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Elmosogattál? Nem, még nem majd megcsinálom. 'Have
you done the washing up? No, not yet, I'll do it later.' So majd is the best term for procrastination, as it literally means
at some point in the future but definitely not right now. And that, sadly, might sum up the Hungarian psyche.
The so-called halogatás, the Hungarian equivalent of procrastination, could actually be a national sport. Let's face it – Hungarians like to leave everything to the next day. Who doesn't?
In terms of grammar, majd is actually a time adverbial, which derives from the word ma and it means 'today', as the Hungarian Etymological Dictionary also confirms. But, funnily enough, it means the complete opposite. If you say you'll do something ma, then you’ll do it by the end of that day but if you’re about to leave it all to procrastination, you say majd – some day when you have time. As the old adage goes: Procrastination is the thief of time! Beware!
The same is true
for ráér – only it's a verb, so has to obey the rules of grammar. This is another term to describe when procrastination once again triumphs
over action – or, indeed, simply indicates that you have spare time. Ráértek? Nem, sajnos
délután nem érünk rá. 'Do you have time? No, sorry, we’re busy this afternoon.' As a phrasal verb (bear with us...), the rá and ér are split when you use it in a negative sense. In that case,'rá' goes at the end of the sentence.
Therefore, when you have a deadline and your boss says Á, ráér, that means that your senior has authorised you to procrastinate. Be grateful, put the kettle on and take your time.
And last but not least, there is a great Hungarian expression pertinent to this time of the year: “Majd ha piros hó esik.” 'When pigs fly' or, literally in Hungarian, 'When red snow falls’, each as likely to happen as the other.