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Jan 24, 2019

Learning Hungarian with Drops: Milestone 3

One of the best ways to make everything you're learning in a new language yours is by using it. By putting all of the words you learn in Drops to practice with a good tutor, you can quickly make progress in the language you're learning.

But even once you find a good teacher, the work is still up to you. No one can teach you a language. Instead, they make the process of learning it easier and more enjoyable. The work (or play) is still entirely up to you.

That's why, before I head into my first tutoring session or exchange, I like to prepare.

Learn a new language with Drops

Milestone 3: Write my first Hungarian script

Learning lots of vocabulary is really important. That's why I wanted to make Drops the focus of this project. My goal, however, was to chat with my co-workers in Hungarian, so I needed a little bit more than words alone.

But I was able to get by with single words in a lot of contexts, and I'll share how I did that in this post.

* Is this the first post in this series that you're reading? Follow this link to learn more about my Hungarian language challenge.

When I learn a new language, I often use scripts to help me prepare for conversations that might come up, so my third milestone would be to write a short script introducing myself and asking my conversation partner questions about themselves.

I'll share the exact script I used in just a moment, but before then, I want to talk about how I use scripting.

I borrowed my scripting technique from Benny Lewis of Fluent in 3 Months. In his course Conversation Countdown, he shares you can create scripts to go into your exchanges and lessons with more confidence.

Now, these scripts aren't exactly what you may expect. They're not word-for-word scripts that I read off the page. Instead, they're closer to an outline or checklist of phrases I'd like to use. It's something I can fall back on if I get lost or confused - a language security blanket of sorts.

Write a script in Hungarian to speak the language

Here's what my first Hungarian script, or outline, included:

For the moments I needed clarification:

Sorry, I don't understand. - Sajnálom, nem értem.
Can you say that again? - Tudsz ez újra mondani?
Slower, please. - Lassabban, kérem.
What does … mean? - Mit jelent … ?

My introduction:

Helló, örülök, hogy találkoztunk. - Hello, it's nice to meet you.
Hogy hívnak? - What's your name?
A nevem Shannon. - My name is Shannon.
Honnan jött(él)? - Where are you from?
Amerikai vagyok. - I'm American.
Az Egyesült Államokból jöttem. - I'm from America.
Hol laksz? - Where do you live?
Kaliforniában élek. - I'm from California.
Már egy hét tanulok magyarul. - I've been learning Hungarian for a week.
A Drops-on tanulok magyarul. - I'm learning Hungarian with Drops.
Mit dolgozol? - What do you do for a living?
Zenész vagyok. - I'm a musician
Az egyik hobbim az olvasás. - One of my hobbies is reading.
én is szeretem nyelvet tanulni. - I also like language learning.
Hogy vagy? - How are you?
Köszönöm, jól vagyok. - I'm fine, thanks.
Viszlát! - See you later!
Beszélsz angolul/magyarul? - Do you speak English/Hungarian?
Csak egy kicsit - Just a little

Milestone 3 Stats

By Milestone 3, I:

  • Knew about 200 words in Hungarian
  • Spent about 20 minutes per day studying Hungarian
  • Had written my first Hungarian script
  • Had my first language exchange

Aside from doubling my known words, it doesn't look like there's much of a difference between this milestone and the last on paper. Looks can be deceiving.

In addition to doubling my known words, I also better mastered the words that I knew. That means that the words I studied went from "sounding familiar when I hear them" to "being able to use the word I know when the situation demands it."

Of course, I still need a little more time find and then use the word (you'll see this in my next update video), but the fact that I can pull the word out when I need it is a step in the right direction. And when I do, I'll reach one of my next milestones - having an unscripted chat in Hungarian! But before then, I'll need to have my first Hungarian lesson so that I can prepare with some practice.

Learn a new language with Drops

What My Language Study Routine Looked Like

While I was working towards this milestone, Drops announced its content expansion and category layout. This was exciting for me because it meant that there were hundreds of new words that I could learn within Drops.

For the time being, I'm still spending almost all of my study time in Drops. There's plenty for me to do there. The one exception up until this point, was when I worked on my script. I used the help of Google Translate to put it together, then tried it out on my exchange partner (see Milestone 2) to get corrections and feedback on the translations.

A Note About Choosing the Right Resources

At this point in my Hungarian learning project, I felt like I was ready to start looking at grammar so I purchased a coursebook. I picked up a copy of Routledge's Hungarian Grammar because it had some of the best reviews, but shortly after, realized that while the book is a fantastic resource on Hungarian grammar, it wasn't at all what I needed at this stage. It was literally a reference and introduction to grammar only. It wasn't a coursebook, or introduction to the language and that was what I was looking for.

Learning to speak Hungarian in Budapest, Hungary

Figuring out which resources to use when you're learning a new language can be an intimidating step. It's easy to avoid it all together and just stick with what you know.

Having recently gone through this process once again, and after the error I made, I wanted to help you avoid the same making the same mistake. That's why I decided to put together a list of Hungarian language resources. These are the resources that I used as a part of this project and that I will continue to use as I study Hungarian going forward. It goes without saying that Drops is on that list!

What about you? What resources are you using to learn Hungarian? If you're learning a different language, I'd still love to hear about your favorite resources. Please share them with me in the comments below!

Read the previous post in this series | Read the next post in this series

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