Learning Hungarian at the Computer09.02.2011.
There are numerous forms of language learning today: one-to-one or learing in groups, self-teaching from books or DVDs, online courses. In this article, we try to povide help to acquiring the Hungarian lagnuage by calling attention to online surfaces that can be best used for language learning, highlighting a portal that has recently been launched and is very useful for this purpose.
Online language education has been increasingly widespread, as it combines the advantages of other forms of language learning. It is avaiable nearly any time and anywhere, and includes writing and reading in the foreign language as well as pronunciation and listening comprehension, and, not least, it is free or available at very low prices. There are several types of online courses, and one of their common features is that users do not need to follow a tight schedule in language learning, they can manage the time spent on learning freely. A dictionary is indispensable for getting acquainted with the Hungarian language. The most popular one, which probably also has the richest vocabulary is the SZTAKI dictionary. The Verb Calculator is an interesting unique program that orients its users in the conjugation of Hungarian verbs, which is not particularly simple. The content of sites that specialise in language teaching in the strict sense shows a great variety. Some of them focus on grammar, some operate with tables or exercises, while others concentrate on extending vocabulary. The mediating language of Hungarian lessons, magyarora.com, magyarultanulok.com, and personal.pse.edu is English in addition to Hungarian.
The first part of e-magyarul, designed for beginners, was prepared at the Balassi Institute, and the outcomes of the development have been available on the web from 2009. E-learning was realised in collaboration with the University of Pécs, and the project was funded by the Prime Minister's Office. The material designed for learners of Hungarian can be most useful for students above age 14 and for adults. The second half of the material, e-magyarul II is also complete and available, but those who click on the page will see that this program requires a more serious command of the Hungarian language. Compared to the firts part, a novelty of the site designed for students of at least intermediate level is that its visitors will find videos illustrating several themes in addition to the readings, games and exercises.
Those who would like to acquaint with the language at the e-magyarul.hu site will need to register first, and then they can download the necessary content. In addition to Hungarian, the service of the site is available in nine other languages: in English, German, Croatian, Slovak, Spanish, Romanian, Ukrainian, Slovene and Serbian. A forum and a collection of useful links supports learning, and tutoring assistance as well as a compendium of tests is in preparation, and will hopefully be available at the site in the near future.
Prospective lerners can count on easy, playful exercises that aim to incite a desire to learn the Hungarian language in the first place. Naturally, one cannot spare all the work necessary for acquiring this ever so difficult language, but the site offers the most complex support possible to this. The material structured to comprise ten modules contains exercises, tables, animations from basic phonetics to everyday conversations, making use of the opportunities that online learning offers. Dvelopers intended to compile a material with the primary aim of helping young people and adults with Hungarian roots to get to know the language, but the material can be useful to anyone who would like to learn this language.
Teaching Hungarian takes place along the lines of the foloowing topics:
- E-magyarul I. gives an introduction to the Hungarian language, and is structured around the main themes of shopping, studies, family, occupation, sport, holidays and everyday situations.
- E-magyarul II. deals with the themes of employment in Hungary, finding an apartment, meals, Budapest, the weather, health, sports, the Internet and media, hobby, the EU and reward. The material begins with an opening test and ends with a final test.
- Authors have found it particularly impoartant to support learning with authentic audio material, therefore they used substantial audio materials related to the different themes in both the first and the second half of e-magyarul.
The dictionary unit is also closely linked to the teaching material, but it can be used separately as well. It is a ten-language simplified dictionary containing one lexical unit for each language. Users of the dictionary can listen to the pronunciation of the words, and the most important grammatical clues are also included. The specialty of the dictionary is that the meaning of certain words is illustrated with pictures. The number of languages and the intention to support learers makes the ten-language dictionary unique among the dictionaries currently available. The IT solution enables supplementing it with further languages.