https://www.duolingo.com/ManjaM87

Motivation and Frustration

Hi, I started with Duolingo 18 days ago and have been doing lessons daily since then. Before that i have been using different websites, apps and videos to gain some basic knowledge for a while now.

Just completed the 20 skills of a course achievement. I have the first couple ones at lvl 3 and some on lvl 2, right now i'm at the Superessive Case, Inessive Case and Adessive Case skills.

I notice improvement in understanding words, word order and some of the rules (more in the written form than in the spoken) step by step, but at the same time i'm getting more and more frustrated. I really do love and enjoy magyar, I love learning and playing around with the language, and learning it was a personal choice, not a forced one.

It's not hard to keep myself motivated to make time and learn daily. Some days more than others depending on my schedule. But i'm at a point now where every time i think i'm getting the hang of it and moving forward, i come across something new that makes me feel like i just made 3 steps back. Just like yesterday I came across the Choices 1 skill and thought - that's insane, i'll never be able to learn that.

I know learning a new language from scratch takes a lot of time and practice. Learning english has taken me like 3 or 4 years, at least the writing, reading and understanding part... being able to speak in english only came with meeting my (ex)husband who was from the US. I'm still learning new things even after more than 15 years.

Grammar has always been a nightmare, even in my own language, it's all just memorized but i could not - for the life of me - explain rules behind most things. At the moment i feel like the grammar aspect of this language is what's going to break my motivation and make me wanna cry in the corner (joking, i'm not that dramatic :D ).
As i said, the personal motivation is not a problem, i really do want to learn and understand, but making myself believe that i'll be able to at some point moves more and more out of reach.

Did anyone else feel like that along the way and how did you deal with that? Is there a - Hungarian Grammar For Big Dummies - Book? Really feel like i need one :) :) :)

Hope you all have a great time and fun with learning Greetings from Germany

3 months ago

29 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

18 days is just a start. I've been learning Hungarian for several years in the real world (4 week immersion courses in Debrecen 4.5 hours minimum of language classes Monday-Friday with optional language classes and culture classes evenings and weekends) and I don't get all the DL exercises right!

Best grammar book I've come across is "A Practical Hungarian Grammar" Szita and Görbe. You get a page of theory, a page of exercises, and answers at the back.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hubinou
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Hello Judit,

Could you tell me more about the immersion courses in Debrecen ?

I read all the documentation and it seems to be very interesting but I never met somebody who actually did it.

I would like to register for 3 weeks next summer (2019) but I am a bit afraid about the previous knowledge of Hungarian needed... and the profile of the participants.

I have been studying Hungarian for about two years now, with DL and other resources, and I often go to Budapest but I am not young anymore (60+) and wouldn't like to be the "old daddy" in a group of 18-something.

(it would be a nice idea to share your experience in a new post)

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Done - https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29525868 This should be a start - feel free to ask questions.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hubinou
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Köszönöm szépen !

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ManjaM87

Thank you Judit I will look up the book on the weekend. 18 days is just what i'm on Duo now, i did study some of the basics before.

It's not that i don't have the patience or expect to be fluent within a couple months.

My problem is more, that with a lot of the things (grammar specifically), i feel like i simply can't get it into my head and memorize it. Every time i go through parts with specific grammar lessons, it's gone from my brain right after. Nothing new for me but with english it's very easy to learn without really learning the grammar behind it, some find german grammar tough - it's my mother tongue, so it's not really comparable for me.

I came across the thought of language classes but financially and time wise not possible at this point of my life.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

That is why I like that book. After you have done 20-30 examples the grammar starts to stick.

Time is hard. I haven't managed to really get into the language until I retired (but it is easier when you are younger). But as far as money is concerned I know the immersion course I go to most of the younger students have scholarships - either for just tuition or both tuition and accommodation.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ManjaM87

I'm turning 31 next month, i think i'm too old for scholarships :) and "private" language teachers do take a good €/hour.

