UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Debrecen, Hungary


Hungarian Level 1 Beginners

Course description: Level 1 is for complete beginners or those who have had only very little contact with the language. The course runs over three ten-week terms and each session is two hours long. The course includes all four skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The aim of the course is to enable students to function in simple everyday situations and get by in Hungarian. This includes knowledge of basic vocabulary, grammar, morphology, syntax, and phonetics. The course will cover the following:


  • introducing oneself, friends, and family
  • describing one’s environment: classroom, home, flats, and the city
  • describing how one feels
  • discussing hobbies, activities, and expressing preferences
  • describing, and enquiring about, daily routines
  • buying clothes, and groceries
  • shopping at the market, and in a bookstore
  • ordering in a café and in restaurants
  • numbers, days, months, and dates; simple time expressions


  • introductions and greetings
  • formal and informal forms of address
  • descriptive texts, describing people
  • expressing likes and dislikes
  • describing skills, wishes, plans
  • writing lists; e.g. a shopping list
  • understanding basic directions
  • giving polite orders
  • making requests


  • the plural
  • the indefinite and definite conjugations in the present tense; the infinitive
  • cases: the accusative, some functions of the dative, the primary function of local case suffixes, a few temporal case suffixes, the instrumental
  • agreement patterns (number, cases, especially with pronouns, nouns, and verbs)
  • a few verbal and nominal derivational suffixes;
  • forming adverbs with the -ul/ül suffix
  • negation, questions and word order
  • focalisation and topicalisation: simple word order patters
  • the indefinite and definite conjugations in the present tense; the infinitive
  • the consonants and vowels of Hungarian
  • morphophonemics: vowel harmony
  • existential v. equative sentences

Learning resources:

Course Book

  • Tutor will provide materials

Additional material

  • Dr M. Kovácsi, Itt magyarul beszélnek, Vol. 1., Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó Zrt., Budapest, 1993, 2001.
  • E. Hlavacska E., I. Hoffmann, T. Laczkó, S. Maticsák, Hungarolingua I. Nyelvkönyv Debrecen: Debreceni Nyári Egyetem, 2002.
  • P. Sherwood, A Concise Introduction to Hungarian. London: School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London, 1996.
  • Eszter Tarsoly, Reading Strategies: a Hungarian Graded Reader for Post-graduate Students, ePublication in the CEELBAS Language Repository, UCL/SSEES, 2011.
  • C. H. Rounds, E. Sólyom, Colloquial Hungarian, London: Routledge, 2011.