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Budapest - is it difficult to communicate if you only speak English?

Budapest - is it difficult to communicate if you only speak English?

Jul 28th, 2007, 07:12 AM
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Budapest - is it difficult to communicate if you only speak English?

We will be visiting Budapest in Sept. Are there a lot of language problems there? I was in Tanzania and Italy recently and most people spoke English. I am reading the tour books and it is difficult to really understand some of them??????????

roma_allen is offline  
Jul 28th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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We had no problems last year in budapest. At the hotel, restaurants and tourist Office they speak English; we visited the Parliament and the Synagogue with English guide. We had a travel book in English.
Adrian45 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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Hi RA,

About the same as visiting Prague, I believe.

Most of the people involved in the tourist and hospitality businesses will have some English.

ira is offline  
Jul 28th, 2007, 07:53 AM
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We went to Budapest in May and most people we spoke to spoke excellent english. Some spoke less English but still we communicated without any problems. The only slight problem for us was using the maps. Some of the names of roads/areas etc. consist of letters which we are not used to seeing 'together' and so are not committed to memory very easily or very easily spoken by an English speaker. You get used to it in the end
EnglishOne is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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As above, you should have no problem on a tourist level. Just learn a few basic words. As for the pronunciations . . . it’s best left to Magyars.

Ian is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 11:56 AM
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Also, after our visit, Budapest became one of my most loved cities. So much to see and enjoy!
EnglishOne is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 12:18 PM
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Hungarians are used to visitors not knowing their language. I think they actually take pride in having a language that they describe as difficult.

As a matter of manners, I think it good to ask first if the person with whom you are dealing speaks English. The usual answer is "a little" but people try their best to accommodate you.
Padraig is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 12:50 PM
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While we were in Budapest last fall we had absolutely no problems knowing only English. We made a point to say hello and thank you in Hungarian, but besides that we knew absolutely nothing else. We were amazed at how well most of the Hungarians we came in contact with spoke English.
bailey6325 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 01:25 PM
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Padraig> I think they actually take pride in having a language that they describe as difficult.

Especially Hungarian refugees. I married a ’56 departee. She insists on correcting every Hungarian word I try to speak. When I was driving, she navigated. I would see a sign & say “We’re passing blah-blah”. She would look at the map & say, “I don’t see a “blah-blah”. This would go back & forth and then she would say “Oh . . . you mean (insert incomprehensible Magyar word here).” Meanwhile we would be past the turn etc.

If you stray off the beaten path, English gets rarer, although anybody under 25 will have taken some classes in school & might be able to help. Good old charades-style sign language works everywhere.

Ian is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 03:00 PM
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Hungarian is a hard language to learn. No doubt about that. After dating a hungarian lady for couple years, I could only manage "How are you", "The weather is nice", "What do you want to drink", "I love you", and "I am so sorry"! AND.... "Let's make love". The last two were very handy, actually.
Jul 31st, 2007, 03:02 PM
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I normally learn a few phrases of the local language. We went to Prague and Budapest last year and after looking at a few of the word I decided this wasn't going to work.

I was a bit surprised when I saw that virtually everybody in both places spoke English. They learned the ways of capitalism very quickly.
Myer is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 03:11 PM
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Hi roma_allen,

I was in Hungary in 2004 and didn't have many problems in terms of a language barrier, everyone was very helpful and we always managed to work things out.
However, I suggest that you do try to learn a few basics in Hungarian, as a show of respect and courtesy. Try a website like travelang.com where you can not only read the words in hungarian but have a voice say them for you so you know how to properly pronounce them. Trust me, a little effort before departure will make your trip that much more enhoyable.

Enjoy Budapest, its an amazing place and the people are warm and wonderful.

aucho53 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 07:36 AM
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Hi Roma, I was in Budapest 2 years ago I found most places that were well populated with tourists most people spoke English and I had very little difficulty communicating. When we wandered outside most of the areas where the usual tourists go, less people spoke English but I agree with Ian knowing a few words and pointing I was able to communicate well enough. I hope you enjoy your time there, it is a wonderful city.
Kepen is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 06:45 PM
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I was there in 2003 and also had no problems. Hungarian is one of the only languages that doesn't have much in common with any other languages (only a bit with Finnish), so I think it's pretty much expected for most tourists not to speak any of it You won't have any problems.
smartcookie is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 06:33 AM
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Echoing the posts above, in most places in Budapest you'll have no trouble speaking only English. We were there in 2005 and found that everyone we encountered spoke fluent English and/or German, and many spoke some French. Nearly all restaurants provided us with menus in English and we found it very easy to navigate the city using maps and guidebooks.

Budapest easily became one of our favorite cities. Enjoy your trip! I can't wait to go back.
617amyc is offline  

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