"The man is at home."

Translation:A férfi otthon van.

June 30, 2016

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I thought that the "van" would be optional in a sentence like this (unless wanting to emphasise that the man IS at home, rather than isn't) ?


In this case, we put emphasis that the man IS at home, and we don't want to specify what he is doing there. "A férfi otthon ül" (the man is sitting at home) could be the opposite. This optional use of "van" is not quite consequent. There are certain cases when you could leave it out but it would leave a strange "hole" in the sentence. "A férfi otthon" leaves the question hanging in the air about his action. Therefore we put the "van" there to complete the sentence.


I actually think this explanation is more confusing than accurate.

"A férfi otthon ül" doesn't relate to "van" at all, neither in Hungarian, nor in English. "otthon" is an adverb of location and the verb is "ül".

For "van" - when you have an adverb in the sentence (typically an adverb of location, just like here), you should use "van". When you only link nominals to each other ("the teacher is my son"; "she is smart", "they are Englishmen"), there is no "van" or "vannak".


It's comments like this that really help me understand this awesomely complex language :D


I understand now - thanks!


I don't understand the word order. I thought it was supposed to be very flexible.


Indeed. I wrote "A férfi van otthon" and was told I'm wrong? Does it really sound bad from the point of view of a native speaker?


Although the word order is flexible, each order has a slightly different meaning.

"A férfi van otthon" would only have sense if you wanted to emphasize that that person staying at home is no other than the man. So in a conversation like this: "-Is everyone at home? -No, only the man is at home." So you would still need to add the word "just". So your sentence would look like this: "Csak a férfi van otthon." What you wrote is still grammatically correct, but a bit weird.


Köszönöm :)


Okay then. Thanks for the reply :)


otthon is an adverb which means "at home"? is it made of some other word using some grammatical case? could anyone explain it to me?


Yes. It is both an adverb and a noun, same as in English. It is a compound of the stem hon (meaning home/homeland) and the corresponding prepositions. In the static verb form:

  • ott + hon = there at home
  • itt + hon = here at home

to adress the direction "to" the stem changes into haza:

  • haza = to home
  • oda + haza = to that home
  • ide + haza = to this home

To address the direction "from", the first form is kept and suffixed the usual way:

  • otthon + ról = from that home
  • itthon + ról = from this home

As a noun, you can use otthon for home, and haza for native land, eg. idősotthon / idősek otthona = elders' home


Long story short - you can analyze "otthon", "itthon" and "haza" etymologically but these aren't regular word formations or "cases" that you can just use for whatever word. :) Unlike -ról in otthonról or -ban in házban.

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