I just wrote this presentation for next week’s multicultural communication class. Please read it, give suggestions and correct me if i wrote anything inappropriate. Note that it has to fit in three minutes.

Isten, áldd meg a magyart
Jó kedvvel, bőséggel,
Nyújts feléje védő kart,
Ha küzd ellenséggel;
Balsors akit régen tép
Hozz reá víg esztendőt,
Megbűnhődte már e nép
A múltat s jövendőt.

Kölcsey Ferenc: Hymnus a magyar nép zivataros századaiból

What you just heard were the lyrics of the Anthem of Hungary, written roughly one and a half century ago, during the age of reforms, when Hungary was part of the Austrian Empire. That two and a half centuries of German rule did leave their mark on our life. We have loads of German words and even more of their food: for example, my favorite cake is of German origin and name. The Kingdom of Hungary was founded in 1000 by Saint Stephen, after the twelve tribes of Hungarians (in our language: Magyar) occupied the Carpathian Basin. They were nomadic people, ravaging whole Europe, as mercenaries of emperors—or just for the sake of adventure. Oh, and they invented instant soup: dried and ground meat, which could be put into hot water to make a delicious and filling soup. Our language is like that as well: takes whatever it needs from other languages, kind of dries and grinds the parts, and then when needed just throws the parts into the context, and use it as its own. Even though the outer effects, we still can understand the language of a thousand years before (in comparison, Shakespeare’s English needs to be translated for the youth of our age). That time, Hungarian communication style was totally Asian. But since then, Christianity and oppressions changed that, turning it into something very mixed. While the very circular, polite and high-context communication still exists in the polite speech, there’s also a totally western, straightforward and low-context style in everyday life. The slang is so different and so quickly changing, that sometimes it’s difficult even for us to understand. But the quick changing is required in this age, and was before as well. The last five hundred years in Hungarian history was oppressions: first the Turks, who brought their unique lifestyle and language, then the Germans, as I already mentioned, and in the 20th century the Russians. The oppressions also changed the collectivism we brought from Asia to a mixed style, which emphasizes the small and strongly bound communities of families and friends, and try to live on independent of others, due to the distrust of four hundred years. Beside a glass of that famous Tokaj wine, friends debate putting in all their logic and emotions, and yet can carry on later as best friends as if nothing happened. In Hungary, context is very important. The very same words could mean the total opposite in different situations, and sometimes even the intonation stays the same. The oppressions also taught us to have complex opinions and only say the parts appropriate, almost never the whole, as for hundreds of years that’d have costed one’s life…

Ezzel pedig előadásom végére értem, köszönöm a megtisztelő figyelmet.