Today we exchanged introductions, backgrounds were given and both the Hungarian and Dutch party gave presentations with English being the lingua franca. This leads me to wanting to remark upon the language barrier. Yesterday we pointed at our having problems with “strange” names. For us as Dutch speakers the Hungarian language has proven to be quite challenging. The Hungarian party told us – thankfully in English- about their villages: Kinfelegyhaza where the church of Tamas (Tomas) can be found, or Nagyzolos where Elemer comes from. Not only is it difficult to pronounce the letters in the order they are placed in the Hungarian language, doing it correctly the Hungarian way proves even more challenging. Thus Debrecen turned out to be Debretsen and not Debretjen as most of us said.
So we struck up the idea to practice our ‘ How-to-survive-Hungary’ Hungarian, and learning how to say ‘cheers’ seemed a reasonable enough starting point: eggesjeeggedre (with a double g as in ‘egg’). No guarantees given for correctness here, but I am sure you can picture us trying. This generated lots of Hungarian, albeit kind-hearted, laughs. As it turned out with good reason: pronouncing the Hungarian double e slightly more u-ish things went pear- shaped as we turned out to be stating something rather rude. After which we gingerly decided that perhaps English was preferable after all, which unfortunately won’t work wonders for advancing our Hungarian. I am concerned we will not win this language game so I fear it will come down to continuing our fun game of discovering Dutch words in the Hungarian we hear bringing me back to my childhood years!