Amexrap’s Rough Guide to Hungarian

After being pointed to E.L’s article entitled Euphemistically Speaking, This May Interest You (Economist May 27th 2011) I was asked to write a language guide for unwitting travellers to Hungary. This guide may also be useful for EU politicians, as Hungary is currently holding the EU’s rotating presidency.

Those who wish to communicate with the Hungarians have to overcome a double language barrier: first they must make sense of the unusual forms of the language, which include Klingon vowels, Penguinese consonants, and a peculiar agglutinative character. Second, once they have recognized individual words and phrases, they must decode the meanings of the utterances at the pragmatic level (this means that they must learn to understand meaning in context). For many, the grammar is incomprehensible, and as for context, it is only after many years of study that most foreigners will begin to appreciate why the entire nation sounds like it is suffering from Tourette’s syndrome.

So, without any further ado, here is the AMEXRAP Rough Guide to Hungarian:

Lexicon or “words” (yes, this is from my entry on another well-known webpage)

Of the seven billion words that exist in Hungarian, 6.5 billion deal with the concept of “money”, or lack thereof. 0.5 billion deal with telling people who don’t have any money to fuck off. This unusual imbalance in the vocabulary points to the fact that many Hungarians are obsessed with money, and that they will do almost anything to get it – except work. Indeed, the philological record indicates that there is no real word in Hungarian for “work”, the only existing lexeme being “munka”, which is a loan word from Slavic, meaning “torture, horror, humiliation”. Those people who do not possess money are referred to in Hungarian as “paraszt(ok)” [‘peasant(s)’]. This unfortunate underclass constitutes 99.9% of the Hungarian population. The other 0.1% of the population are alien overlords, who politicize, run strip bars, copulate with hamsters, stare at their own faeces in specially designed toilets, and generally believe that the world owes them a living, because they are alien overlords.

Grammar – We’ll skip this bit because I can’t be bothered to write it. We’ll just have a look at one frequently mentioned aspect of grammar, which is:

Vowel Harmony (yes, this is also a copy of my own work)
One of the features of the Hungarian language that baffles most people is vowel harmony, a long-distance assimilatory phonological process whereby the same kind of vowel is used throughout a word and any of the subsequent 6589 cases. This feature is thought to have developed to prevent strokes and other cerebrovascular accidents from occurring in earthlings or peasants when they try to communicate in Hungarian. Indeed, in some cases vowel harmony is used throughout entire expressions, as the brain gets stuck using one set of vowels, and cannot stop using them without risk of massive haemorrhage.


  • számba [‘into my mouth’ = back “low” vowel word] vs. seggembe [‘into my arsehole’ = front “high” vowel word]
  • As explained above, in some cases vowel harmony is seen to extend through whole phrases, and although this is an empirically unsound observation, it allows us to pontificate over examples such as A mókus román kurva anyád [‘(Fuck) your Romanian squirrel whore mother!’ = back “low” vowel expression] vs. szopjad szét a büdös kis geci pöcsödet [‘suck your stinking tiny cum-crusted prick til it falls apart’ = front “high” vowel expression]

Now that you have a basic understanding of Hungarian, you may wish to examine the following phrases, à la Johnson:

Now you are equipped with the basics of Hungarian, it remains only for me to say go forth and Magyarize!

Pdf: Amexrap’s Rough Guide to Hungarian

Add your Guide to Hungarian: