FREE Basic Hungarian HELP

Hungarian Pronunciation Notes

With Hungarian the first syllable is always stressed (spoken louder), with the other syllables stressed enough to hear each and everyone of them; which is the total opposite in English. English isn't really a loud/stressed language, in comparison, so as an English speaker you will need to come out of your comfort zone and speak a little louder; especially on the Hungarian syllable Á and on letters H and R.

English is a language that fades out its endings (i.e. fades out the ending of a word or last syllable of a sentence) and tends to be very lazy/ignorant on letters such as H and R. Words like bear (bair), beer (be-a) and comfortable (cumth-ta-ble) are examples. We says these words with emphasis on the first letter and first syllable but then lazily say (fade out) the last letter. Hot (ot) and Hate (ate) are examples of the unpronounced and not stressed H.

Hungarian Pronunciation - Pronounce The Á, H AND R

An example of stressing a Hungarian syllable would be with the word Kávé (Coffee). The Ká is stressed and spoken almost like Kahhhh or Kahr (kahhh-vay or kahr-vay), so you could say Kah-Vay (correct pronunciation) or get away with Kar-Vay (because of the Á sounding like a pirate's AHHRRR! sound). Another example would be the stress on the letter R, as in the word Kerül (KEH-RULE).

Hungarian syllables, upon first hearing them, can sound a little like country accents! Examples: Mennyibe Kerül (MEN-YEE-BEH KEH-RULE) and Nyitva Tartás (NYIT-VOH TAR-TASH) - Keh-Rule sounds Scouse and Nyit-Voh sounds Russian. So with some words you might sound Russian one minute and Scouse the next!

Hungarian Pronunciation - Difficult To Pronounce

Hungarian, just like other languages, has its 'difficult to pronounce' and unpronounceable syllables, sounds and words. In which case, I have asked many Hungarians what I could get away with saying while still being understood. The C (spit or snake!) sound, as in CICA (Kitten) and CIPŐ (Shoe), is an example:

The C sound is like a spitting sound or snake tongue sound that overlaps - So the C is a TA sound that overlaps a SA (C) sound to sound like TA with a snaky SA sound within it; making CICA sound like SEA-SA and CIPŐ sound like SIPPER (with a spitting/snake sound within them). It is difficult to explain in writing, but you will know what I mean when you hear a Hungarian saying those words!

Put another way: The C sound is like making the childish English spitting sound Ta, when you hate someone and pretend to spit at them, while speaking two syllables! So be prepared to make stupid noises! It becomes easier when you are relaxed, when you are around children making their own stupid noises or when you have had a few drinks and no longer care how stupid you sound!

Hungarian Pronunciation - It Does Get Easier

When first speaking Hungarian, in private and/or in public, many of the syllable sounds will make you feel and sound stupid; as if you are mimicking a child speaking in a silly/childish voice! However, once you gain confidence the syllable sounds should feel and sound more natural; rolling off your tongue much easier.

Basic Hungarian pronunciation is NOT so difficult, but more a case of practising the syllable sounds and feeling confident speaking them in private and public. Remember: Hungarians will not expect you to speak and pronounce at a level of 100%. In fact, they will appreciate you are at least trying to learn their language.

Hungarian Pronunciation - With Hungarian Help

Tünde has kindly helped out with the pronunciations on this website whereby she has purposely spoken each word syllable-by-syllable and each sentence at a slightly slower speed than normal; so that you have a better chance at learning Hungarian.

I have also spoken many of the words syllable-by-syllable and many of the sentences so that you can compare and get a feel of how an English speaker might/would attempt to speak Hungarian.

Remember: The idea of this website is to strip down each Hungarian word to its bare syllables, not only so you can hear the words (syllables) better in order to speak them better, but also because I know what it is like when learning a new language whereby you speak it incorrectly because you have not been hearing its words (syllables) correctly and therefore mispronounce them.

Syllable Notes
Split Words Into Syllables