Hungarian banks, comedians and food.


Conceding a persistent Eurocentrism, I find this utterly fascinating, but first, on another Magyar note, do you know the origin of the comedian Louis C.K.’s stage name?

C.K.’s stage name is an approximate English pronunciation of his Hungarian surname, Székely (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈseːkej]).

As usual, I’m now craving goulash — not the beef and paprika soup, which is fine, but Székely Goulash.

Kraut and pork and paprika.


Goulash in the melting pot, at American Dirt.

On the corner of an otherwise nondescript strip mall just outside of New Brunswick, New Jersey, I encountered this storefront:

Nothing particularly special about it in the grand scheme of things—nothing that jumps out, just from viewing the exterior.

But the name is distinctive. Magyar. For those not in the know, Magyarország is the word for Hungary…in Hungarian. The word we know to describe this formerly large territory comes from the Roman Catholic Latin word used in the Middle Ages, Hungaria, which is no doubt easier for most Anglophones to say. But “Magyar” is the Hungarian word for the Hungarian language, as well as the demonym Hungarians would use: from their linguistically isolated position in Central Europe (neither Germanic nor Slavic), they refer to themselves as Magyars.

For the same reason that I still receive inquiries about my brewing company from ethnic Albanians …

The name is a tacit shibboleth. Since most Americans who aren’t auditioning for Jeopardy are unlikely to recognize the word “Magyar”, this bank clearly intends to attract those who are in the know—who can make the connection that Magyar is about Hungarians.

There’s more. Go read it.