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TAC 2010 Katie’s Hungarian

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Senior Member
Joined 4310 days ago

495 posts - 107 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hungarian
Studies: French, German

 Message 1 of 100
31 December 2009 at 1:57pm | IP Logged 
I think I may be one of the very few who are actively studying Hungarian at present, so I’m going to “go it solo” for TAC 2010.

I would grade my current level in Hungarian to be somewhere around the low to mid intermediate stage. Whilst I can understand most conversations (always at least the general gist of the discussion), I cannot always actively participate in them, through speaking. Whilst I need to continue to broaden my word-base, I believe it has more to do with learning HOW to say what I want to say, as Hungarian is not just a simple direct translation of how we say things in English. I am of the opinion that this will only come with more exposure to the language.

I have a goal to move to Hungary in December of 2010 – so my real focus for the year is to definitely to an advanced level, and preferably as high as possible in this level. I will have reached my goal if I am capable of freely participating in social situations and am ‘employable’ – meaning that I understand all conversations, as opposed to just the gist and that I am able to actively participate in these conversations aswell.

Basically, I want to be able to move to Hungary and not have to hold back on making new friendships, gaining employment and living successfully within the country.

Up until this point, I have used a mixture of self-teaching, having tutors and teachers, and using native materials.

I plan to continue with my once weekly language class in 2010. This will not only give me the chance to work through grammar over & over until I know it like the back of my hand, but also gives me a perfect opportunity to gain exposure to a native speaker and to practice my speaking.

On top of this, I will continue to use my grammar book to do some personal study.

I have just re-started my use of SRS for the purposes of continuing to increase my vocabulary. I’m not sure how long this will last, as I have not been motivated to continue with this mode of study for very long in the past. But I will give it a try!

Other than that, I will use as many native materials as possible, as often as possible and basically immerse myself as much as I can (more following the lines of AJATT). I will use novels, DVDs and music.

My old rule of “No English” still stands and will continue in 2010 – No English TV, Movies, but I have now also added no English Books or Music. Those will be a challenge! I’m still reading my Virginia Andrews novel in Hungarian, and thereafter have two other options to read. My goal is to read 5 novels by year end. Perhaps it doesn’t sound much, but I’m sure it will keep me busy!

I still have not completed my FSI series or Assimil. To be honest, the Hungarian Assimil was incredibly boring. I do not see myself using this as a study tool. I continue to look at FSI aswell, but I find a lot of the language to be formal and a little ‘old fashioned’. I may pick up these books, as well as Colloquial Hungarian and Teach Yourself Hungarian, occasionally – but I will not include them as a formal part of my studies.

I’m lucky enough to have Hungarian friends, so I will continue to increase my use of Hungarian with them. My goal is to be speaking in Hungarian 90% of the time by October, 2010.

I’ve set up an excel “Victory Calendar” as suggested both here and on the AJATT site. I have quite a busy lifestyle, but I am hoping to dedicate a minimum of 2 hours per day to my studies. This will include listening, speaking, reading, SRSing, etc. To be honest, in terms of listening to Hungarian music, radio & ebooks, I may be able to dedicate many more hours (possibly a minimum of 5 extra hours per day). I will try to maximize on those hours.

Well, I think that covers everything I need to for now – please let me know if I forgot something or you would like any further information!



Edited by Katie on 01 January 2010 at 8:29am

3 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4310 days ago

495 posts - 107 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hungarian
Studies: French, German

 Message 2 of 100
01 January 2010 at 9:44am | IP Logged 
Jan 1, 2010

Well there is still time left in the day however, I thought I would put through the bulk of my account for today.

I have spent a lot of time out of the house today, but whilst home I have focused on adding words and phrases to Anki. As I mentioned, I have had to start over again, adding in words from the very beginning. I am fine with this, but it will take time to input all that I want - it will be much and much an ongoing process anyway.

Currently I have listened to around 3 hours of radio & music. Perhaps I will listen to another hour or so tonight - so, I will edit at the bottom of this post later tonight what my totals end up being.

I have some free time this evening, so I plan to extensively revise the definite and indefinite conjugations. First I will use Miklós Törkenczy's Hungarian Verbs & Essentials of Grammar, followed by looking up and doing any exercises I find in Teach Yourself and Colloquial. I won't be writing these out, just doing them in my head, as I have previously studied these extensively and would just like to review.

I would also like to finish of my evening with a movie (in Hungarian of course!), although in looking at my totals in each area, I may sacrifice this for half an hour of reading instead.

I have not had contact with my Hungarian friends today, so I think it will be essential to spend a little time thinking and speaking the language on my own tonight. My "evening routine" is around 2 hours worth of stuff and I will do as much as I can in Hungarian, looking up necessary words, talking my way through my activities, reading, etc. I quite like to do things this way - although I may appear somewhat crazy talking to myself all night!

