I have put together this list for you based on my 13 years of experience teaching Hungarian to foreigners.
I hope these tips will help you get started on the right foot or keep you going when you face some hurdles (you know like realizing that “Tessék” has about 6 different meanings or when you get tangled in the those suffixes).
Talk to yourself in Hungarian
Even if you have very little time for learning the language, you can make a habit of talking to yourself in Hungarian while driving, waiting for the bus etc. Say to yourself in Hungarian what you are doing at that particular moment, or what is happening around you. You might find this quite difficult to start off with, but it will get easier with time.
Practice makes perfect
Learning a language is a bit like learning to play a musical instrument: you need constant practice. Doing a little bit on a regular basis is much more effective than long sessions every now and then. Make a habit of setting aside a short study period every day. Remember: language learning can be great fun, but you will not make real progress unless you are prepared to put time and effort into it.
Memorize...the right way
Memorize phrases, even conversations by heart. In real life, having ready-to-use sentences on hand will help you tremendously when conversing. Even if you don’t use exactly the same sentences that you have learnt, they will help you to assimilate structures and vocabulary.
When faced with difficulties, remember that learning a new language might enrich you in all sorts of unforeseen ways: you might be able to make friends with people whom you otherwise would not, or it might open up for you a new way of thinking or a new culture. So be determined to carry on.
Accept it as it is
Every language reflects a different way of thinking, and this is not always logical. Therefore, do not try to find a logical explanation behind every single phenomenon you come across. Just accept that sometimes there is no rule and learn it as it is.
The guessing game
Remember: you will not always be able to understand every single word that people say to you in Hungarian. Therefore, accept the idea of getting the gist of what was said by catching the key expressions and trying to work out the rest from the context.
Remember, you are not a native speaker. Therefore, you are quite likely to have an accent and make mistakes. Try to do your best, but bear in mind that the aim is to understand and be understood (communication!) – not to be perfect.
You are a winner
And finally do not forget that the minute you say something in Hungarian, you are a winner. Hungarians are not used to foreigners speaking Hungarian. Most of them will be touched and impressed if you make an effort with their rare and unusual language.