Conjugate The Verbs Or Learn The Words?

The age-old dilemma of language learning.  Does one study the grammar first and learn to speak it properly, or should efforts be focused on learning the vocabulary in order to conduct conversations?  The first way used to seem more popular, but the latter has recently gained ground.

Personally, I stick with the "Alex Method" of learning how to order beer, and the rest comes naturally.  But, that's neither here nor there.

This is all in my mind because I, again, should be conjugating verbs for my Hungarian lesson.  Instead, just like last time, I'm writing this.  I don't spend all my time on verbs, this is the same homework assignment as before.  I was given a lot of last minute tasks and had to admit to my teacher that I hadn't done my homework.  This was much more embarrassing now that I'm also a teacher.

For dinner tonight, my parents and I went to a restaurant in Békéscsaba that specializes in Transylvanian food (convenient because of my latest trip, isn't it?).  The place was decorated in the style of a peasant house, and I really enjoyed it.

The menu, however, was in Hungarian or German.  My dad knows some German, so he read that.  I put my Hungarian skills to the test and read that version.  Depending on who you talk to, it was a success.

My dad and I each ordered a different soup.  When it arrived, we figured out we ordered the same soup - in two different languages.

My mom was nervous about ordering something blindly, so I translated a dish for her as "Chicken-Something with Mushroom-Something in the Transylvania style".  Using the German menu, my dad figured out the "Mushroom-Something" was "Mushroom-Sauce".  She was relieved and ordered.

Now, we encountered the part where we debated the successfulness of my translation.  She was given "Chicken-Something with Mushroom-Sauce in the Transylvania style", so I was quite proud of myself.

"Something" turned out to be livers - apparently that's not what she wanted.  She tried to eat it, but didn't really enjoy it.  I felt bad that she didn't get a meal she liked, and immediately asked her if she was impressed at my Hungarian skills.  Only my mother wouldn't hit me at this point.  This is why there's a special day devoted to mothers.

If it makes her feel better, my "Transylvanian style Ham-Something" wasn't exactly what I expected.  It should've been called "Transylvanian style Ham-FAT with a few bites of Ham".  This is why people love picture menus.

Hungarian word of the day:


Pronounced Seh-lone-tsue-core.  It is a small candy that is traditionally hung from the decorated Christmas trees in Hungary.  Some of my classes have been asking what the name is in English, and others tell me there isn't a name.  Too bad they don't talk to each other.  I confused the two yesterday and was lauged at - "There is no name for this in English, Alex, it's called Szaloncukor.  What are you talking about?"