Detours in Translation

So, I’ve been doing a little bit better with my Hungarian, though this really only means that I can understand a lot now and can still only communicate the basics.  The good news is that I’m not buzzing around quite as far a field during conversations, and I can practically get all of the Monika show (the Hungarian Jerry Springer) and the morning entertainment news with anchors who are Olympic gold medal wrestlers and former Miss Universes .  I suppose it’s like how immigrants to America learn English by watching Law & Order Criminal Intent and So You Think You Can Dance?  And like them I know the penal codes, general taunts and verbose displays of overconfidence.

Sometimes I forget that Györgyi is not a native English speaker.  And because I’m so used to her accent—the first giveaway, I’m only caught off guard when she uses prepositions funny or her odd collection of not-quite-right English sayings.  They’re always hilarious, though, and I can only hope that sometime I can master the same artful inconsistencies in Hungarian.  My favorite of her more colorful mistakes:

Going with the Flow = Floating with the Flood.

If you know any Hungarian, you’ll know how classically Hungarian this mistake is.

For Christmas one of the presents I got her was an urban dictionary, because I felt like, you know what, might as well throw her right into the deep water with some new English.  This has been a hilarious experiment in diction, trust me.

She recently sent me this message in response to a weekend plan idea:

“That would be great, for shizzley.”

And always one to help in such matters, I replied:

“Györgyi, the root phrase is: for shizzle.  Unfortunately it is irregular.  You can say for sheezey, which is what I believe you meant, but you must drop the L.  Don’t get discouraged.  It is very complex.”

Isn’t language brilliant?

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2 thoughts on “Detours in Translation

  1. Just wait untill you start to talktalktalk in Hungarian! 🙂

    Thank you for your patience for being so supportive with my English.

    P.s.: I hope I didn’t have any mistakes in my sentences…

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