https://www.duolingo.com/Debbie749091

I am having a lot of trouble with Hungarian

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ב"ה

I am working on several languages -- French I took in HS, Spanish in college and Italian in Adult Education. I took one semester of Russian ... (didn't do well -- declension is one of my issues) and Hebrew I speak pretty well, just boning up.

I am also doing pretty well teaching myself Esperanto (a lot of words are familiar).

Hungarian, though, which I've wanted to learn all my life (my family came from Hungary and our neighbors, when I was young, were Hungarian). But I'm having a major issue. First of all, I'm redoing the first lesson or two every day -- I can't seem to get any further. My major issues seem to be: 1) I don't know what specific words mean 2) there are often several ways to say things 3) Grammar is difficult and there is no explanation 4) a lot of the "write what you hear" Hungarian sounds a LOT different from the way it's written (I don't know if that is the right pronunciation or if there are audio issues) 5) I don't always know when to use "nem" and when to use "nincs" for example. 6) often word order is very strict

That's the major issues. Is there something that can be done to make moving ahead easier (or more regular)?

11 months ago

35 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/danhleighton

Hi Debbie, I feel your pain! The course is hard, but I find it is very rewarding as a consequence :-)

I use the app to do most of the practice as it is a little easier to make regular progress. I have my PC open to check sentence discussions and to use hungarianreference.com

On the app, you can turn off the listening exercises which are largely accurate, and incredibly useful, but can be very hard.

I found, as a non-native speaker, that it was critically important for me to get my head around the sound differences. Hungarian native speakers do tend to claim that there are very few sound elisions... but this isn't really true... However, in comparison to English, it is incredibly regular! Just different.... There are excellent youtube resources out there. This teacher is particularly helpful and clear, I found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrjvAu7U9Qk

Duolingo is very keen for it's courses not to have much Grammar in them... I disagree with their opinion on this... but I am sure it will change over time.

May I encourage you to keep going? It is hard, but it is doable for non-native speakers. There are lots of very helpful people on the discussion boards, people like peter.kristof.hu and jzuzsi are both very helpful in particular, you can see their comments here. They are very active in assisting people and I have been very grateful for their insights on comments many times!

Keep going :-D

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sepulka13

Hi Debby, I totally understand you. I have got a couple books which I use to study Hungarian. On duolingo I keep redoing lessons every day. Moving ahead is difficult, so I finish maybe two lessons a week. But when I get to study using books it is pure joy! It is so much easier than Duo! So, I do recommend using other resources to study. Nevertheless, I really feel that Duo helps me a LOT with listening, and with speaking as well because I tend to repeat all the sentences.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jzsuzsi
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Yes, the Hungarian course is hard.

1) I don't know what specific words mean

There is no words section in Hungarian. But you can use the hovering option, or look them up in an online dictionary. Or ask int the forum. A good dictionary: http://szotar.sztaki.hu/

2) there are often several ways to say things

At start, maybe learn one of the correct options.

3) Grammar is difficult and there is no explanation

http://www.hungarianreference.com

4) a lot of the "write what you hear" Hungarian sounds a LOT different from the way it's written (I don't know if that is the right pronunciation or if there are audio issues)

The audio is a live recording, so it is correct.

5) I don't always know when to use "nem" and when to use "nincs" for example.

nem=no

nincs = there isn't

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rimplot
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6) often word order is very strict

The word order in Hungarian is one of the least strict ones I have ever encountered, there is usually just a slight change in the meaning, the emphasis shifts only from one word to the other. However, a lot of the correct translations and word orders aren't accepted by Duo, even though they could be and they are actually used...

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Sometimes the hovering hints are wrong and if you use them you get the answer wrong.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/danhleighton

There is hard work going on behind the scenes to fix the hint problems right now ... :-)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/peter.kristof.hu
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Gee! I just see you are a Hungarian distributor (in incognito :) https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/hu/en/status).
I thought all the distributors had disappeared :( Welcome!

As I've written in another comment I do not object to the mistakes I think it's a minor challenge, but the fact that the structure of a language should NOT be taught with such complicated periods.

I've learned several languages with more or less success and my obsession is 10% grammar and 90% others. The grammatical structures should be taught by means of (simple) patterns.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/danhleighton

I am working hard on helping fix the English translations only. Just making sure that all the possible variations are covered. While ensuring that translation is still accurate. Being very systematic and dealing with the highest error reports across all branches first.

The other contributors are also working hard!

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/peter.kristof.hu
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Thank you.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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Best of luck in bringing the beta phase to a prompt conclusion! (At which point people will begin complaining that there's no way the course is ready to be out of beta...)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/danhleighton

But of course! ;-)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elfi311
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Hungarian is a pure phonetic language. Once you know how to pronounc the 44 Hungarian letters you can read any text correctly. Look for example under https://www.hungarianpod101.com/hungarian-alphabet to get information about Hungarian letters and how to pronounc them..

