Friday, January 18, 2008

(Nem) beszélek magyarul

I play this game about speaking Hungarian. I play it with Hajni, Mariann, Caley, Petra.... etc. The rules of the game are like this: whenever they introduce me to someone new, it’s with the phrase, “This is Emily. She speaks Hungarian.” Variants include “This is Emily; she speaks fluent Hungarian” and “This is Emily. She’s American, but don’t worry, she speaks Hungarian.” Then it’s my turn, and I come back with something like, “Oh, no, not really.” Or, “Oh, no, just a little.” This meek protest inevitably leads to the new person assuming that I do speak fluently, and I end up speaking my broken, difficult Hungarian to people who speak English incredibly well. It’s a great game, really.

Anyway. I realized this week, that maybe I should stop protesting, because... I kinda do speak Hungarian. Bad, broken, sorely-in-need-of-practice Hungarian, but understandable and workable nonetheless. In the last week I’ve...

- brought back late library books, not pay a fine, and negotiate through the fact that my card was expired
- set up a new private lesson, on the phone (ON.... THE.... PHONE!)
- bought a pair of boots from a street dealer (actually, a “lobby dealer,” if such a thing exists)
- entertained, explained, and helped my students
- fielded various personal questions from colleagues - both my own and the Újszász crew

And somehow typed out it doesn’t seem like a long list. I guess I was joust proud to admit it to myself. So... early birthday present, pat on the back to me. Now... back to studying some more.

1 comment:

Kitty said...

I have a letter from my hungarian relative....short. can you tell me what they are saying in english? I would appreciate it if you knew somebody that could. thanks, K. You can email me @