While i do know that making mistakes is absolutely normal, even as a native speaker of a language, it can get very frustrating when you go over something again and again and again, and you just simply can't seem to get it into your head.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SusanRankin1
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I hear you. The only time I can push through the difficulty of the grammar is when I know I will be going to actually have to speak the language!

It may surprise you to know that as an English first language speaker, German grammar is very difficult! I get very frustrated with the number of mistakes I make in my daily lesson However Hungarian is SO difficult that when I actually manage to write a sentence correctly in Hungarian I get a huge sense of victory. LOL isn't that funnY?

Anyhow, grammars are difficult, but they are also the most interesting part of the language and a key to the culture of the people who speak that language.

I feel like grammar is like blinders.. We see the world complete as defined by the grammar of our native language and grasping another grammar is the most mind opening experience a human being can have! Fantastic.

Don't get mad at yourself or give up.. Just plod on!

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SusanRankin1
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P.S. I was in Hungary last March and the young folks I spoke to proudly stated that Hungarian is the third most difficult language to learn! So there's THAT too!!! LOL

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ManjaM87

I have been to Hungary just now in October and plan on another trip around April.

I hear ya with the sense of victory lol, every time i listen to the radio and catch a word i actually know, i'm kinda excited and happy :)

Yes i hear it a lot, that german grammar is difficult. For me as a native speaker, i can't really compare the difficulty. I have never really learned our grammar either, it just gets stuck in your head at some point. And so did the english grammar, wich i find to be a pretty easy one.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vvsey
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Hungarian grammar is difficult. So is German grammar. But the big trouble is, they are completely different. If you learn German, English, Spanish, Italian, and some of those languages, you will find similarities in the logic, and you may get comfortable thinking that all languages work on the same basic logic. Then you run into Hungarian. And your troubles start.

I don't know if you can manage to do that, but maybe you could try finding a way that does not concentrate on grammar as much. You can try memorizing song lyrics, simple poems, children's songs, without necessarily understanding everything, just to get your brain used to the structure of the language.
Also, you can try finding a course that focuses on speach, not grammar. There is a pimsleur course out there, but it does cost money... . Also, there are some books available now in Hungary, teaching Hungarian to foreigners, written completely in Hungarian, so they should fit any native language. Supposedly they are relatively painless, you can give them a try.

Also, I keep recommending the Turkish course here on Duolingo. Of course, it is a totally different language, but it works on a logic much closer to Hungarian. Besides, the language is very well structured, has much much less exceptions and special cases, and the course here in Duolingo is far more digestable. So, if you have the energy, give it a try, and it will ease you into this very different mindset. You can use Turkish as a "gateway" language to Hungarian, and you will have learned one more languge as a "side effect".

Finally, rest assured that this Hungarian course is indeed brutally tough (it did not have to be but it is), even native Hungarians have a tough time completing it. So, don't beat yourself up if it seems almost impossible sometimes. The problem is not in you.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ManjaM87

Music is pretty much the way i taught myself english back in the days. It also made me fall in love with the hungarian language in the first place.

It just feels like learning and understanding is a big part for learning Magyar (as probably for many other languages)

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WitlessBittern
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As someone who has sampled most of the Duo courses, I can attest to the fact that the Hungarian course here is brutal. It throws you into complex sentences right out of the gate in a way that I haven't seen from any of the others. The only course that has given me a comparable amount of trouble is Korean, and that was just due to the foreignness of the alphabet/sounds. Hang in there!

