Snow, ice, bad roads, a play

It was kind of a busy day. I ended up the week with my third medical appointment of the week, actually two plus one dental. That was enough. I arrived early for my ENT appointment to remove ear wax and although I was pretty much half an hour early, they took me really early and once the wax was removed I had an audiology test. The whole experience was less than fun and I have another appointment in February with them. I also have several over the counter sinus aids since although I have never had a sinus infection (knock on wood), I have had issues of glue. Need I say more?

I came outside to my next surprise, although it wasn’t really one. SNOW! We had received warnings of it but the whole day had gone by and there was no snow. When I went in before 3:30 PM, there was nothing. When I came out around 5:00 PM, there was an inch of heavy snow and it was coming down fast. The streets were a disaster and the movement was slow. I went home and within a half an hour, we were out again to pick up some friends who live in Deerfield for dinner and a play. The driving was incredibly slow; despite the warnings, the snow plowers doing the streets were not functioning well.

Dinner at Wildfire was excellent, parking there was impossible (The Glen) and so I dropped everyone off at the door. I was glad to have manual transmission and all wheel drive. The snow continued to fall during dinner, necessitating more car cleaning. We had a wonderful time with our friends, found through our committee of the Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival.

We got in the car and the roads were still basically impassible and we just plugged slowly along, arriving in downtown Glenview on Glenview Road. The play was Jake’s Women, a Neil Simon play and was quite good in the small venue. It featured Jake and seven women, one playing his daughter at two different ages.

We got in the car after removing yet more snow and found the roads after ten o’clock to be virtually impassible. For a city that deals with snow all the time and usually well at that, it was surprising that the super and even correct advance warnings were not heeded. We had to go about half the posted speed to surive the ice and snow, but my car was great and we even passed a major scene where a tow truck was trying to remove a car that had jumped and gotten stuck on a median strip. It took a long time to get home but we delivered our friends to their home, watched a little Bill Maher, and went to bed very late.

Posted in Life in general, Snow and Ice, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Random Hungarian words I remember from my youth

A part of my Hungarian library

I remember a bunch of random words in Hungarian from my youth; they stand out and reappear in my head every so often. It all makes me wonder why it is that these words were important enough for me to actually remember at all. To this day, they are in my head and will thus remain with me forever.

If only I had had the language glue, the Hungarian whatever, to put all of these together and to actually be able to communicate with them. If only I had pursued the study of the language earlier on; I always thought, I can do it later.

I am sorry that I didn’t find the time during all these years to pursue it. In my anal-retentive, sometimes OCD mind, I kept thinking that I needed to find a class to take. I suppose that is my academic, teacher side. On the other hand, due to the Internet, it is now possible to find all sorts of things online and what adds into the current ease is the fact that Hungary is no longer under the domination of the Russian thumb and communism and more open than during most of my lifetime. In any case, I am going to plod along until I have a handle on it.

Finding things genealogically has been still difficult. It seems to me that most of my family’s records are not easily found. I now have a young man living near Lake Balaton in Hungary who is going to help out. He is a university student and due to my having become friends with his uncle by marriage on Facebook, he cyber-walked into my life.

So I look at these words and just wonder. I wonder as well how many words my own sister remembers. She even went to Hungarian school, which I missed out on. She says she remembers nothing at all.

Meanwhile, I keep listening to and repeating my lessons, and counting in Hungarian; in slumber I am even found to be counting in Hungarian.

I apologize, in advance, for any mistakes. I am learning to use the Hungarian keyboard and finally have somewhat of a handle on the Hungarian accent system. Due to the way the Hungarian language works and that you add to the words as you do in a language of declensions, my spelling could well be off.

Hungarian words remembered

    minden every
    drága expensive
    gyönyörű beautiful
    lány girl
    fiú boy
    Gyere ide Come here
    elég enough
    gyerekek children
    kutya dog
    macska cat
    mókus squirrel
    disznó pig
    csirke chicken
    bárány lamb
    szeret like, love
    rothadt rotten
    sárga yellow
    fekete black
    meleg warm
    hideg cold
    ház house
    pénz money
    keze hand
    levest soup
    mákos poppyseed
    dió walnut
    túrós cheese
    friss fresh
    itt van here is
    nem no
    igen yes
    tányér plate
    papír paper
    virág flower
    táska bag
    bácsi uncle, man
    néni aunt, lady
    bolond crazy
    láb foot or leg
    krumpli potato
    kenyér bread
    kukorica corn
    paprika pepper, paprika
    paradicsom tomato
    dinyye watermelon
    káposzta cabbage
    uborka cucumber
    tea tea
    kávé coffee
    cukor sugar
    rétes streudel
    víz water
    iskola school
    templom church
    kórház hospital
    beteg sick
    bogarak beetle, bug
    csúnya naughty, mischievous, ugly
    hallgassa listen (I thought it meant be quiet)
    hogy van? how are you? (Formal)
    hogy vagy? how are you? (Informal)
    magyar Hungarian
    magyarul the Hungarian language
    csúnya bogarak a term of endearment my Grandmother used for the grandkids

Posted in Hungarian, Life in general, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Rothadt tájos and other thoughts

I don’t even know if this is correct, I have to find someone with a good knowledge of Hungarian to verify this. Although I am a language teacher and know how to use dictionaries and grammar books, I am left to things like them along with a dose of Google Translate. My memories of hearing Hungarian words as a child is less than wonderful as I realize that many of the things I thought I remembered correctly were nothing more than perceptions that may be somewhat close to reality but may actually be way off base.

