I just finished my fifth Hungarian lesson, and I am a wee bit disheartened.
I’m not going to lie, kids. When everyone told me how difficult Hungarian is, I smiled and nodded, but I was a little cocky. I kept thinking about how easy it was to learn French and sign language. I conveniently forgot that the only signs I currently remember, other than the alphabet, are some of the words to Bette Midler’s From a Distance (yeah, my elementary school was a little quirky) and the words “spider” and “roach”. Clearly the important things stuck with me. Anyway, somehow I thought that my fairly quick proficiency at French meant that I had some kind of innate language learning ability. Don’t laugh! I know it sounds ridiculous. And I am now well aware that it is ridiculous, as I am completely lacking a knack for learning Hungarian.
The hardest part for me is that I am a visual learner, and while my instructor is speaking, nothing is written down unless she takes the time to write it. And the software doesn’t translate the Hungarian letters, so she has to manually write all of the accents over the vowels as she’s typing it, with what appears to be a MS Paint pen. The lengthy delay between when she speaks and when the word shows up means that I spend 3-4 seconds trying to guess what she said, and boy, am I always wrong.
I think my favorite moment of lessons thus far was when, after wracking my brain for probably 60 seconds to think of the word for “notebook”, I proudly told my instructor “Ez a cahier!” She responded “Nem… beszél franciául?” I had no idea what that meant until she patiently explained that I was randomly saying French words in the middle of Hungarian class. So not only do I really not know very much Hungarian, but when I excitedly think I am remembering something I learned… I am really dredging up a French word I thought I’d forgotten.
So. Lesson number one (of what will unfortunately, but likely, be many) of this journey: Stefanie be not proud.