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael.Lubetsky
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בס״ד שלום וברכה!

WIth respect for the course designers, I am sorry to say that the Duolingo Magyar course has many problems that make it, in my view, unsuitable for beginners. It covers too much too fast, such that even when “reviewing” the early lessons, you often get unknown vocab and unduly complex sentences. I started the course but gave up before the first checkpost when it became clear that I would need other resources to make any progress.

This said, I did come back to the course because I love the look and sound of Magyar, but have been supplementing my study extensively with Tinycards. Frankly, the Tinycards for the Magyar course also have problems (misspellings and confusing duplications), but they have helped a lot. Its funny that even though I’m around Level 7, I am still basically at the first checkpoint. I have been reviewing a lot.

In fairness, the Hebrew course on Duolingo has similar problems, as I understand do many of the “crowdsourced” languages.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Michael, is the Hungarian actually crowdsourced or are there just a few teachers that didn't confer with each other? I am actually in favor of a wiki type construction that can be corrected, and recorrected as necessary. That is, after all, how all dictionaries and encyclopedias were originally organized and written before the digital age. I recommend a book called "The Professor and the Madman."

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael.Lubetsky
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I say “crowdsourced” to refer to courses designed by volunteers who manifest themselves to Duolingo, rather than by actual Duolingo staff or hired professional educators. I have no idea about the actual dynamics betwen the creators of the Magyar course.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

If it went one step further and let self-designated, educated native speakers of pairs of languages make corrections, which could then be re-corrected as necessary by other educated native speakers, just as Wikipedia works, it could make this whole project a lot better.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rimplot
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Yes, I would welcome that feature! That would definitely speed up things a little bit, as that would help the course creators' work too – they would be able to see more clearly where the biggest issues are.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I am making a list of corrections organized by lesson. I will post it when it's done and hope everyone who can will correct my errors as they find them and also offer synonyms and alternate expressions in both languages. Some lessons are quite well written, especially near the end - they may have wanted to get it over with (!) and not much correction is needed, but the middle - grrrr.

I have really learned a lot and improved so much that I can dictate in Hungarian and there don't seem to be any errors!

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Debbie749091
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ב"ה

כן יש לעברית בעיות כאלה גם כן (Yes, there are similar problems with the Hebrew)

My biggest problem with the Hebrew is that they don't accept מדוע as why (only למה) and אנשים as men (only גברים) -- I really don't like גברים particularly because of the connotation of the female version (גברת) -- I never had it addressed to me in a nice way, only in a nasty way...

I wanted to see if I could find my level in Hebrew -- after 3 or 4 weeks of working on it pretty much daily, I still haven't -- But, then again, I haven't gotten to my level in French and Spanish yet either..... I am learning some new stuff. Hungarian, though, I restart every day and I will continue to restart until I get them all a few days in a row.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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Hungarian, like many trees I think, starts by throwing a bunch of admittedly useful but also difficult (b/c you have absolutely no clue about the language yet) phrases and sentences at you.

I wouldn't get to bogged down in the very first skill. Move on to where the sentences at least have a little more connection to each other.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

You are generally locked out if subsequent lessons unless you finish the one you are doing, even with errors.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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Debbie said she's been restarting the tree every day. I assume that means she has at least a few other skills unlocked. I am saying her time might be better spent on those.

I don't view blind memorization of a bunch of disconnected phrases (e.g. the first skill of the Hungarian from English tree) as a terribly effective language learning method.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Languages aren't hard. Infants and babies learn to speak all of them. But you have to have good models and someone that speaks to you so your ear can attune to the sounds and your mouth, tongue, teeth and lips can form the words. That is the same in every language.

So, it's true. The Hungarian course is not well designed and is full of errors. If you really want to make a stab it start with YouTube and learn the alphabet sounds. Then go to another video that has beginning words and phrases. But a Hungarian dictionary. Google translate has many errors too, like DUO probably because it uses computer translation.

Go online and listen to free Hungarian radio. http://www.listenlive.eu/hungary.html. I like the Budapest ones because the accent is what I'm used to.. There around 80 stations and all kinds of music (even American) but you will avoid that, right? LOL. If you listen to news you will get used to the musicality of the language even if you don't understand a word.

Then once you have an intro come back and start again. The female DUO speaker is really quite good with few oddball pronunciations and she doesn't speak very fast. Unfortunately there is no slow version. In most languages there is automatic liason between the end of one word and the beginning of the next depending on the vowels between them, so you have to build context comprehension as you go in every language. (Yes, I was a language teacher for a few years)

I was a Hungarian refugee and immigrant and had to learn 3 languages in the schoolyard. It took about 3 months to make sense of anything but eventually I became totally fluent in German, and English and almost fluent in French. Vocabulary building is the major chore. You can do it. It's easier if you MUST speak the new language.

