Monday, May 3, 2010

Hungarian Language & Money

I went to Budapest this past weekend and this was my first visit to Hungary. The city was incredible!! I loved it and I know that I'll be back soon.

But I've got to tell you...the two things that made it a challenge were the language and the money.

Czechs here tend to find it very cool that I'm learning their language. But most other foreigners here wonder why I'm wasting my time with it because it won't do me any good outside of the ČR (or Slovakia). I just feel that since I live here, it's my responsibility to learn the language. I don't know if I would feel the same in Hungary.

Hungarian is unlike anything I've ever come across. Magyar is unrelated to most other languages in Europe. It's spoken in Hungary and by minorities in 7 neighboring countries. The alphabet has 44 letters. It's the only language that has both Ő and Ű, with double acute accent marks.

A, Á, B, C, Cs, D, Dz, Dzs, E, É, F, G, Gy, H, I, Í, J, K, L, Ly, M, N, Ny, O, Ó, Ö, Ő, P, Q, R, S, Sz, T, Ty, U, Ú, Ü, Ű, V, W, X, Y, Z, Zs

I'm pretty good with languages and can usually, at least, muddle my way through. Not here. I couldn't figure anything out. Look at just how different the days of the week are.

Monday = hétfő
Tuesday = kedd
Wednesday = szerda
Thursday = csütörtök
Friday = péntek
Saturday = szombat
Sunday = vasárnap

Hungarian is a highly inflected language in which nouns can have up to 238 possible forms. Fortunately, everyone in Budapest speaks English and/or German, really well.

The Hungarian currency is called the Forint. As a member of the EU, the long-term goal is to replace the Forint with the Euro. Depending on the economic situation, it looks like Hungary will convert sometime around 2014.

The Forint used to be divided into 100 fillér. However, due to inflation, fillér coins haven't been in circulation since 1996.

1 Ft = $0.004927
$1 = 200.39 Ft
1 Kč = 10.45 Ft

It was kind of a pain always having to figure out what everything cost in Dollars and Crowns. The coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Ft. The notes come in 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000 and 20000 Ft. It was like playing with Monopoly money.


  1. Chris, I admire you for your hard work in learning Czech language. You are the opposite of an "ugly American." It's especially admirable since you're a manager in American corporation in the Czech Republic.

  2. The prices are pretty simple in the Hungary... if you know that they are the same as in the CZ:) 10 forints = 1 czech crown -> Just remove the last digit next time:)

    Shopping food in Hungary is also simple since many of the wares are made in CZ or Slovakia with czech/slovak legend so you dont need to know hungarian at all:)

    Visit night Siófok during summer:) It is a ,party town, on the Balaton lake. Pretty cool place

    And I also join in ,gratulálunk, on improving your czech:)


  3. Thanks Karen and Petr for the encouragement. After my brush with Hungarian I really should be getting to my Czech homework now. =)

    Forints to Crowns = take off the last digit.

    Forints to USD = take off the last 2 digits and then divide by two.

    But it gets mentally exhausting sometimes. I know that Greece and Spain are having problems now so it's a good thing that the ČR isn't on the € right now...but it will be nice one day when everyone uses the same currency.

    It must have been a real pain when you also had Deutschmarks, francs, and lire to deal with.