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?