Is Hungarian hard?

Hello, I have been wanting to learn Hungarian for some time now, and I have been wondering, is it really as hard as it's said to be? What are your experiences on it,

I understand that it is totally isolated from other European languages, as the grammar is all weird and different words for the same thing, Compact structure, Has it really got all this? And is it really that hard?Thanks

Edit: thanks to all that have replied, I am going to give Hungarian a chance and see how it works out. :)

July 14, 2017


Why Hungarian is hard:

  • Many, many vowels and consonant sounds, about a dozen of which aren't common or spelled the same in English

  • Very compact words due to agglutination and cases

  • Many long words that can translate into entire sentences, so you need to know all the little grammar parts and their function (which takes practice!)

Why Hungarian is easy:

  • The same sentence can be translated multiple ways, which sounds crazy but it's actually convenient.

  • If you learn all the cases, it's actually easier to understand sentences, and you don't need extra little words like in other languages.

  • Hungarian has no grammatical gender, has one word for first person singular and can drop pronouns since the verb reveals the person being spoken about.

July 14, 2017

I don't know why you want other people's opinions. We are all different. I find Spanish quite difficult, but most think it is one of the easiest languages to learn.

What I'm trying to imply is that other people's opinions don't matter when it comes to subjective things, such as what languages are "easy" and which are "difficult". You may find Hungarian easy to pick up, but there are others who find it really tricky. Don't let the grammar fool you. I have been afraid of Polish (and other Slavic languages) because of its reputation of being extremely difficult, but I decided to face my fears and I began to learn it on Duolingo. Much to my surprise, it wasn't as impossible as I thought it was going to be. Yes, it was very complicated at the beginning (anything is complicated when it is new to you), but now Polish grammar is starting to become second nature to me. The pronunciation of some words still aren't easy, but, with practice, even that will become second nature. Now, I am extremely glad that I decided to learn Polish because it is now my all-time favourite language.

Just give Hungarian a go. If you still find it difficult after two weeks or so, maybe drop it. You aren't going to lose anything if you try.

July 14, 2017

Hello Lewis,

well, the vowels and consonants may be different to the english language in their pronounciation, but the Hungarian pronounciation is much more regular than English.

The Hungarian Grammar is the biggest problem for the English speaking people, because it gives you the fealing of putting everything upisde down you are used to do in English, for instance in the word sequence of a sentence as well as in the sequence of a word group.

It is very interesting to learn it, because you get the feeling, how a language can be built up beside those strong rules in English as "Subject + Predicate + Object". So you have always a a lot of possibilities, how you can say something.


Exactly the last point it the biggest problem of that Duolingo course. When the contributers went public with that course one year ago, they had only implemented 1:1 translations with a lot of faulty english sentences. The last point might be solved now, but there are still soooo much sentences, they accept only one correct translation, though there are much more possible.

So the course is still far away from something you can call "userfriendly and motivating".

Try the best :-)

July 15, 2017

I agree this is a big problem. Especially on the higher levels there are many cases where a correct English sentence gets rejected as wrong, so you basically have to type bad English to keep Duoling happy. In many cases the only way to make progress is to memorise the bad English sentence that Duolingo wants.

July 19, 2017

I have been learning Hungarian for a few months and that's what I realised:

  • I had much problem at first, to get a contact with this languages

  • Of course vocabulary is totally diffrent. However for it was not so hard because some words are taken from Slavic languages (I'm from Poland), such as: csoda (miracle) or péntek (Friday).

  • For me the most difficult thing it the word order, ex. sentence "The hotel is between the post office and the shop" in Hungarian sounds like: "The hotel the post office and the shop between is". It's quite strange.

July 17, 2017

Ok, the word order is not really difficult: you have to put in front of the verb, what should be focussed in the sentence. But Duolingo makes it difficult because it (often) accepts only one version though different are possible, and without any context you don't know, what the focus should be put on.

The version you meant...

"A szálloda a posta és az üzlet között van."

... gives a focus on the place, where the hotel is - which is the most important fact of the sentence. Where is it? Between the post office and the shop. That's why the verb stands after that part of the sentence, which desribes the place.

Same focus just with a different word order:

"A posta és az üzlet között van a szálloda."

If you say...

"A szálloda van a posta és az üzlet között." is also correct, but here is the hotel in the focus of the sentence: It is the hotel - which is between the other institutions - and for instance not the tramway station or anything else.

Because of the fact of putting a verb at the end of a sentence some people think, Hungarian must be a relative of Yoda Speak ;-)

July 17, 2017

Thanks a lot for this explanation :) This is what I needed ;) But because verbs often are in the end of sentences Hungarian seems to be Yoda speak ;)

July 18, 2017

I actually started Hungarian because I was told its one of the more difficult European languages, and as I am afraid my brain is rusting, I wanted the challenge. To be honest, I am also taking a course in parallel at night school. So my teacher is explaining a lot of the grammar, which of course gives me a headstart versus those who need to figure it out by themselves using Duolinguo's often incomplete explanations. I don't actually find Hungarian difficult gramatically. I was expecting it to be far worse. The reason i often get stuff wrong is because I'm too lazy to learn the vocab. When speaking to Hungarians or listening to te radio its often my lack of vocab that prevents me understanding more. I don't find the language difficult to listen to and can quite easily pick out words and endings. I need to work on my own pronounciation though as often Hungarians misunderstand me.

July 19, 2017

It is often said to be quite difficult (one of the most difficult languages out there, actually), but there are lots of synonyms for most words, so you can express yourself however you want to. Hungarian doesn't have a grammatical gender, which is an advantage. Pronouncation is often a hard thing to get right, and the grammar often doesn't make sense, but once you get a hang of it, it'll be quite easy. Give it a try, I hope it goes well :)

July 23, 2017
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