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KrisKok
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I agree, the Hungarian course throws you in the deep (for example the use of "nincs" early on). Plus Magyar is among of the more difficult languages in the world to learn. You are in for a treat. But keep going and keep motivated. A hungarian friend of mine is already impressed with the knowledge i have and im not at 25% yet.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ManjaM87

I knew it's a tough language before i started learning. It took me a long time to get to it because i was way too afraid of completely failing. I find myself being thrown from lessons where i think - i can get behind that logic and maybe memorize it over time - to the next lesson right after, that makes me wanna curl up in my blanket. I'm going through the tips&notes section on the duome page, have printed out a 53 page long file of hungarian grammar, it's a lot... If it gives me a hungarian sentence, i can 95% of the time make a logical translation, but as soon as it gives me an english sentence, it's over and it feels like i just forgot everything i've learned before.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarcoC2018
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Firstly, DL Hungarian course is more a quiz job than a good language teaching course. You reach a point were you won't get any better or gain some additional understanding if you learn how to translate that the kindergarten teacher flies on top of the tree from where these blue birds fly away from under those bridges or other similar nonsense. This is just plain silly.

I interleave DL with other resources on the net (reading, listening, etc) and this is very useful, also to avoid getting bored with DL.

The most important part, to me, is: do not pretend to be perfect, this is misleading. Grammar mistakes are ok, thinking DL is unnecessary hard is ok, stop getting fun is not ok and at the end is the only thing that could stop you along the (very long way) of learning a language.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ManjaM87

Nobody is a 100 percent perfect, you make mistakes even in a language you speak every single day. But feeling like not being able to understand, no matter how many times you go over something can get quite frustrating.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/guntunge
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I think German is at least somewhat closer to Hungarian than most of the rest of Europe, especially Western Europe. So that helps a bit and makes it easier than starting from English. Slavic languages and Turkish certainly had also some impact on Hungarian, the latter with its agglutinating character probably similar in some ways too, but the influence through the neighborhood with Austria (I am not sure if mainly the monarchy times or all the centuries) did certainly leave more traces than the more recent Russian occupation.
So some sentences are much easier to understand if you ignore the crude English used in the course so extensively and think what it (probably) means in German.

I don't believe that just because you might feel that you forget something that you really forgot it fully. The brain needs some time to really get used to some concepts, to new vocabulary. But every repetition brings you closer to a real understanding. And once you get over a certain level, things should stick. When you can stop learning and just use the language. I guess as a grown up voluntarily starting a language you might have the wish to get fast results, but like in English, it takes years. Few people after Abitur/Matura really speak English well, and need some years afterwards to get to better fluency. I had also hoped to learn Hungarian faster, but I make progress and lessons that seemed impossible at first are not that difficult now and I will steadily finish the entirety after even the infamous Dir Con lessons were actually surprisingly manageable up to Level 5 just a few days ago.

Aside that I still understand almost nothing from newspapers and still have dozens of hours in front of me to get to a decent level of understanding and most of the time I have no idea to express something because for every second word I have to consult a dictionary.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarcoC2018
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You need to know at least a thousand words to start understanding newspapers / magazines, but I guess 2-3 thousands are needed to read an article without a dictionary and hoping to understand it for the most part. At the moment I know about one thousand words and I start now to read and more or less to get the meaning of an article.

In some cases, after looking up a word in the dictionary, I realize I already knew it, but as it is written (postfixes + prefixes + other stuff around) I fail to recognize it.

Anyhow growing the dictionary is an effort on its own and you really need to love Hungarian language to tackle this task without it becoming a pain. The point is that almost every Hungarian word is different from the corresponding one in English or in another European language.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/guntunge
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The frustrating bit in my progress is probably this the most. I actually learned right over 1000 words in an app as my first step. (definitely forgot half of them by now) Mostly nouns, but also some verbs. I also should know a hundred from the memrise course I will go back to once I am stuck here with a golden tree. And English to Hungarian is supposed to teach over 2000 "lexemes" so effectively maybe under a thousand words. Plus I also do the reverse tree which is far easier (so far) and also taught some new words. So in sum maybe genuine 1000+ words and some necessary grammar on top of that.

But I understand barely the gist of an article or the first page of a book, some fantasy already needed. :-(

For me it is kind of the other way around, I recognise some suffixes but have no idea to what word they are attached.

