Katalin Bakonyi Berényi
Márta Magasi
1 - 7
Contact hours
4 hours/week
2 credits

Short Description of the Course:
At the beginning of the course the students get a brief survey of the origin and most essential typological characteristics of the Hungarian language. The teaching material covers the basic elements of Hungarian grammar: the sound-system and spelling; some elements of morphology; the elementary rules of constructing sentences. At the course the students acquire a basic vocabulary and a number of idiomatic phrases of colloquial Hungarian, and develop skills to enable them to communicate in everyday routine situations.

Culture is an organically integrated part of the course. There are several things we do throughout the semester to introduce the culture of the country to the students. 

  • A field trip in a big supermarket

This trip is closely connected to Unit 3 in the course book, which teaches food and shopping vocabulary and grammar. At the same time it gives an opportunity to discuss Hungarian people’s shopping and eating habits.

  • A trip to an open-air museum outside Budapest

We visit a museum of traditional Hungarian architecture, customs, crafts and village life.

Apart from the above mentioned we always celebrate the holidays: Easter in the spring semester and Santa Claus and Christmas in the fall. In this way the students can have some insight into how Hungarians celebrate these international or typically Hungarian holidays. We learn songs and the vocabulary of the holidays.

The topic list of the course book covers the following:

  • Greetings, introduce yourself
  • Place of living (country, city, home)
  • At the doctor’s
  • Shopping for food
  • Shopping for clothes
  • Seasons and activities
  • Free time
  • Getting around town
  • Sightseeing

These topics inevitably present the opportunity to discuss different aspects of Hungarian culture. Among other things we try to bring the topics close to our students by putting special emphasis on aspects that might be really interesting for young people. For example in connection with free time activities we include music and food festivals and so called ’ruin pubs’, which are very popular with young Hungarians.

Aim of the course:
The course is designed to make the students acquainted with the most basic elements of Hungarian grammar and vocabulary, and also prepare them to be successful in continuing their Hungarian studies on a higher level. 


Detailed Program and Class Schedule:

  1. An introduction into Hungarian phonetics; nominal sentences
  2. Copula, substantive verb; questions and negation
  3. Present tense forms of verbs, singular; postpositions, some adverbs
  4. The grammatical object/accusative; adverbs of place: Where?
  5. Numerals; adverbs of place: Where… to?
  6. Present tense forms of verbs, plural; the objective case of adjectives and numerals; adverbs of place: Where… from?
  7. The plural form of nouns and adjectives 
    Grammar summary; Written test 

Method of instruction:
Means and ways of communicative language teaching 

Erdős József – Prileszky Csilla: Halló, itt Magyarország! I. Budapest, Akadémiai Kiadó 2000.
Supplementary material: Kaleidovox. Computer-aided exercises by Erdős József 

Grading is based on student performance in three areas: a) homework done regularly; b) performances at the classes; c) written test closing the course. 

Instructors' bio:

Katalin Bakonyi Berényi is a language teacher in the Centre of Modern Languages at BME, since 1978; graduated from Kossuth Lajos University, qualification: teacher of Hungarian and English language and literature. Teaching activity: Hungarian as a foreign language to foreign students studying engineering in Hungarian or English; to Erasmus/Study Abroad exchange students; teaching general, technical and business English to Hungarian students; Hungarian literature and film courses to Erasmus/Study Abroad students. Publications on teaching Hungarian as a foreign language, the methodology of teaching languages and cultural topics; co-author of the Coursebook for Advanced Learners of Hungarian.

Márta Magasi graduated from Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest in 1982 with a degree in Hungarian language and literature. She has been a teacher at BME in the Centre of Modern Languages for 14 years, where she teaches Hungarian language courses to foreign students studying engineering. In addition, she is involved in university language training programs abroad and in editing and writing university publications (e.g. Readings in Technical English; Language Tests for Foreign Students, etc.). Recently she has been working as a teacher and coordinator of language trainings for leading multinational companies.

Students' Review About This Course

"Taking Hungarian class is the best way to integrate yourself with Hungarian culture, there are a lot of cultural lessons and you can also put your mind away from CS and Math for a while and come back to it later, so I think it’s a good way to reset your mind and at the same time learn a lot more about Hungary."

Ryuta Kure

Ryuta Kure

Grinnell College

"Kati 's class was my official introduction to the Hungarian language. By the end of the class I was able to hold basic conversations and navigate daily life in Hungary with ease. In the months and years since, I built on the foundation I learned from Kati to a level of fluency that has allowed me to work in Hungarian at local tech companies and translate works of Hungarian literature into English. None of this would have happened without Kati's exceptional instruction and enthusiasm for the Hungarian language."

Ryan Lane

Ryan Lane

Arizona State University

"I started the semester off very unsure about how much Hungarian I could pick up in just a few months, and was so shocked at the end of the program with how much I had learned! My professor was a wonderful and energetic teacher who made sure to tailor the curriculum towards phrases and vocabulary we might experience in daily life. Plus, our final project, a production of "Aladdin" in Hungarian, is an experience I'll never forget!"

Kiersten Campbell

Kiersten Campbell

Williams College

"I took Hungarian with Kati and by the end of my time there was able to navigate cafes and restaurants only in Hungarian! She was so patient and kind, and truly motivated me to practice and use the things she taught in class. On top of learning the language, Kati also took time to explain cultural things to us and at the end of the semester showed us how to make gulyás and to this day I think about how good it was!!! Funny enough, my summer internship that year had a big Budapest branch and I was able to talk to them a bit in Hungarian which they were thrilled by! This course was phenomenal and the program at AIT is just wonderful. I only wish I could do it all over again!!"

Jackie Hang

Jackie Hang

Colby College

"Hungarian with Márti was such a fun, amazing, and holistic learning experience. In just a few weeks, my classmates and I were able to order in restaurants, ask for directions, and immerse ourselves better in the Hungarian culture. I still remember cooking gulyás together with my classmates and putting together a final play. When I catch up with my AIT friends, we still test each other on how many Hungarian words we can remember. The class is nagyon jó :)"

Jiin Jeong

Jiin Jeong

Hamilton College

"Márti’s Hungarian course was one of the most fun and useful classes I took at AIT. Márti is an extremely kind and patient teacher with a great sense of humor, and it was really rewarding to learn Hungarian in the classroom, then apply it in daily life in Budapest. Köszönöm szépen, Márti!"

Alice Ren

Alice Ren

University of Pennsylvania

To me, Marti is more like a sweet grandma than a professor. Hungarian is the first humanity course I have ever taken since I started college, but instead of making me feel frustrated and helpless, Marti’s lectures are easy to follow, well-structured and she is so patient helping us learning Hungarian! We all love Marti!

Huandong Chang

Grinnell College

The Hungarian class was one of the best classes I took here at AIT. The class was very fun and interactive. The material we covered was very relevant as right from the beginning, I was able to engage in basic interactions and start friendships more easily with people I met from day to day. I recommend this for anyone who wants to have a complete study abroad experience.


John Koomson

Amherst College