Why is Hungarian difficult and other questions

by arianambrand

Hungarian is crazy. But it also makes a whole lot more sense than the other languages I know. Yes, there are irregular verbs, but only 3 really irregular ones (to go, to come and to be), and then 15 ‘irregulareesh’ as my Hungarian teacher says, ie irregular but predictably so. It’s also really, awesomely specific. There is a verb for ‘to drink’ and a totally different one for ‘to drink beer’.

The strangest thing to English-speaking ears is the concept of ‘vowel harmony’, which means that a sound in the beginning of a word is carried through to the end. For example:

‘Ebédel’ means ‘to have lunch’. To conjugate a verb in the first person, you add an ending involving a k, either -ok, -ek or -ök. Since ebédel has an e as its last vowel, you stick on the ending that harmonizes with that, -ek, making ebédelek, ‘I have lunch’. Similarly, for ‘tancol’, ‘to dance’, look at the last vowel, it’s an o, so ‘I dance’ is ‘tancolok’. Simple.

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Tonight some friends and I went to dinner at one of the nicer restaurants around Lizst Ference Tér. It was fantastic. I got a traditional garlic cream soup (do I ever have garlic breath though) and bone marrow, which turned up in a giant beef bone, and was removed via knife by a kind waiter. I know marrow sounds weird, but it is actually amazing. Better to think of it as meat butter. Anyway, it’s delicious on toast. I spent about $10 on that dinner, and it was more than I could eat.

We also visited a beer store in the neighborhood specializing in imported beers, and found Left Hand Brewery stickers everywhere. Apparently it’s very popular here. I bought some locally made double-fermented beer (9%!) for later.

I’ve got to do my homework now. More photos coming later!

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