As I am learning to speak Hungarian I thought I’d use this for the posthuman pedagogy task. I’ve spent a week or two in Hungary these last couple of summers. Total immersion is probably the best way to go; surrounded by sounds, words and local voices. And as few speak English being ’forced’ to try the language definitely works for me. However, the reality is that I have to be a distance learner. For me to learn I need to read and hear at the same time – I can’t just listen. By the end of the course I want the skills of reading, writing and speaking. It’s also important for me to go at my own pace. I’ll probably want to re-do earlier chapters before moving on. These are some of my requirements before I went looking for a course.
To find a suitable course I searched on the Internet and also asked friends. I finally chose the Complete Hungarian by Zsuzsa Pontifexwhich was recommended by a friend who had done a lot of research before making the choice so I benefitted from that. I actually bought the book and CDs when in Budapest but the author does run online courses. Zsuzsa is a native Hungarian who taught for a time in Britain so has a very good understanding of the difficulties Hungarian poses for English speakers. I like the way the lessons the lessons are set up; how the chapters are broken down; exercises given; words and phrases reinforced; and conversations given at normal speed (which is way too fast for me at present). I have to do a lot of travelling to and from schools this year so listening to the CDs is a great way to use the time.
There is also a BBC site that I use to help reinforce phrases which I have the opportunity to download onto mp3, so I can listen on my iPod should I so wish. I also like that this site displays soundwaves as I find it helps with pronunciation.
A native Hungarian recommended that I also watch videos by an Australian who speaks Hungarian. He is known as Ausztrál Tom and is very popular in Hungary partly because he introduces slang terms as well as a little Australian culture. He doesn’t appear to have produced any new videos recently, these are a year old. I find it helpful listening to a non-native speaker and he’s entertaining.
Of course there is so much more I can do to enhance my learning experience. To really get into the feel for the country I can take a virtual tour. Budapest is a beautiful city, lots of history, culture, and wonderful architecture. I can book flights, check out train and shuttle times, find maps and information to other cities, all online. And to find out what’s going on before visiting the city, this site will inform what’s happening locally: http://www.pestiside.hu
It’s great having these technologies at my disposal to use when, where and how I decide. Learning Hungarian is enjoyable (mostly) and it’s a challenge I have set myself although in order to progress I will rely on friends and native Hungarian speakers to encourage and correct my usage.