SRS - 1hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 1hr)
LISTENING - 5hr(Total since 01/01/10 - 5hr)
READING - 0(Total since 01/01/10 - 0hr)
SPEAKING/WRITING - 1hr(Total since 01/01/10 - 1hr)
GRAMMAR/CLASSES - 0.5hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 0.5hr)

TOTAL IMMERSION - 7.5hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 7.5hr)


Later Note: Yes, I lost steam as the night moved on and was not in the mood for reading - so I opted to at least watch the movie. I have to be certain to read tomorrow!!

Edited by Katie on 01 January 2010 at 11:16am

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Senior Member
Joined 4310 days ago

495 posts - 107 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hungarian
Studies: French, German

 Message 3 of 100
02 January 2010 at 2:57am | IP Logged 
Hi again everyone!

I just thought I'd put up a full listing of the resources I have used throughout my studies to get this far with Hungarian... perhaps you have some extra programs/books you think would be useful - or perhaps I will suggest one you can try!!

"Hungarian Verbs & Essentials of Grammar" Miklós Törkenczy
"Beginner's Hungarian Dictionary" by Usborne (Holnap Kiadó)
Angol-Magyar Szótár & Magyar-Angol Szótár (Kisszótár range) from Akadéniai Kiadó
"Colloquial Hungarian" by Carol Rounds & Erika Sólyom
"Teach Yourself Hungarian" by Zsuzsa Pontifex
"Assimil Hungarian with Ease"
"FSI Hungarian"
"In Flight Hungarian" (to be honest, if you really want to learn the language - don't bother with this one)
"Pimsleur Hungarian" (I found this very useful for pronunciation and sentence structure practice - although, by the time I purchased it, I was beyond it's vocabulary teachings)
I also used the magyarora website for some practice materials.
Then on top of this, I have lots of native materials, books, videos etc to help me. I also tried some various programs like BKYI (I think that's what it's called) and phrase books and stuff... but I didn't really study from them.

I have used all of these books to study with my Hungarian teacher. The only additional books we have used are the official schooling books for Hungary - which have stories, activities, songs, etc in them. We only used this occasionally and mostly worked from my range of books. I had another tutor about 2 years ago who was quite good (a much younger lady, who was studying in Australia), but we didn't study from specific books. She left around 4 or 5 months after I started my classes, so I could not continue them unfortunately. My current Hungarian teacher is fantastic and I'm very lucky to have found her. She was actually a teacher in Hungary before moving to Australia and lives only about 4 minutes from my home!

There are 2 books I would like to have, but do not... they are Carol Rounds' book (I'm uncertain of the title, but it's a grammar book), and a new one out from the magyarora website, called "A Practical Hungarian Grammar" by S. Szita & T. Gorbe. It has exercises and worksheets.

Given my current level and the resources I already have, I am looking to purchase "A Practical Hungarian Grammar" but will leave Carol Rounds' book out of my collection for now. I feel that Törkenczy's book is very adequate!

I think I have mentioned everything, but I'll edit my post if I think of anything else! I would love to hear if you have another great material! :)

Senior Member
Joined 4310 days ago

495 posts - 107 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hungarian
Studies: French, German

 Message 4 of 100
02 January 2010 at 12:31pm | IP Logged 
Jan 2, 2010

I believe that today was much closer to what I will, in reality be able to devote in my regular day once I have returned to work. You will see that I managed my daily target at least, of 2 hours however, I must work to use this time more efficiently in order to get the most benefit from it.

I will consider this more during my morning walk, and report back with any ideas that I have. One activity that I began to do, which I have found to be quite fun, is translating songs. I haven't really tried this before.

SRS - 0.5hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 1.5hr)
LISTENING - 1.5hr(Total since 01/01/10 - 6.5hr)
READING - 0.5(Total since 01/01/10 - 0.5hr)
SPEAKING/WRITING - 0hr(Total since 01/01/10 - 1hr)
GRAMMAR/CLASSES - 0hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 0.5hr)

TOTAL IMMERSION - 2.5hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 10hr)


Edited by Katie on 02 January 2010 at 10:15pm

Senior Member
Joined 4310 days ago

495 posts - 107 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hungarian
Studies: French, German

 Message 5 of 100
03 January 2010 at 1:03pm | IP Logged 
Jan 3, 2010

I think I had a pretty good all-around day today!

I spent the afternoon/evening at my friends' house, so I got around 4 hours of listening and speaking - although, I spoke far less than I really would have liked to. We had a lot of actual work to do, and it too difficult to efficiently do that work trying to speak Hungarian (strict time limit - had to be completed for tomorrow morning, and difficult issues had to be debated).

