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Updated: Mar 20, 2021

These are just a few of the basic phrases. Still, in most countries, the locals appreciate if you do try and use a little bit of their language, so don't be shy, and if they laugh at you, at least you have broken the ice and possibly become friends or even drinking buddies for the night. You will also learn a little about the people themselves, which is what travelling is all about.


Szia! ( See-Yaw)

Basically, it means 'hi!' but it can also mean goodbye. Double it up for a friendly 'szia-szia' when you're leaving friends.

Hogy vagy? ( Haw-j Vah-j) ( j as joke)

how are you?' Make sure you ask this only if you really want to know how the other person is, as this question is likely to elicit a long, detailed explanation of everything happening in their life - good or bad.

Mennyi az idő? (Man-yee aw-z id-err)

What time is it?' It can be a useful phrase when wondering how many more pints you can fit in at the end of the night.

Jó napot (yoh nah-poht)

Good Morning/Day

If you want to be formal, you can use it as a general greeting, no matter the time of day.

Viszontlátásra (vee-sont-lah-tash-rah)


This is very formal, so it shouldn't be used to say goodbye to your friends.

The short version is viszlát (vee-slaht).

Elnézést (el-neh-zesht)

Excuse me

If you want to ask somebody for something, this is an expression to begin your request.

Köszönöm (kew-sew-newm) / Köszi (kew-see)

Thank you / Thanks

Köszönöm can be used in any situation, while köszi is informal and should be avoided when addressing older people.

Nem értem / Nem beszélek magyarul (nehm ehr-tehm / nehm be-say-lek ma-djar-oohl)

I don’t understand / I don’t speak Hungarian.

It's all terrific to say a few Hungarian phrases and probably appreciated, but when they reply in Hungarian, you might need to reply with this phrase.

Egy sört / bort / pálinkát kérek (edj shewr-t / bohr-t / pah-link-ah-t keh-rek)

I want one beer/wine / pálinka, please.

This phrase definitely will come in useful but can be a little more difficult after a few Pálinkas

Egészségedre (ag-esh-sheg-ad-reh)

Cheers / Bless you

Egészségedre (literally meaning ‘to your health’) is said when glasses are raised for a toast. Don’t forget to look into each other’s eyes while saying it; otherwise, it will bring you seven years of bad luck. This phrase is also said when somebody sneezes.

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