Item description for Hungarian Phrase Book & Dictionary (Berlitz Phrase Books) by Berlitz Editorial Staff...
Whether you'd like to converse with the locals on a Danube River boat or soak with the best in Budapest's famous baths, the Berlitz Hungarian Phrase Book has all the expressions you need to know. Perfect for both business travelers and vacationers, this easy-to-use, color-coded book contains phrases for you to communicate with confidence and travel with ease. The Berlitz phrase book is the unparalleled market leader in its category.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Hungarian Phrase Book & Dictionary (Berlitz Phrase Books)?
The Second Best One Sep 24, 2004
This phrasebook used to be the best of the few on the market, and is still quite good. It is very well-organized, with all the most necessary (neither too basic, nor too complicated) phrases listed arranged thematically, thus being easy to find. I personally found the "phonetical transcription" of Hungarian used in it more confusing than helpful, but as that stands in a separate column it is blissfully easy to ignore it. However adding a few more pages to introduce the basics of Hungarian grammar (VERY different from English!) at the front would be very useful to those who feel like trying to make their own sentences...
Is it necessary? Living in the Hungarian capital myself, I can say with certainity that most Hungarians DON'T speak any English even in Budapest - only those working in the tourism industry, or the brighter youngsters do. And if you venture into the countryside, the amount of English, or indeed any foreign language spoken drops even further! So if you only plan to spend a few days in Budapest, basing yourself in nice hotels and eating out in good restaurants, you can certainly do without a phrasebook. But if you want to explore the country in any depth, it's worth carrying this book with you.
And a tip: Lonely Planet published a new Hungarian Phrasebook in March 2005. It has both grammar and dictionary in addition to covering phrases arranged thematically, so that book is the one I find better than this one!
Completely worthless Jul 13, 2003
If I'd give it zero (which I may be able to but don't know how), I would. There are some general problems with the book listed next and a really really BAD problem listed at the end. If you're going to a major city in Hungary, say Budapest, don't bother with this book. Almost everyone there speaks English anyway so to the extent that you need to learn phrases like "thank you", "please", etc. just to be polite, you can use the language index from a regular old guidebook like Fodors. Even if you do go out into the country, you won't be able to use much more that what's in the guidebooks anyway. After all, a few key phrases and lots of pointing and smiling will get you farther than being able to say lots of complicated phrases in Hungarian. Sure I can phoenetically babble all the mumbo jumbo I want, but that doesn't mean that I can actually communicate something with someone in Eastern Europe. And THE WORST THING ABOUT THIS BOOK! is the fact that the phonetic notation that it uses is almost worse than actual Hungarian (which is saying a lot.) You'll find yourself constantly referring back to the index to figure out how to pronounce the ae indicator that they use. This is worthless. Is it really that hard to write out the sounds as you would say them in English? We never could figure out how to say most of the words in the book b/c the phonetic notation was so cumbersome. Almost considered leaving it in our hotel room in Budapest (not sure why we brought it back.)