How to Immerse Yourself in The Hungarian Language and Culture

Hungarian is widely feared as being one of the hardest languages in the world to learn. Don’t let this allegation deter you from tackling this wonderfully unique language. Remember: Learning a language is so much more than just a bunch of vocabulary and grammar rules. Quite the opposite: It paves the way to understanding a whole new country and culture.

Budapest Danube Bank

Here are our 6 highly recommended resources for immersing yourself in both the Hungarian language and culture.

1. Learn One Hungarian Word a Day

Receiving one Hungarian word every morning into your inbox is just the right way to start the day of an ambitious Hungarian-learner. All daily words come with their translation, at least two example sentences, their pronunciation as well as a bunch of related words. Perfect for a daily little dose of the language! Subscribe here for free.

Budapest Liberty Bridge

2. Cook Hungarian Food, in Hungarian!

The Hungarian cuisine is world famous and many dishes are so easy to cook at home. Cooking with the help of Hungarian recipes or videos is a fun and easy way to immerse yourself into both language and culture. NoSalty is a great place to find all kinds of recipes, both international and Hungarian. For even more, visit “Mindmegette” (i.e. “ate it all”) and you’re already equipped with tens of thousands of dishes ranging from vegan to meaty and sweet to umami. Jó étvágyat!

3. Discover a Whole New World of Internet

From food and fashion to travel and language learning – Hungarian bloggers and vloggers are alive and kicking and discovering them will open up a whole new world of internet for you! The next time you’re looking for websites that cover your interest, see if it has been covered by a Hungarian blogger - you’ll be surprised how much you’ll find out there! Plus, reading and watching blogs and watching YouTube channels is an excellent way to immerse in the Hungarian pop-culture. Start with this list for inspiration!

Or watch this video of “Tízes Lista” (i.e. “List of Ten”) about 10 things even Hungarians don’t know about Hungary:

4. Discover the Hungarian Music Scene

There are hundreds of contemporary Hungarian bands of every possible genre out there, ranging from classic rock to contemporary pop. And since music is (literally!) the beating heart and soul of a country, making sense and singing along to Hungarian lyrics (which range from politically critical to deep and heartbroken) is not only a great way to learn a bit of language but will also bring you closer to the culture of this interesting nation.

Kivándorló Blues (“Emigration Blues”) for example is a great song of Quimby, a rock-band from Dunaújváros which is all about how it can hurt to leave Hungary for other countries, but how the political-, work- or other situations often require it.

“Èlvezd” (Enjoy it!) from Punnany Massif, on the other hand, was the summer hit of 2012 and it’s all about not worrying too much and enjoying life. Super uplifting!

Or turn on Bëlga`s “Az a baj” (“That`s the problem”) and get used to never being able to satisfy everyone or even anyone. And never forget the expression “az a baj” again.

5. Glossika

If you are serious about learning Hungarian, Glossika is your must-have. Glossika's Hungarian course is designed to give you an immersive way to learn and accelerate your progress so you can actually hold conversations and start speaking Hungarian fluently in an amazingly short period of time. With teaching you entire sentences spoken by locals at normal, conversational speed and by using advanced spaced repetition it is bound to give you a steep learning curve.

And it's not hard to start the audio training. Simply listen and repeat after the native speaker. Try for free:

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6. Facebook Groups and Pages

Since we all spend way too much time on Facebook anyway, we might as well just use it as a smart language learning tool. There are countless highly useful, entertaining and interesting Hungarian Facebook groups and pages out there bringing together people of all kinds of hobbies and interests. The big bonus of immersing in the Hungarian world of Facebook is that the phrases and expressions you’ll read there resemble the actual, spoken language a lot more than any textbook ever could. If you want to add some urban slang to your learning process, it’s high time you join one or the other Facebook group!

Here are some great ones to start with:

Budapest View

You see, learning Hungarian doesn’t have to be all about sweat, tears and grammar rules. Quite the opposite: Immersing in the language and culture can be a fun and enjoyable task at hand if you spice it up with the right resources!
Do you have any experience with the above resources? Did I miss something? Let me and your fellow learners know in the comments section!


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Catch Budapest