Don't give up if you want to do this.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Debbie749091
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ב"ה

I've heard Hungarian most of my life, so I'm used to the music and accent of the language, it's the words, structure, grammar (I think there is declension -- it's declension that made me drop Russian after one semester) spelling, etc. that I need to learn.

I have wanted to learn Hungarian since I was a child. I tried to get my grandfather to teach it to me (he's the one who taught me a few numbers and that virag was flowers) but, even when I lived with him, it didn't happen (I always knew when he was talking to the synagogue's sextant because he was pretty much the only person, except our neighbors, who he spoke Hungarian with)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IrekJakobi1
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Always read discussions under each exercise. Comments from Hungarian native speakers are very helpful and really explain a lot.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/peter.kristof.hu
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3) Yes, Hungarian grammar is difficult. Maybe the best source in English: http://www.hungarianreference.com/

4) Hungarian is phonetic. The only exception is the "Pronunciation Assimilation" (részleges hasonulás), e.g. adtam [ɒtːɒm] = I gave; népdal [neːbdɒl] = folk song.
(https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Hungarian_pronunciation_assimilation)
It is not true entirely in the vulgar tongue, e.g. óvoda = kindergarten, the correct pronunciation is: [ɔːvodɒ] but many people say short "o". I think it's a minor problem. You can listen nice Hungarian speaking on the Hungarian TV on the news: https://www.mediaklikk.hu -> Élő (live) -> M1.

5) nincs = "nem van", nincsenek = "nem vannak" (But these are grammatically incorrect!)

6) Perhaps it's a technical problem with Duolingo. There are some restrictions in Hungarian, e.g. the adjective precedes the noun, etc., but syntactically is flexible. Here is an example:

Tomorrow I'll go to the cinema. =
Holnap moziba megyek. (What will I do tomorrow?)
Holnap megyek moziba. (Not the day after tomorrow!)
Moziba megyek holnap. (Not to the theater.)
Moziba holnap megyek. (Yes, tomorrow.)
Megyek holnap moziba. (Yes, I will, tomorrow.)
Megyek moziba holnap. (Yes, I will, to the cinema.)

Above all sentences are correct.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AzzyDassler

As to the 3rrd point about grammar explanations: you probably study via Duolingo app. I started with it, too, so when I switched to the browser version, I was incredibly surprised that there are explanations (altho, not in all lessons)! Maybe you'd like to give it a go. Although I'd still recommend using some other, more extensive source.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Debbie749091
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ב"ה

Actually, I do duolingo just as often on the computer as on the phone (I didn't even have a smart phone until about 3 or 4 weeks ago -- I started duolingo on the computer first....I have noticed "stuff" under the lessons, but I can't always understand it.... I do several other languages on duolingo -- but Hungarian is by far the hardest (French, Spanish and Italian I had learned to some degree previously, I had a semester of Russian, though it didn't sink in terribly much, I'm working on Esperanto, which isn't supposed to be tough since it's an artificial language and Hebrew I speak relatively fluently, though sometimes in a "less than modern" way)

I've always wanted to learn Hungarian but this is the first opportunity I've had. It is proving to be daunting.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Just watch out for errors. I am working on a list

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

In the French course there are explanations and on each lesson but they suggest that you try doing it without looking at them at least one time before reading the instructions. Not sure if this really works but, I think they have more pictures associated with vocabulary in the beginning lessons which does help.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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Yes, it's difficult, but the Hungarian course is perfectly feasible. Just plan on getting 400+ XP per skill before moving on.

Do the lessons a couple times. Then untimed practice. Read the sentence discussions. Ease your way into timed practice. Then just practice until it gets easy (skip the uber-long sentences in timed practice if you feel like it). When it gets easy, move on.

Hungarian does use some unfamiliar letter combinations even for very familiar sounds. And there are some less-familiar sounds, too.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Debbie749091
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ב"ה

I don't do it timed -- I'd never be able to do it that way. My knowledge of Hungarian before this (and it hasn't gotten much better) was Igan and Nem, counting to 29, Virag is flowers and "Aggie nem a kajatza lei" (I have NO idea how to spell it) meaning Aggies doesn't want to come out and play (our neighbor would call to her older daughter, who would be playing with my sister in our yard, that her younger sister didn't want to come out) I've done the first lesson an average of twice a day for about 4 or so weeks. In betwee, I'm also working on Hebrew, French, Spanish, Italian, Esperanto (which I didn't know at all) and Russian. I'm waiting for Hindi and Yiddish to be available.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jzsuzsi
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I am trying to decode your "Aggie nem a kajatza lei" sentence. Maybe "Ági nem akar játszani". This means "Ági does not want to play".

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Debbie749091
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ב"ה

Thanks --

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SusanRankin1
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I HEAR YOU! We are in Budapest and I am trying to learn a few phrases to be polite and I am failing MISERABLY.. French, Spanish, Italian, German and Hebrew were SO EASY in comparison!!!

10 months ago
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