Boost your Hungarian with dialogues #2: 18 tips to make the most out of dialogues

In the first part of our article series (here) we told you why dialogues are an incredibly powerful tool to boost your Hungarian. In this article we are showing you 18 tips on how to make the most out of dialogues.

Let’s see another dialogue that we have written to teach the word “hív”.
You can listen to it here:

1.

First, listen to the dialogue without reading the script. For the first listening, try to get a gist of the dialogue: who are talking? Where are they? What is the topic?

Apa és lánya. – Dad and daughter.
Otthon vannak. – They are at home.
Telefonhívás. – Phone call.

2.

For the second or third listening, try to collect more information about the context. Listen to the dialogue as many times as you want.

Késő van. – It’s late.
Egy fiú telefonál. – A boy is calling.
Az apa nem tudja, ki telefonál. – The dad does not know who’s calling.

3.

As you are listening, you can scribble down words that you understand. This is not only a good way to sharpen your ears, but it also improves spelling, and you can do it even if you are a complete beginner.

Telefon, tényleg, ki, én, tud, minden, holnap, csak, este, 11

4.

If you are an intermediate/advanced learner, you can try to write down the words that you DON’T understand and check the spelling and meaning later.

Osztálytás?* Haggyámár?*
(*osztálytárs, hagyjál már)

5.

You can also try to write down the whole dialogue, or at least some sentences, and check the spelling later on.

– Sári! Csörög a telefonod!
– Ténleg*? Ki hív ilyen késön*?
(*tényleg, későn)

6.

After you have listened to the dialogue a couple of times without reading the script, listen to the dialogue AND read the script at the same time, as many times as you wish. Check if your assumptions and notes were correct.

  • Sáááááári! Csörög a telefonod!
  • Tényleg? Ki hív ilyen későn? 
  • Hát, azt én is szeretném tudni. 
  • Ah, már megint Feri.
    Mostanában mindennap hív…
    Majd visszahívom holnap.
  • Ki az a Feri? A barátod? 
  • Csak egy osztálytársam.
  • Aki mindennap hív?
    Még este 11-kor is?
  • Jaj, apa, hagyjál már!
  • Sáááááári! Your phone is ringing!
  • Really? Who is calling so late?
  • Well, I would also like to know that.
  • Agh, it’s Feri again.
    Nowadays he calls me every day…
    I’ll call him back tomorrow.
  • Who is Feri? Your boyfriend?
  • He’s just a classmate (of mine). 
  • Who calls you every day?
    Even at 11 o’clock at night?
  • Oh, Dad, leave me alone.

7.

In case you don’t have the audio of the dialogue, just the script: first just skim through the text and get a general picture of the context before diving into the details.

8.

And now it’s time to take a closer look at the text. Take a pen and a notebook, open a document or create a Quizlet / Anki / Memrise set to organize your notes.

9.

You can focus on new words. First, try to get the meaning from the context and then check the translation to see if your assumptions were right. (If there’s no translation provided, consult a dictionary.)

csörög = to ring
mostanában = nowadays
osztálytárs = classmate
hagy = to leave

NOTE: You don’t need to learn all the new words. Learn the ones that you really need and would like to know.

10.

You might find words that are already part of your vocabulary, but not in the same meaning, or you haven’t seen it in this context. Make notes about these, too.

Hmm, I know “még”, it means “yet”. But it does not make sense here. Oh, so it means “even” as well?

I know “hagy”, it means “to leave”. “Hagyjál már!” is “Leave me alone!”? Cool!

11.

Learning new words is not enough; learning expressions is just as important as the words themselves.

csörög a telefon = the phone is ringing
már megint = (once) again
Hagyjál már! = Leave me alone!

12.

You can just as well note down and memorize full sentences that you think will be useful for you in the future.

Hát, azt én is szeretném tudni. = Well, I would also like to know that.
Majd visszahívom holnap. = I’ll call him back tomorrow.

13.

You may also focus on grammar: try to find patterns, rules that you are already familiar with.

Ah, yes, here are some examples for the possessive. “A telefonod – your phone, a barátod – your boyfriend”. Oh, I always forget to use the definite article with the possessive, but here it is, they indeed use it like this.

14.

Then you may concentrate on items that you don’t know yet. You may try to figure out the rules by yourself, but if you want to make sure you really get the meaning and the rule right, make a note and consult your teacher on your next lesson. (You may try to ask a native speaker as well, but they can’t always explain the rules. 🙂 )

Wait a minute… Why is it “csak EGY osztálytársam”? Why not “csak AZ osztálytársam?” Oh, the translation says “a classmate of mine”. So then “just a friend of mine” would be “csak EGY barátom”? I’ll ask my teacher next time.

15.

Pay attention to fillers and interjections; these tiny words are inevitable parts of casual speech.

Hát, Ah, Jaj

16.

Okay, now you have listened to the audio, read the script, focused on the details – what else can you do? If you like translating, you can test yourself: take the Hungarian script and translate it to your language, or if the English (or other) translation is provided, try to translate that back to Hungarian. If your version is not exactly the same as the original, but you feel that your translation is right as well, consult your teacher.

17.

You can improve your pronunciation with dialogues: you can stop the recording sentence by sentence and repeat what you’ve heard, or you may echo one role or the other and “act out” the dialogue along with the audio recording. You may as well record yourself saying the sentences and compare the two recordings.

18.

Last, but not least, you can come up with your own text/sentences based on the dialogue:

Sajnos túl sokszor csörög a telefonom. = Unfortunately my phone rings too many times.
Engem senki nem hív este 11-kor. = Nobody calls me at 11 at night.
Nem beszélek mindennap senkivel. = I don’t talk with anybody every day.

IMPORTANT: never memorize a sentence or expression that you wrote by yourself and was not checked by your teacher or at least a native. However, feel free to use these expressions when you talk to natives and ask them if it’s correct.

Get a free, printable, 1-page-long summary of the tips here:

Would you like to test these tips with another dialogue? Check out our public dialogues on our YouTube channel:

In the last part of our article series about dialogues we are going to show you some places where you can find dialogues to work with.

If you would like to read the whole, extended article in the form of a 19-page-long Study Guide, consider joining us on Patreon and download the Study Guide from here:


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