Learn Hungarian 1×01 The Alphabet

First, we have to learn the alphabet. I know if you like, learn german or french you don’t have to.
But we hungarians don’t like simple things.

Therefore we have many special letters and combinations of letters.

However, don’t be afraid!
If you learn the letters with their pronunciations you can read most of the words I will use in these videos.

Hungarian pronunciation is like the combination of german and the welsh accent. We pronounce the letters very clearly.
So maybe not german. Never mind.

I’d like you to pay special attention to the ‘r’ sound.

But first, the alphabet:

Please note, that this is not the actual alphabet pronunciation. It’s not like a, b, c, d, e, f, g, like in English. I think that is beyond our knowledge. Yet.
So I only present the sounds which we will use in our words.

Now you can put down the microphone and grab the papers.

As you can see I wrote a useful word under the letter, but for now, we only concentrate the letter in that word. So we don’t learn that actual word under the letter.

So lets start with:
A – Very short sound – a. Like in the word- apa. It’s easy.
Next one is:
Á – Like in the word – ár
CS család
Ddarázs – Please note that this is not the english “D”, it’s a very hard D!
DZ – now, we don’t have any word starting with dz. Dz and the next one (DZS) is for foreign words, and some others.
Like in the word – bodza
But the next one is –
DZS – like in the word – dzseki
E – this is like A, its a very, very short sound – esernyő
É – very long, very É like – éjszaka
F – it’s kind of familiar, yeah? – fagyi
I ital – now this is very confusing for both hungarians and for english people, because when you say the word “I” and you use it very much, so I imagine that, it’s very confusing because we pronounce this letter – I, and the letter “I” for you is something else. But that’s it, we can’t do anything about it so, let’s just learn that this is I, like in – ital
The next one is:

Í – it’s very easy with the apostrophe and stuff – ír.
After that:
K – like – kalap
And then:
And now this is something, something different, even in hungarian it’s very unique, it’s the sound:
LY. And do you remember the – J before? Yea! Now, for us, it’s as confusing as for you, because we have only one word starting with LY… It’s – lyuk.
But then, in the middle of the word in the end of the word we can use it, and to determine wich is this LY and the other J, well we have to learn those words.
So, next one:
O okos
Q – / – Yeah, this is only for foreign words. When a foreign word comes  in to our country then, we write it down, like for example you- if you cay quartet, yeah that’s okay but soon we figure out how we can write it in hungarian, with using the normal hungarian letters , so if I say – quartet, its very similar with a sound – K. So we say – kvartet.
But do you remember we have a letter wich we pronounce K? Now, for word – kvartet, we use that sound. So we don’t need the “Q” anymore! Therefore I can’t say any hungarian word for this letter because there are no.
Next one:
R – now, do you remember I said we have to pay special attention for this letter because, I know you normally wouldn’t pronounce it, because in english it’s very soft, but in hungarian language wich is very strong “R” Like if you are a pirat or something.. So: R – róka
Next one:
S súly. I know,it’s confusin too, when you say the “S” letter in hungarian language, its always “Sh”, its never “S” . But we have a sound like – S and it looks like this:
SZszép . So it’s easy to distinguish these two sounds.
Ttojás. It’s almost like D , but little softer.
TY tyuk
And then:
After that:
Ü ül.
Ű működik
V vár.
Oh no, another unuseful letter:
W -Well if you want to write down a name, a foreign name like – Walter, you have to use “W” . But in hungarian language we don’t use “W” in names, or in words so that’s it. And
X shares the same fate as “W”, so does:
Y. So yeah…
If you remember , you have seen “Y” in letters like NY and GY, but that’s a different story, so let’s just move on, like nothing happened.
Z –  zöld.
ZS – zseb.

Okay, that’s it!

Now that we have learned the sounds we can look at more words.
Let’s see what we have learnt.

ALMA – apple

KÖRTE – pear

BANÁN – banana

ASZTAL – desk or table

SZÉK – Chair

Good work!

Now, that’s it for today.
See you around!

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About the Author: Chris Kovacs

Technical Consultant, Traveller, Filmmaker & Photographer
Much like most people, I like to be all sorts of things.

P.S.: some of articles are edited and co-written by a mysterious person called Tatjana. But I take all the credit.

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