I didn't include this total in my log. Why, you ask? Because I don't feel I was actively speaking enough - or at an advanced enough level - to gain much benefit from it. Unfortunately, my mind was on the task at hand, so at most I answered yes/nos, short answers and 'ordered' coffee....

I had a gruelling morning of mowing the lawn (was very hot, and uphill!), but I had my iPod blaring with my Hungarian music - so that got me some extra listening in. I identified quite a lot of time within my activities today that I "could have" been listening to my iPod or even doing some addition Pimsleur classes or audiobooks. I will need to be a lot more organised to take advantage of those opportunities.

SRS - I've continued to add as many words & phrases into SRS and do my reviews. Today I went for a little longer than previous days. My 'word' count is up to 677 now. I hope to have it drawing close to 1500 by end of this coming week.

Reading - I have a few 'projects' going at the moment. I have given my Virginia Andrews book a rest for the moment. This is mostly because 1. there seem to be soooo many new words that it is discouraging to read at the moment and 2. the general tone of the book is 'depressing'. Because I can't go as quickly through the book as I can in English, the depression lingers... if that makes sense... and drags me down a little. So instead, I opted for a very cheerful and funny Geronimo Stilton book. It's good to have some light reading and a bit of a laugh. I guess I would also prefer for my vocabulary to be 'positive' rather than grey and negative... so this has been a good change in many ways.

In fact, the change has motivated me to read even more, and there is a good chance that I will do some more reading before retiring tonight.

GRAMMAR I'm working through Miklós Törkenczy's book at the moment. So far I have recapped on Verb Structure, Definate & Indefinate Conjugations, Present Tense & Past Tense. Next on the list is The Conditional Past & Present, however first I would like to go back and do some activities from other books on these topics. I would also REALLY like to get a hold of a copy of the grammar activity book I mentioned in my references post. I'm currently something akin to unemployed (I do not work on school holidays very much), so I cannot purchase it now, but really look forward to ordering a copy in the coming weeks!

So, today hit almost the 4 hour mark. I think this could have easily been more if I had taken advantage of all of those quiet times. Not to worry, I'll work on it tomorrow! :)

For now though, it's a shower and some light reading for me. If I do any extra work, I'll edit the totals in my post to accomodate, in the morning. :)

SRS - 0.8hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 2.3hr)
LISTENING - 1hr(Total since 01/01/10 - 7.5hr)
READING - 0.5(Total since 01/01/10 - 1hr)
SPEAKING/WRITING - 1hr(Total since 01/01/10 - 1.5hr)
GRAMMAR/CLASSES - 0.5hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 1hr)

TOTAL IMMERSION - 3.8hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 13.8hr)


Senior Member
Joined 4310 days ago

495 posts - 107 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hungarian
Studies: French, German

 Message 6 of 100
04 January 2010 at 1:35pm | IP Logged 
Jan 4, 2010

I averaged out at around 3.1 hours of immersion today. I am back at work somewhat - working from home, but a lot to do. Unfortunately, today's work required quite a bit of brain power - so I was distracted by the music I was attempting to listen to whilst working, and thus had to turn it off. I don't mind the music in the background when I don't need to focus on very fine details - so I'm hoping toward the end of the week, I'll be able to relax a little more.

I did it today! I WIPED OUT my iPod! I now have ONLY Hungarian and classical music on my iPod! It took a lot of guts to do that, but it's about time I ensured I can't sneak any English into the time I have. It hurt... LOL, but it's done!

I also switched my internet etc over to Hungarian. This site is one of the few English sites I am allowed to go to from now on!

I'm enjoying the fresh reading. Currently I have done a half hour session however, I'm quite sure that I'll do another half an hour before I go to bed. It's funny and light... I don't know how else to explain it. I don't care that it's a kids book (well, aimed at the teenager). I'm still having fun!

No grammar study today. I look to be set to have a look at the grammar books around every 2nd day. It gives me a break from it without leaving it too long.

I didn't add an extras in Anki today either... oops

Because of my work, my friends' travel, etc my worst area of immersion has been in the Speaking department. I've been talking to myself as much as I can however, it doesn't match up to being in a genuine conversation. The next day or two will remain difficult, but thereafter I will hopefully be back into the swing of things.

