SEPT 1 BECSENGETTEK

September 1 at 8:00 is a date school kids dread but their parents are a bit released that their children’s vacation is over. Becsengettek i.e. the school bell has been rung (BE + CSENG + ET + TEK – in + ring + verb suffix + 3rd person plural past tense). The noun is CSENGŐ i.e. bell (ringer).

The Hungarian public education is state-run and has a strict unified national curriculum. School starting age is 6 or 7 preceeded by a 2-3-year óvoda (pre-school). School leaving age is 16 but the vast majority of students attend secondary school ending with an ÉRETTSÉGI (”maturity” exam and certificate) entitling them to do further studies in higher education.

Teachers are officially called PEDAGÓGUSOK (pedagogues but without its pedantic overtone in English, closer to ’educator’) but the addressing forms are Tanár Úr! and Tanárnő! (Mr/Ms Teacher), however in the lower primary school Tanító Néni! or Tanító Bácsi! (Aunt/Uncle Teacher).