You might have already known this, but Hungarian is one of the hardest languages to learn. This is because, unlike English, it is an agglutinative language. This means that complex words are formed by ’glueing’ together morphemes without changing them in spelling or phonetics. However, this might not be the only reason. In Hungarian, you can express the tiniest changes in motion or emotion, and it is a very colourful, figurative language.

In this article, I will try and show how colourful the Hungarian language can be, and while doing so, maybe I can teach you some new Hungarian words. There is a poem by Gábor Gyimóthy called “Nyelvlecke“, which literally means “Language Lesson”. In this Hungarian poem, the writer is pondering how many ways the Hungarian language can express motion (by foot or feet in this case). As I am not a native English speaker, feel free to tell me if there is a proper English equivalent to any of these words. There are 74 words used in the poem, so in this part, I will walk you through them from A-K.

A, Á

‘andalog’ [ɑndɑlɒg]: the closest would be to stroll, but this has an emotional undertone; usually, it is used to describe couples walking while daydreaming
‘átvág’ [ɑːtvɑːg]: it means to take a shortcut, but in other cases, it could also mean to cut material through

B

‘baktat’ [bɑktɑt]: very similar to trudge, it is also onomatopoeic to Hungarians
‘bandukol’ [bɑndukol]: similar to the previous one, the closest translation I could find is to plod or the phrase amble along
‘battyog’[bɑtjɒg]: similar to trudge, maybe a bit more of a tired walk; someone who walks but has no strength in spirit or is sad
‘beront’ [bɛrɒnt]: powerfully entering a room or a house in a hurried or fast fashion, not caring what is going on on the inside
‘beslisszol’ [bɛʃlissɒl]: quite the opposite, to sneak into a house or skulk, but it does not necessarily need to be unseen; it could be used to describe when a cat gets past you and into the house
‘betér’ [bɛteːr]: to turn on a corner and go into another street or alley but mainly used to describe someone going to a pub or restaurant, or a guest who comes by your house
‘biceg’ [bit͡sɛg]: either an animal or a person that walks with a limp, leaning in a direction when taking a step
‘bitangol’ [bitɑngɒl]: an animal to roam or wander away or even end up in a prohibited space (other pasture), villainously walk or even cause damage to things, like raid, although not as forceful
‘bóklászik’ [boːklɑːsik]: to roam or wander, go around aimlessly, sometimes stop to check out things or to graze in case of an animal
‘botladozik’ [bɒtlɑdɒzik]: to stumble while walking, to describe someone clumsy taking a walk
‘botorkál’ [bɒtɒrkɑːl]: similar, but less literal, someone who is not sure in their steps (in the dark or has bad sight), or someone who does not know the direction

C, Cs

‘császkál’ [tʃɑːskɑːl]: usually referred to animals, meaning to creep around, but it is also onomatopoeic
‘csatangol’ [tʃɑtɑngɒl]: almost the same as ‘bitangol’; when an animal escapes and then starts to wander
‘csavarog’ [tʃɑvɑrɒg]: when a child or animal is away from home and goes around aimlessly
‘cselleng’ [tʃɛllɛŋg]: to loiter around or dawdle, to take an aimless stroll just to spend time
‘csörtet’ [tʃərtɛt]: mainly used when an animal, like a boar, runs through the forest and it makes a lot of noise and is a fast, powerful movement

D

‘dülöngél’ [dyləŋgeːl]: it is close to ‘biceg’, but this is more powerful; it is not just a slight limp, it really is an unsteady movement when something goes from side to side while moving forward, maybe close to lurch

E, É

‘elinal’ [ɛlinɑl]: it combines the meanings of bolt, dash, and flee into one, it is when an animal escapes from you running away, but also to get away from danger
‘elkotródik’ [ɛlkɒtroːdik]: it is most often used when an animal is shouted at and runs away; it suggests that someone runs away shamefully or feeling guilty
‘elódalog’ [ɛloːdalɒg]: when an animal or a person wants to get out of a situation or knows that they did something wrong and cautiously goes away
‘elszökell’ [ɛlsəkɛll]: goes away in a leaping motion, most often the movement of deer is described with it as it is a graceful leaping motion
‘elvándorol’ [ɛlvɑːndɒrɒl]: could mean to literally migrate, but usually it is closer to wander away, for example in a huge field (grazing animal); it also suggests that it moved a long distance

F

‘fut’ [fʊt]: this is easy, it means to run

G, Gy

‘gyalogol’ [gjɑlɒgɒl]: to simply walk, but in some cases, it could also mean a stroll

H

‘halad’ [hɑlɑd]: to move or go in a direction
‘hömpölyög’ [həmpəjəg]: a strong, forceful, but not necessarily fast motion of water, but it can also be used to describe a crowd or a herd

J

‘jár’ [jɑːr]: move, walk, or stroll, but it can be used to say that a clock is working (the hands go around)

K

‘kaptat’ [kɑptɑt]: usually animals, like horses or other load-bearing animals, that go up a hill or incline; it suggests that it is hard to do; sometimes it can be used to describe a person trying to get up a mountain, for example
‘kitér’ [kiteːr]: to dodge or get out of the way of something, like a vehicle, for example
‘kóborol’ [koːbɒrɒl]: almost the same as ‘csavarog’ and similar to ‘csatangol’; to go around without a destination and just wander around, also if a dog escapes from home and is out on the streets
‘kocog’ [kɒcɒg]: to run at a steady pace, to jog
‘kódorog’ [koːdɒrɒg]: same as ‘kóborol’
‘koslat’ [kɒslɑt]: to follow someone, usually a man who is desperate due to unrequited love and follows around a woman trying to win her over; more uncommonly also when a male dog pursues a female dog
‘kószál’ [koːsɑːl]: same as ‘kódorog’ and ‘kóborol’
‘kóvályog’ [koːvɑːjɒg]: when someone does not know the way, is lost and walks around trying to find their way
‘kullog’ [kʊllɒg]: a slow, heavy movement, usually lagging behind others or the rest of the herd, also in a despondent, or even in a hunched, bent posture

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Source: Szepi.hu, Daily News Hungary

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