Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hungarian is a Difficult Language

I'm the type of guy who doesn't mind working a little to impress a woman I'm interested in. Especially a woman from a different culture, or with some diverse cultural experiences. In fact, I don't even consider it trying to impress the woman for that purpose's sake so much as just learning about her and where she's from; I am a data junkie, after all. Its all in the details, you know?

So as of late I have been spending time with a lovely Hungarian lass. Being the chap (read: dork) I am, I try to learn about Hungary, the Hungarian people and culture, maybe even pick up a few words here and there in the language. Now mind you, the first things are easy enough, its just a matter of wikipedia'ing Hungary and spending the time to learn and retain some things. The last thing, the language, well, that's another story. I should tell you as a preface, without too much of an inflated ego, that I was able to master Latin through high school and college, so I can navigate the Romance languages and German without too much turbulence (Portuguese ... eh, not so much). I even know some Japanese and Korean. Hungarian, however, has turned out to be next to impossible. Its like reading Greek (hat tip, Bill).

Without being too dismissive, there are entirely too many "z"s, "c"s, and "j"s in this language. It gets worse: they combine this devilish trio of consonants to form special consonants from time to time. Some lovely examples:

Good night! = Jó éjszakát!
Thank you very much! = Köszönöm szépen!
Would you like to see my stamp collection? = Megnézed a bélyeggyûjteményem?

Yeah, so with that having been said, I do not think that I am going to master the Hungarian language any time soon. At best, I see myself learning some key phrases, butchering them terribly/pronouncing them like a child with a mouth full of candy and generally evoking a light hearted grin from anyone who actually DOES speak Hungarian (read: the girl and her mother). However, there is the "endearment" factor to consider in all of this, and I am banking on that big time.

For anyone interested in the language, this site is a terrific resource.