SRS - 0.1hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 2.4hr)
LISTENING - 1.5hr(Total since 01/01/10 - 9hr)
READING - 0.5(Total since 01/01/10 - 1.5hr)
SPEAKING/WRITING - 0.5hr(Total since 01/01/10 - 2hr)
GRAMMAR/CLASSES - 0hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 1hr)

TOTAL IMMERSION - 2.6hr (Total since 01/01/10 - 16.4hr)


United States
Joined 3633 days ago

17 posts
Speaks: English

 Message 7 of 100
04 January 2010 at 9:34pm | IP Logged 

I admire your total immersion approach. I would have such a hard time doing that. I think my kids would kick me out of the house. LOL

Do you think it helps to keep track of hours spent on each area? I have never been one to focus on "time spent" as much what steps I'm getting through. (For example, I'm working on the Michel Thomas Spanish set right now and I measure my progress by how many CDs I've gotten through. With the Assimil I will be doing starting next week, I planned to measure by how many lessons I'm working through, and if I'm keeping up with my goal of three per day.) Do you think keeping track of the hours helps a lot?


Senior Member
Joined 4310 days ago

495 posts - 107 votes 
Speaks: English*, Hungarian
Studies: French, German

 Message 8 of 100
04 January 2010 at 10:24pm | IP Logged 
Hi Kerrie

In my earlier days of learning the language, I didn't keep track of hours. I did try on some occasions but usually failed at it. I have to admit, that I think in the earlier days of learning the 'grit' of the language, it's pointless to count your study hours. You can take as much as you can take and as much as you have time for. No more, no less really.

My action plan for those early days (once I had given it a decent shot on my own (ie worked through the bulk of Teach Yourself), was to get a teacher once a week. I am not sure if I'd do the same for every other language - however Hungarian has notoriously difficult grammar (which I found out later on, isn't so bad when it's taught properly!)

I let my teacher be responsible for grammar & reading etc. Basically, I'd do whatever homework she set me, but other than that, I'd do what I felt like doing! Chatting on MSN, listening to Music, watching DVDs, using Pimsleur & Assimil & FSI on occasions, cooking etc.

At the Beginner/Intermediate hurdle I did a stint of massive immersion - and 'lo & behold it worked wonders - I was over the hurdle in a very short amount of time! That's when my faith in the process began. All of a sudden I could SEE progress.

I wouldn't recomment my haphazard approach in the earlier days. I think it wasted a lot more time than it needed to. But in some ways, the opportunity helped me to gain a deep love and appreciate in the language from so many aspects. I have never once questioned whether to continue learning Hungarian or not - it's just a given in my mind that I will learn to speak fluently. It's nice to not have to battle with lack of motivation.

If I was to go back and do it all again, I think I would have done MOSTLY the same. The teacher definitely, but I would do MORE immersion/input from the beginning and also I would have wanted to complete Assimil and FSI. Granted, I could still do that, but unfortunately the style of both of them bores me to no end.

I am now again at a point in this language, where it is only immersion & massive input that is really going to help me. I've done a lot of grammar work etc with my teacher. I will actually continue to go to her as long as I can however, she has mentioned that there is very little more that she can do for me. She is also of the opinion that "everything is there", I just have to be immersed in the language for it to all click together. That's why I've turned back to AJATT, and a good part of the reason why I am aiming to move to Hungary in December.

For me, keeping track of the hours nowadays is more about keeping myself responsible and ensuring that I'm doing as much as I can. If I only get 2 hours on a day, but I know that I've done the best I can, then I'm hapy with that. Filling out the form makes me LOOK and EVALUATE - it keeps me honest! As far as hours in each area - this a new thing for me. I thought I'd give it a try. My goal really is to try to touch all of those areas. I don't mind if I miss an area here and there - but I think it'll be a good opportunity to make sure I'm not neglecting an area.

I am very eager to get to a degree of fluency, so that I can do more of a maintenance and begin to learn another language! I'm not sick of this one, but I'm eager to start racking them up against my name! :)

As for yourself - to be honest, you will see that some days I only get 2 hours in. And there will be days where there will be even less, I'm sure. It's not really a case of "well if I can't do 12 hours of immersion, there's no point to do it". Every little bit counts and adds up. Sure, I'd love to have 12 hours a day of immersion. I'm sure my progress would be out of this world with that sort of immersion consistently. But, I know that my life doesn't allow for that. I may have an occasional 12 hour day (and I'll always be aiming for as much as possible), but the bulk will be between 2 & 6 hours per day.

My iPod is my best friend! Whenever I can, I just put it on, I put in on before I go to sleep, I put it on in the car, on the train, while going for a walk, while doing the washing, the ironing... even while mowing the lawn (NB - turn it down before you turn off the mower! LOL). If you look closely, I'm sure you will identify some areas of time that you could use. We all have them!

In the meantime, I also think your way of measuring progress is perfectly fine! It's just a case of finding what works best for you! Afterall, we are all aiming for the same thing (language "ownership") - different people will get there in different ways and none of those ways is wrong!

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