I also read this prior to starting learning, that roughly 1000 words are a good basis for understanding. Spanish maybe 900, English a tad more but even German in that ballbark. I think Hungarian might need more.
Or it is just me. That is of course possible too.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Yes, 1000 is not enough for Hungarian. I have way more but struggle to read "real" text. Sure I can sometimes work out a probable meaning from word building but the difference between tudás, tudat, tudatos, tudomány, tudomás, and tudósitás is not academic. It can totally change the sense of the sentence. (And did I say real Hungarian sentences are REALLY long - sometimes paragraph length - even in kids' books).

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/guntunge
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Egyik sem tudok. (hope that is correct lol)

Just to not sound too negative, the frustration about less progress than I would wish for is a great motivator to continue! I like puzzles and to challenge my mind.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hubinou
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I agree with everything you say.

Especially the fact that lessons that seemed frustrating and a bit over the top the first time I saw them, seem now far more manageable if not easy.

I started Hungarian with DuoLingo on june 2018, that's now 1 1/2 year ago.

Before that I used the 18 very good podcasts of "let's learn Hungarian" for one year. I very strongly recommend them.

I still cannot read a newspaper but I am feel happy when I can understand the synopsis and some sentences in a movie dubbed in Hungarian (www.mediaklikk.hu)

I go to Budapest 3-4 times a year, and everytime, I am happy to notice that I have made some progress in the knowledge of the language between the visits.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ManjaM87

I agree that things i thought were impossible at first, seem a lot easier after some time. I'm getting pretty good at finding a logical english translation for a sentence. But if it's about translating an english sentence into hungarian, i'm still completely lost. Memorizing new words over time goes fairly easy, but all the different endings, meanings and wordorder makes it painful at the moment.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hubinou
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In Budapest, I bought some kind of "children dictionary" with the pictures and the name under them, grouped by theme : house, garden, shopping center, family, etc. Very useful.

I also ordered on Amazon the series of books form Alexander Pavlenko : Simple Hungarian, conversational topics. There are several levels, from absolute beginner to advanced. They are very well done. In every interesting little story of about 20 lines, the author manages to present only a few words but with many variations (singular, plural, -bol, -t, -hoz endings, etc). On the first page the story is in the present tense, on the second there is a variation in the past tense.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ManjaM87

I hope there will be a hungarian course for german as well at some point. Maybe that could give me some different perspectives, since english is also just my second language.

I absolutely agree that you probably won't really learn a language solely with Duolingo. Especially if you start to improve and get deeper into a language you will for sure need other sources as well, wich i also use.

Today i noticed that the thing i wonder most about when trying to translate sentences back and forth is - "I did get it right BUT could i actually say it like XXX as well... Would the sentence in another order still be right or completely wrong" - and if i know that i have like three options to say a sentence, wich way would more likely be used by a native speaker.

Those are things i don't really find an answer for on Duo. I know asking in the forum or the discussion, related to a specific sentence, are an option. But i also don't want to spend most my time with searching through a forum for an answer. A couple sentences do show an alternative option, but most don't.

I'm still on a very basic level, so i'm actually still learning lots of new words and some rules (at least those that i can still remember an hour later) through Duo. The only thing i have mastered within a day just from looking at it for a minute - are numbers, that's kinda funny to me.

I hope to find a little breakthrough in the close future, to feel like i'm actually moving forward instead of backwards.

Thank you all for your words, experiences, tips and motivation on this topic.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TojasVagyok
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"I hope there will be a hungarian course for german" I hope the opposite, I'm learning German but it would be easier to learn it in Hungarian. :)

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ManjaM87

could use that as well, for the reversed learning :)

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreas305
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Hello Manja, you are native German speaking?

I may help you, because I am German speaking as well. It is much easier for German speaking people to learn Hungarian than for English speaking persons, because a lot of grammar is more similar between Hungarian and German than many people think.

For instance the prefixes of verbs, the flexible structure of the sentences, adverbial qualifications, grammatical sentences, importance of directions (where to? / where? / from where?) and so on. You can contact me: andreas@andreas-kraneis.de

2 months ago
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