It’s Russia’s Fault….

Today in Hungarian class, we began learning the grammatical structures that make up basic sentences. I understood most of them previous to coming to class because of studying on my own, and my fascination with English grammar helped me to catch on to the rest quite quickly; Hungarian verbs appear and disappear depending on the sentence type. Sentences in the accusative always carry verbs, but sentences with predicate adjectives or predicate nominatives can (and often do) function without a verb present at all. Interesting!

Unfortunately, “predicate nominative” and “accusative” are not terms that most of the students in class are familiarly comfortable with. I was going to try to explain it to them in such a way (because the teacher was using the concept of “existence” versus “is”), and then I decided that my way wouldn’t have helped — it probably would have been even more confusing. The teacher, Kata, is very open to having students contribute to her teaching; therefore, I also explained to the class what agglutinative languages are. 🙂

The grammar is mostly just difficult because, halfway into the formation of Hungarian, Russia took over the place and usurped some grammar for themselves. So, depending on when a word came into the Hungarian language, it may have different grammar rules according to whether the Russians installed it or the Hungarians did. Therefore, many words break the rules. The “exception” is the rule in Hungarian. It’s Russia’s fault.

Anyway, class was great fun, although everyone lost spunk by the end (the room is usually about 85-90 degrees, and the class lasts 2.5 hours). The sheer pace of the class seems to leave everyone but me discouraged and feeling left behind (that’s not in any way intended as a slight against anyone else). But I don’t really think it can be helped, as we do have only eight days to learn Hungarian! 🙂 So, I’ve been helping my roommate study, mostly just pronunciation.

The list of words for tomorrow is this —
lyuk, most, nem, nyár, ott, óra, öröm, ő, pénz, quiz, répa, só, szép, te, tyúk, utca, út, ül, űr, város, www, xilofon, party, zöld, zseb, tavasz, tavaszi, szél, víz, vizet, áraszt, virág, virágom.

My two favorite things learned today were —

Bocsánat, nem értem. Egy kicsit lassabban kérem. (I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Please speak a little slower.)

Mit tanulsz? (What are you studying?) Japánt és nyelvészetet. (I am studying Japanese and linguistics).

Check out that doozie of a word! The Japanese major is easy to say, but linguistics = nyelvészetet. Still, it’s not as bad as some other ones that other people had, like művészettörténetet (art history). With practice, I can get it out 🙂

Well, on to tomorrow’s lesson! By the way, I bought some soup and some pasta sauce in a packet. The packages have Polish, Czech, and Hungarian on them, but no English. This will be fun 🙂

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