Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Speaking with Hungarians

I won't pretend that I will be anywhere close to having a basic grasp of Hungarian by the end of my trip. For the most part, I've picked up a few basic words and rely on luck to help get me through. Normally, if I have trouble making myself understood I can always point at myself with a big dumb look on my face and say "Angolul...Canada." But, a few things did cause a bit of confusion at the start of my trip through.

1. The informal way of saying "hello" in Hungarian is "szia", which is pronounced like "see ya" in English. This same word is also used to say good-bye. It was a bit odd to my ears to hear "szia" when I would walk into a shop during my first few days here (hey, but I just got here!).

2. And just to throw in a wrinkle, a slangy way to say "good-bye" is "hello".

3. Also, more than a few times I've responded to a waiter using the Inuktitut word for "yes" because, to my brain at least, its very close to the Hungarian equivalent.

Thankfully, "nem problema" needs no translation!