WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 2019
A notoriously difficult language to learn, Hungarian is full of confusing rules and irregularities that sometimes even Hungarians can’t explain. However, a whole new world of fun can open up to you in Budapest if you take the time to pick up some key phrases - the locals and bar tenders will respect you more (free drinks anyone?), and tend to be much more open and receptive, even if you botch the pronunciation.
Nobody likes the bloke who points and yells at the poor cigarette vendor (“I WANT MARL-BO-ROUGH, YEH?”) in an attempt to be understood. So if you’re looking to be a bit more savvy than the average traveller or backpacker, we’ve put together this handy guide to some useful phrases that you can use while enjoying the nightlife in Budapest. Read on dear traveller - you might just learn something.
Szia, Kerek, Koszonom
So, it’s Friday night, you’re at pre-drinks, getting ready for a big night out, and you want to say hello to that Hungarian girl or guy that you’ve had your eye on since you got to the hostel last night. Lets keep it simple:
Szia - (pronounced see-ya): this informal greeting is similar to Hi or Hey in English, and is a great way to introduce yourself in Hungarian. If you’re feeling more adventurous and want to impress that cute cashier at the supermarket, you could branch out into the more formal “Jo napot” (Yo nuh-pot), meaning good day. When making new friends, be sure to ask them for inside tips on what to do in Budapest, they always know the coolest bars and clubs!
Next up, remember your p’s and q’s! Don’t be that obnoxious person who doesn’t say please and thank you when you’re ordering a drink:
Köszönöm - (pronounced kuh-sah-num) - Thank you
Kérek - (pronounced Kay-reck) - Please
So, now we have got the basics covered, and pre-drinks finished, it’s time to move onto THE BAR - any self-respecting travellers natural environment. The single most important phrase you will learn whilst in Budapest, “One beer please!”:
“Egy sört kérek szépen” - (pronounced Ej sure-t kay-reck say-pen). It is worth knowing that when asking for anything in hungarian, a T is added to the end of the noun. So in this case, “sör” means “beer”, and the T is added to transform the infinitive noun into its objective form (yes, even nouns are conjugated in Hungarian). And if beer isn’t your thing, we’ve translated some of the more common tipples so you can order whatsoever strikes your fancy:
Wine - Bor (pronounced “bore”)
Champagne - Pezsgő (pronounced pesh-ger)
Tequila, Whiskey, Vodka - The same as in English
Pálinka - A traditional (strong) hungarian spirit, similar to a fruit brandy
Expect to be met with an approving look from the bartender if you can pull these phrases off - they are very used to dealing with English speakers, and always appreciate someone making an effort to be understood in their native tongue.
On to the next phase - you’ve been to a couple of bars, and now you’re ready for the main event of the evening (for information on partying in budapest, and some great events including Budapest Boat Party and Bingo Bar Crawl, please visit the site or check out some of our other blog posts). But disaster! You’ve lost your mates and your phones run out of charge! Fear not, for with this next phrase you’ll be navigating about the city like a pro:
“Hol van a buli?” - (pronounced hole van uh booly) “Where is the party?”
With a little gesturing and hopefully some directions in broken English, you’ll be on your way back to your mates in no time. And below we’ve listed some locations you might want to reach after the night is done:
“Hol van a…..” Where is the...
“....korház?” (core has) - ...hospital
“...hostel?” - ...hostel
“...klub?” - nightclub
“... gyros?” (g-ee rosh)- kebab shop
So, you’ve made it back to your Hen party/Stag do group, you’re in the next club, and they are playing some absolute bangers. You turn to your newfound Hungarian pal to tell them “I fucking love this DJ!”, but he just looks at you blankly. Lucky for you, you’ve got a phrase tucked away just for this moment:
“Ez a DJ óriási!” - (pronounced “ez uh DJ oryashee”) This DJ is amazing!
Super handy when you simply have to tell the rest of the club how much fun you’re having!
So, you’re night is going well so far: the tunes are pumping, the club is packed, you and all your mates are on a perfect level, and the photographer has caught you in a couple of shots looking fine as hell. But now you wanna get your pulling game on - you’ve never slept with a Hungarian before, and when are you gonna get a better opportunity? Luckily, we’ve got a couple of classic chat up lines to get the conversation started:
“Szép a szemed.” (pronounced “Sayp uh semed”) - You have pretty eyes.
“Tetszik a stílusod.” (pronounced “tet-seek uh shteel-oo-shod”) - I like your style.
“Jó a segged.” pronounced “Yo uh shegg-ed”) - Damn gurl, you got a fine ass booty.
With these lines stored away in your repertoire, you’re sure to be taking someone home. Just make sure to find out if they have a partner first - Hungarians can be very protective people!
So, you’re leaving the club, sexy Hungarian friend-for-the-night in tow, and you’re ready to get back to your hostel for a little alone time. But your phone is still out of battery and all these streets look exactly the same. You know the road was called something like undressy, but none of the locals you speak to recognise the name, and you’re stuck here wondering?:
“Hogyan jutok haza?” (pronounced “Hoj-yan yoo-tok huh-zuh”) - How do I get home?
With a little determination and some handy Hungarian phrases, you’ll be back on track in no time. We’ve included some other late-night destinations below to make sure you get where you need to be, even if it is passed out in the closest McDonald’s:
“Hogyan jutok…” - How do I get to…
“...a szállodához?” - (pronounced sa-low-da-hoze)...the hotel?
“...a buszmegállóhoz?” - (pronounced boos-me-ga-low-hoze)...the bus station?
You’re lying in bed Saturday morning - “Wow, what a fun night!” you think to yourself, as your head pounds and you reach for your third glass of water. You turn to your significant-other-for-the-evening, “I am hanging out my ass - got any painkillers?”, but rapidly realise that your words have been lost in translation. Luckily, we gotcha covered my friend:
“Másnapos vagyok” (pronounced “mash-nuh-posh vaj-oke”) - I am hungover.
“Algopirinod van?” (pronouced “algopirin-ode von?”) - do you have any Algopirin? (a painkiller popular in Hungary)
Hopefully with this phrase in tow you’ll garner at least a little sympathy - even if your double-vision and dodgy stomach are self-inflicted! Maybe they might even make an effort to help you feel better in whatever way they prefer - even if it’s just to order you a pizza delivery.
With these handy phrases you should have at least added a few smiles to the faces of the local Hungarians you interact with on your Budapest trip, and... who knows? Maybe added a few more people to your facebook friends list! Happy drinking, and as always: csak okosan! (Be safe)