I agree with Andres305 that it's recorded well and the difference is clear here, and it just takes practice if you're not used to it. I doubt you'll find better audio anywhere.
You might want to check out the pronunciation exercises in the beginning of the FSI Hungarian course.
They are at the beginning of "Unit 1 Tape 2" here: https://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/hungarian.html
And the corresponding text in the book begins on page 8. There's a whole series of a words followed by a whole series of o words, and then there's a set of words that are identical except for an a/o difference.
Yeah, thanks. I didn't mean to imply there was anything wrong with the recording of this particular sentence. I know it's all me. I have had no such problems distinguishing vowels in German (long and short a ä e i o ö u ü although short "ä" and "e" are identical, plus three diphthongs, and actually, many more if you include the vocalised pronunciation of "r") or Finnish (long and short pairs of a ä e i o ö u y (y = "ü") as well as a tonne of diphthongs). Hungarian has a slightly odd distribution of vowels. There's no short, low, unrounded vowel, which I think makes it sound really cool, but I'm struggling with it for now.
Well, "a á" and "e é" are the only two pairs that actually differ, NOT only in length but also in the way they are produced. You have to realign your mouth to produce them. All other pairs differ only in length.
Or maybe I misunderstood and you are talking about the Slovak "a á". In that case, sorry. :) What I wrote is about the Hungarian vowels.
For the Hungarian "a", I like to say that you need to align your mouth to form an "o", then drop your chin, open vertically only. For "á", you have to also open your mouth sideways, with your cheek muscles. The same difference goes between "e" and "é".
Hm, are you sure? I thought Slovak Hungarian was mostly palóc dialect, in which a and á differ but a is the more open one and á is the more closed one, as if á was a long a and a was a short á by standard phonemic value. :)
In Czech and Slovak, though, é is really just an elongated e and a is really a short á.
With ö = ő, and ü = ű there is only the length of the vowel different, like with most of the other vowels.
Only a = á and e = é are different in the quality of the sound as well as in the lenght of it
@Sayree3: You have to take care of the length of the vowels. They are of great importance:
öt = őt (five = him/her)
agy = ágy (brain = bed)
széken = székén (on the chair = on his chair)
sertés = sértés (pig = defamation)
And the most popular one:
Egészségedre = egész segedre
While the one of the left side means "all to your health" (or "Cheers!"), is the one on the right side something insulting: all onto your ass.
I hope, I wont get deleted ;-)
I keep wanting to make the same distinctions German does for "ö" and "ü" (especially "ö"), which is not just length :) (i.e. saying something like [œt] vs. [ø:t]).
Do you know whether it's [œt, œ:t] or [øt, ø:t]? Is it like French "neuf" or French "deux" / German "können" or German "Söhne"?