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Everybody has his own motivation
Most people study English and German because these languages are the most well-known all over the world. These are useful languages for work and also for everyday life because if you speak English the world expands. Recently I met several people who do not speak either English or German and their opportunities are limited in so many ways. Imagine the situation when you are really into a certain song but you have no idea what it is about because you do not speak English. So this leads us to the fact that knowing foreign languages is important and English is a must, in my opinion. But what is the case with other languages, like Hungarian? To pick up a new language, that you do not need, you usually need personal reason, a unique experience. Maybe you have met someone from that nation or something happened that made you become interested in that language. Let’s see why a man from Switzerland wants to speak Hungarian!
When did you start your Hungarian studies?
I began to learn almost 3 years ago. Sometimes I had more time for it and sometimes I had to give it a break. I have 3 sons so it is not easy to keep up with the studying but I am a very ambitious person so I never gave up.
How many languages do you speak?
When I was young, my first foreign language that I picked up was French and then I acquired English, Italian, Spanish, German and now Hungarian is in progress. It is hard I have to say. My dad was also pretty good with languages, he studied Italian, German, its Swiss version, and he also speaks Hungarian but unfortunately he never taught me any Hungarian words.
WOW! Why did your father study Hungarian and why did not he teach you?
Actually he is Hungarian. He moved to Switzerland after the events of 1956. This is the reason why he knows these two languages. I never knew why he had not want to teach me, but as I grew up and learned about what had happened back then I realized that he just wanted to forget about it. I always thought that I had original Swiss parents because my dad spoke so perfectly and acted like a true Swiss man, but once one of my girlfriend asked me what kind of an accent we spoke. I was shocked and told her that it was just Swiss German. So this is the reason why I wanted to speak Hungarian, why I am interested in the culture and the language, because it is a part of me.
Do you want your sons to study Hungarian too? Do you recommend them this opportunity at our university?
I do not expect anything. They do not have to study this language because of their grandpa or because of me. It is totally up to them. If they want I will be happy. This program is really good, interactive, we talk a lot, there are cultural programs too, so overall, it is a great program for somebody who is interested in the Hungarian feeling.
How do you like Hungary?
I like it a lot! It is a wonderful place, I am always happy to come here and I think we come here quite often, 4 or 5 times a year. I have a cousin living in the capital and I have another cousin, too but I do not know her. I tried to find them on facebook because they do not have a typical Hungarian name but it did not turn out as a success. My dad’s brother died and I do not exactly know where they lived, where our family comes from.
I hope once you will meet her.
Thank you very much. Maybe by the time it happens I will speak perfect Hungarian.
I am sure, you already speak nearly better than me! Is this your first time in this summer school?
No, this is my second time here. I really enjoyed it last year and I also made some great friends too. Actually after the previous Summer School I was so inspired that I wrote the anthem of this Hungarian summer school and I hope that this summer we can make a music video for it.
What is the song about?
It has a very simple lyric because I wanted to make it understandable for everyone at the program. It is especially made for this event. It talks about our experiences that summer comes and we come here to Pécs to study this amazing but difficult language and it is not easy but we are having a great time together. It has several different parts, there is a part which is modern, there is one which has the flavour of Hungarian folk music and there is also part which includes rap.
Sounds great! Can’t wait to hear it. What do you think, will you come back next summer?
Thank you! I do not know, anything can happen, but I hope so. I really like it, I love the city, it is so beautiful and of course there is always something new to study. I already learned a lot, this program is organised at a very professional level, if anybody wants to learn how to speak Hungarian, just come here!
Attila Horváth, UnivPécs