Boost your Hungarian with dialogues #1: The power of dialogues

If you are learning a foreign language, then you must have come across many dialogues on your language learning journey. Language learning methodology has changed tremendously during the past decades; however, you can find dialogues in almost every coursebook, no matter when they were published. Why are dialogues so important? The answer is easy: your ultimate aim with learning a language is to be able to communicate in that language. And what best resembles this goal? Dialogues.

Listening to and reading dialogues is an incredibly powerful tool in boosting your language skills. In this article series we’ll give you some tips on how to make the most out of dialogues, and we’ll give you some ideas where you can find Hungarian dialogues.

But before we get into the tips and tricks part, let’s have a look at some dialogues.

– Van szemüveged?
– Nincs szemüvegem. És neked?
– Nekem sincs szemüvegem.
– Tamásnak van szemüvege?
– Igen, neki van szemüvege.

-Do you have glasses?
– I don’t have glasses. And you?
– I don’t have glasses either.
– Does Tamás have glasses?
– Yes, he has glasses.

This dialogue is not actually a real dialogue; it uses simple drills to practice grammar (in this case, the possessive structure). Modern textbooks tend to use less and less of these kinds of dialogues and try to aim for natural language use, but you might come across dialogues like that. They are not necessarily bad, but you need to keep in mind that the main purpose of these artificial dialogues is to drill a pattern, and not to imitate real-life conversations.

– Miért nézel így?
– Nem is tudom. Valami furcsa rajtad. 
– Ez így igaz. Gondolkozz! 
– Nincs szemüveged?
– Soha nem is volt szemüvegem.
– Barna a hajad.
– Mindig is barna volt a hajam. De közel jársz.
– Á, rövid a hajad!
– Bravó! Tegnap voltam fodrásznál. Ah, pasik…

– Why are you looking at me like this?
– I don’t know. There’s something strange on you.
– That’s true. Think.
– You don’t have glasses.
– I have never had glasses.
– Your hair is brown.
– I have always had brown hair. But you’re getting close.
– Ah, your hair is short!
– Congrats! I was at the hairdresser’s yesterday. Ah, guys…

This dialogue also presents lots of possessive structures (though at a little bit higher level, as it contains past tense as well), but in a casual way, that you can hear in real life.

While with the first dialogue you cannot really do a lot (only learn the pattern and drill), the second one gives you loads of opportunities to improve your Hungarian, even if you are at an elementary level and you only have a surface level understanding of what’s being said.

In the second part of our article series we are going to show you 18 tips on how to make the most out of dialogues. 

If you can’t wait to read the 18 tips, consider joining us on Patreon; the full article is already available as a 19-page-long study guide for our Patrons here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/40424442


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