or French musicals which have been translated into Hungarian) on Youtube and I want to understand what they're talking/singing about without needing English subtitles!


        Hi Hanga, I love the language, my husband parents are from there. I speak and understand just a few words. I learn it just for fun. I want to improve my English skills too. I hope it is possible in that way. What do you think? With regards, Veronika


        My partner just said the place she'd really like to visit next is Budapest, because of its beauty and its music, so I looked on Duolingo, and what timing! But it looks harder than the other languages I've studied.


        I've lived in Budapest for a few months in 2008 and I fell in love with the city, country and language during that time. I've been planning to learn to speak more hungarian ever since. I still have a couple of hungarian friends, so I hope I can practice my newly required skills with them.


        My grandmother was an immigrant to this nation. She could not speak English until she started school. My great grandparents never learned how to speak English and they lived in the Hungarian settlement in Detroit. My grandmother refused to teach her native language to my father and aunt believing that one must learn to speak English only in order to be a "good" US citizen. She died when I was 4 years old and I've always wanted to connect with my Hungarian relatives and culture. It is such a shame she didn't pass on the language! To be bilingual is an absolute gift. When I saw the opportunity to learn, I couldn't pass it up!


        I met an amazing Hungarian gal and she became very important to me, I care a lot, and since I love talking with her I figured I should do it in her language too! Plus I think it's a cool language to know because it's so different from my native one, and a interesting country to explore (I really miss túró rudi haha...)


        My dad used to get me turo rudi, I loved them so much but cannot find them anywhere in the UK!


        I had 'Labirintus' by Janicsak Veca on my iPod for about 4 years before I even looked up the lyrics (I have a tendency to listen to songs in languages I'm not learning XD). After looking at the lyrics and being able to read them along with the song, it became more interesting to me. It wasn't just a fun-sounding song with a bunch of what sounded like gibberish. It became a real song with real words (and real diacritics oh my goodness). As far as I know, I've no Hungarian heritage. I guess I just wanted to try something new! I'm a sucker for lesser-known languages (unlike Spanish and French, for example) so it's awesome that Hungarian's as unique as it is! It's also extremely different from English (which I suppose is to be expected considering it's not an Indo-European language) which makes it challenging... but it's a fun challenge!


        I am Polish. I just want to know the language of our Friends.


        Will be in Budapest for a few days so thought I'd take a look at the language, especially since the language appears structured the way Yoda spoke in the Star Wars movie.


        I am Polish, so Hungarians are our natural friends. No better motivation was needed :)


        My boyfriend is Hungarian and although he speaks perfect English, I would love to be able to communicate with his mother and his extended family on my own in Hungarian.


        I would like to be really fluent in my native language as an adult. I want to write correctly in Hungarian. My syntax is automatic but I need to build my vocabulary. I was born in Budapest but by the time I was eight, living in Canada, English was my strongest language. I went to kindergarten in Salzburg and so German became my second language and I also learned enough French to teach German and French in a high school after college. However, now those languages are rusty and need refreshing with Duolingo.

        Now I am planning to travel in Europe for an extended period and will rent an apartment in Budapest as my home base. I have a cousin and her family there and would like to be better acquainted with her and her whole family. I have visited in the past but only for short vacations.


        Well my grandpa can speak Hungarian. I thought it would be nice to have that connection


        My grandparents-in-law only speak czech, slovak and hungarian but they were born in Hungary. I decided to learn Hungarian so I can talk with them. I am native Spanish speaker.


        I studied Hungarian 65 years ago at the Army Language School, Presidio of Monterey, CA and have tried to maintain proficiency over the years. I presently live in Fairfax, VA. I would love to speak with a Hungarian. (I am NOT Hungarian but have tried to maintain my language proficiency over the years with some success. My cell phone number is 703-978-8636


        I am learning mostly for research, as I study the music of Gyorgy Ligeti. Also, my maternal great-grandfather is Hungarian and that was my grandpa's first language.

        Learn Hungarian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.