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  • Writer's picture Kester Eddy

Hungary's Third Most Popular Foreign Language? Updated

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

At least, According to Examinations Taken - KesterTester 25

Photo: Students in an English lesson c 1991 - A Class at International House Budapest

A different kind of KesterTester today - very unexpected as I have another one lined up, which will come a bit later now.

Hungarian teachers and folk into education here may well know this, or at least where to find the answer, but you are not allowed to look it up - no googling allowed on this one! Just for fun - well, sort of fun - just try to guess.

I'm doing two stories on Language Education in Hungary right now for the BBJ (I'll post links when it's on line in about three weeks) and on the way I discovered a couple of interesting facts.

Well, I asked around, and Zoltán Rozgonyi, head of Euroexam International, first put me onto this. Then I did some digging and found out some more. We're talking about state accredited language exams here, mark you.

Ah - another point - Zoltán's data come from an average number of exams taken over 15 years. I've just checked, and this language was not in third place last year.

I would not have guessed it. A bit of knowledge regarding Hungarian history in the 70-80s might help.

Anyway, based on Zoltán's 15 years of data:

Most popular language to be examined in Hungary is ........ ?

Second most popular - ditto ................................. is ..... ?

Look, as you know, I'm a kind hearted kind of bloke, I don't like to cause stress, so I'll let you into a secret ... number 1 is English, and number two is German.

Me? I'm just too soft me :)

So what is number three?

And here's the cruncher: Which language is the worst for failures, as a proportion of those taken?

Of course, for the lucky winner, the global fame and celebrity status will still be the same - and the fabulous winning prize for this one has been made even more fabulous - you can buy me three beers :)

Oh - and I'lll publish the winner of KT24 here tomorrow - still time to enter!

UPDATE - Apologies for being late with answers and the GLORIOUS WINNER of KT24.

I thought this would be an easy one, but I received only 5 1/2 correct entries. (Sorry, David, but "The lady stands beneath a bridge in Budapest but as I live in a remote valley in Kent it is not possible to check which one. The girder arrangement is the clue", is not quite good enough, the Committee judged." However, I agree with you, the girder arrangement was a glaring clue that I'm surprised more didn't spot. )

Some of the answers were very detailed, including Hubert "Poirot" Warsmann, who replied: "This is Margit Hid and one of the statues of Adolphe Thabard. Signification is not clear or lost, although they are clearly mythological figures, some claim they are themes around Herakles and Athena Nike, other claim they portray values like Strength etc." Priit Pallum, now in his new parish of Athens, and so well equipped to know, wrote: "Margit hid/ Margaret Bridge. As all important things are/were originally Greek, She is Nike, Greek goddess of victory. Original author – Frenchman Adophe Thabard. The other sculpture on the same bridge ( pillars) is equally Greek, Hercules."

All names (actually, their numbers) went into the fully accredited black wooly hat to pick the winner, whose entry read: "The busty ladies adorn Margit hid. They look very Parisian IMO. She seems to be holding a fasces, a bundle of rods symbolising justice and, as you may know, the origin of "Fascism". Justice is not usually winged though (victory is). If the bundle of things she is carrying is corn she could symbolise abundance or whatever."

And later added: "Another look makes me think she is carrying a sheaf of corn. There is quite a lot of fruit and veg in the decoration too."

And with this, it only leaves me to ask for the traditional drum role to announce a certain Tom Chilton has won his second KesterTester victory (or perhaps his third - he's a regular entrant), and the fabulous first prize right to buy me two beers :)

Now, I'll leave you to ponder the language questions in KT25 above :)

310 views7 comments


Feb 28, 2021

Dear Remush, according to my research there's a well organised maffia built around the Esperanto exam in Hungary :) and I'm serious. Yes Esperanto is much quicker to learn but not quite as quick as those students are made to believe. Especially when passing the Rigó utca Esperanto exam is virtually impossible unless you paid the astronomical fees of the Esperanto prep gang. While Esperanto is a lovely idealistic idea, it's role in Hungary is an absolute shame, shame on the regulatory bodies, shame on the universities (who would have the freedom of not accepting it) and shame on Elte-ITK that keeps offering the Esperanto exam while knowing very well that it's a scam. Oh and shame on the maffia…

Mar 11, 2021
Replying to

Feb 27, 2021

Esperanto is third (3%) with 70% of failures, what according to Zoltán Rozgonyi, chairman of Nyelvtudásért, proves that Esperanto is not the easiest language to learn.

Obviously he doesn't know anything about Esperanto, and he has no experience in conducting an unbiased research on the reasons why there are so many failures.

Ask Dr. Katalin Kováts at about this.


Feb 04, 2021

Could be Chinese coming in third with English and French first and second?


Feb 04, 2021

Russian, 3rd language. Most failed: English

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