One of my first Hungarian books
About four years ago, I decided to start learning Hungarian. At the time, I wanted to see how similar it was to Finnish, and what I might do differently to learn it given the great changes to accessible learning material. Initially, I started by writing my own phrases and sentences. Soon thereafter, I proceeded to study like a good little studier with a teacher online using scanned sheets from a textbook. Many times, these sheets were scanned upside down, and I had to download each image, open it, rotate it, recrop it, and save it just to get it in a format that I could use. I did not have material in my hands like old fashioned paper, and it was lacking context and I knew I had to get through 50, 100, 200, … more pages to “make progress”. To this day I harbor a nugget of resentment about knowing how to say “long bridge”, but not “Hello. A half kilo of beans, please.” I can order a kilo of beans, so that is good enough for now.
I had subsequently gone to Pécs to learn Hungarian intensively, and given no academic need for it, I found this type of cramming counter productive. In fact, it was after this experience that I put Hungarian down for several years. I did manage to pass an A2 language exam, but the experience anaesthetized my motivation.
It is during today’s visit that I have noticed that the anaesthesia has worn off. I treated myself to a book about the Milky Way, or so I assume. :) The illustrations by Gévai Csilla—illusztrátor, meseíró are magnificent and inticing. Now, what I can find out about the Milky Way and a bicycle.
Today I know that I can show someone the size of my cupped hand, and reassure them that a handful of beans is elég (enough).