One of the things I remember as being a youngster and having it stick in my head was the expression in Hungarian for rotten egg. I don’t know whether it was just an expression my family members used or that maybe I heard once, asked about it, and latched onto it. It has stuck in my brain for my whole life and I recently tried to figure out how to spell it.

Google Translate, as a language teacher, is something I abhor. Now I realize that it has its place, it is just a question of how you use it. As language teachers, we find students using it exclusively, to the point of not taking the time to learn things or expressions. Recently, I wondered about some students whose written language was surprisingly good, until you looked carefully and saw that much was good, but then there were these crazy mistakes that make you think of a translation device. I, however, have found it helpful as a tool when I am honing transcriptions. I will switch from writing it in English on Google Translate and then taking what I think it should be in Hungarian and putting it into Hungarian to see what the translation is in English. Back in the day, we did this using the dictionary, which I still do anyway. Now we have a new vehicle for doublechecking.

As a kid, I love saying the expression in Hungarian for ‘rotten egg;’ it sounded good to my ear, so much so that it is still in my gray matter.

More to come…

Posted in Hungarian, Life in general, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Gyere ide!

Go Blue! The fève to put in our French Galette des Rois, meant to cheer on the French soccer team.

‘Gy’ is pronounced as a ‘d’ in Hungarian so the expression, « Gyere ide » would be pronounced something like this. ‘Dyedd+eh+eee+deh.’ The ‘Dyedd’ part rhymes with red and the ‘e’ at the end of it is actually an ‘r’ that is rolled and comes up to almost a ‘d’ sound. The ‘eh’ is like the ‘e’ sound in the word ‘met.’ The ‘eee’ rhymes with meet. The last ‘deh’ has that ‘e’ that rhymes with met.

This is one crazy language for those of us who are used to English and/or romance languages. Add into it that it is almost primitive and simple in some respects. When you go to translate, you can decidedly not do that literally, because you almost sound like a cave man. If I were to translate ‘Nincs penzem,’ I would say that it means that I don’t have any money. Literally it is more like ‘None or no money – mine. The ‘em’ on the end of ‘penz’ means it belongs to me, something added on to the end of the word to signify that.

Nonetheless, when I am doing these anti-Alzheimer exercises, I am utilizing my almost seventy year old brain to learn a new language; it takes me back, much as the Madeleine that Proust tasted and started thinking of past experiences. I hear my family, especially my grandparents, even my own mother, speaking in this fascinating tongue that has no relationship whatsoever to ththe languages that surround it in east central Europe;.

The expression ‘Gyere ide’ came to me the other day as I leafed through a Hungarrian grammar book I got for Christmas from Mary Kay. I had totally forgotten it. Certainly, before my beginning to study the language (Pimsleur in 30 lessons, I am on #17), I would never have recognized ‘Gyere ide’ as being come here. Yet I heard that so often in my youth. Now that I am ‘playing’ at learning the language, these moments spark memories in me.

I am doing the Pimsleur method which is mainly a listen and repeat and then answer type of program. They don’t let you see the written word until lesson 15 and then they do so with random words that they tell you about and tell you how to pronounce. Language teacher that I am and in the belief that I know better for my individual learning program, I have transcribed everything I have learned from Lesson one on, first in cursive (because my writing motor skills have almost disappeared) since I always find myself with a keyboard, and then onto a ‘Pages’ table with Hungarian on one side and English on the other. So far, if nothing else, I have improved my cursive.

I am up to Lesson 17 and although the thirty minute lessons are set up to be done one day and then the next one the next day, I have decided that since I have waited this long to study Hungarian on my own (since it is almost impossible to find a program at a university to do so – why didn’t I go to Indiana University?), that I might as well do it right. I am doing each lesson until I get it way over 90% correct, I might even say 98% correct. Then, periodically, I am listening to the beginning lessons all over again. I do that at the gym as I am on the rowing machine.

Okay, I admit to being a little crazy…more to come…

Posted in Hungarian, Language Learning, Life in general, Thoughts and philosophy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oat Milk and dreaming in Hungarian

Okay, so at least ‘Jewels’ has A2 milk!

Our son the chef spoke to us of alternative things we can put in our coffee and he suggested Oat Milk. We tried it and liked it but it just makes me wonder what the ramifications of oat milk and not milk might actually mean. It is not that we cannot have milk, for example, we are not lactose intolerant, so we don’t have to change. Is it really worth it? Yesterday, at a checkup at my doctor’s office, I spoke to her of A2 milk and about how I find it annoying that lactose intolerant people are pretty much unaware that it might well be an alternative for them. We have gotten A2 milk, and I must say that I like it in my coffee. No surprises with my doctor, she told me that she tells her patients who are lactose intolerant to try out the A2. It is great having a holistic-minded doctor.

I was just telling my wife that I was counting in Hungarian in my sleep. Yesterday afternoon, I had done some Pimsleur work, I am up to Lesson 17 in a set of 30 lessons that I have. I am spending more time on them than they expect and working perhaps more slowly. I want to make sure I have really acquired what they have to offer before I move on and figure out my next language move. I was thinking that in the morning, when doing a plank, that I could count back from sixty. I have awakened, gone to the bathroom, and then decided to count back from sixty in Hungarian in my head and thus fell asleep. I then somehow remember continuing to practice. Anyone who knows about the study of Hungarian would tell you that for those of us who speak English, there are few tips and clues in the Hungarian language to be of help, if any at all.

So this morning, I did a plank and counted back from sixty and found it to be a bit of a challenge. I suppose that is what we need at this stage in our lives.

Posted in Life in general, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment