"Jó estét kívánok!"

Translation:Good evening!

June 30, 2016

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Weird sentence structure huh.. anyone mind explaining it to me?


Good evening I wish. You can drop the 'kívánok" part, then it truly becomes "good evening". This is the normal word order with these pleasantries. And, in general, being an agglutinative language, all the little details are packed into the main words, thus the word order is pretty flexible. Many times you can use 'order of importance' for word order.


But wouldn't packing all the details into the front limit word order? I am puzzled by this...


Not in the front but in the related words. Let's take a simple example:

"I am reading a book".
Now, the "I am reading" part is especially strictly structured. You can't play around with the word order. Right?
Well, "I am reading" translates to a single word in Hungarian: "Olvasok". Yes, that's it. It has an inner structure - a verb root plus a first person suffix. But the beauty of it is, you can put this word anywhere within a sentence, it does not change its inner structure. Because that is embedded in the single word.
So, this in itself results in fewer words in the sentence, and more freedom at the word level. These more restrictive relations between words are transformed into single words with a well-organized inner structure.
"I am reading a book" can be:

"Olvasok egy könyvet"
"Könyvet olvasok"
"Egy könyvet olvasok"

They mean the same thing. But the "I am reading" structure is the same in all three.

Or let's take "I did not want to go" - six words
"Nem akartam menni" - three words in Hungarian.

Less rules, more freedom in the word order. Of course, there are rules for the word order in Hungarian, too. But they are much less restrictive.

Or let's take this classic example: "the cat eats the dog". Or simply "cat eats dog". Who is eaten by whom? How can you tell? By the word order only. But if the subject and object were clearly marked, we would be able to shuffle the words, it would not change the fate of the dog. That's the point of the accusative suffix.

"Cat" - "macska"
"Dog" - "kutya"

Dog in accusative - "kutyát"

"A macska eszi a kutyÁT"
"A kutyÁT eszi a macska"
"Eszi a kutyÁT a macska"
The word order does make some difference but, invariably, the dog is dinner.

So, the bottom line is, not total chaos, but more freedom in the word order. More freedom in organizing the sentence in order of relevance. Or just to express nuances that are totally unexplainable at this stage.


Thank you so much for the explanation! That is very clear.


Nagyon szívesen!


Thanks for that explanation. However... Hungarian has accusative, dative, and genitive? Not another German!


Hungarian has things you can call 'accusative' and 'dative', but those are much easier to handle than the German cases. For the former, you simply add -t to the noun (with an appropriate connecting vowel), and for the latter it's the suffix -nak or -nek.
If you want to call them cases (some do, I don't), Hungarian has a lot of them, probably over 50. But they are fairly easy to learn because they're just suffixes that replace the prepositions that you would use in English. For instance, you lay something "onto the table" (az asztal), and it simply becomes "az asztalra".
Genitive doesn't exist in Hungarian, but possessive suffixes which are used a lot in the language. But that's for much later.

[deactivated user]

    Yes, and many more...


    I have seen some of your posts. You do an excellent job of explaining the nuances of Hungarian grammar. Thank you.


    Nothing is weird about it. Not a single soul in hungary says "kívánok".(maybe they do lol) It is old fashioned and sound way too "posh", do not learn it. "Jó estét" will do the job. Jó estét kívánok ~ I wish you a good evening. Jó estét ~ Good evening Simple as that.


    "Jó estét"
    "Jó estét kívánok"
    "Kívánok, jó estét"
    I have actually heard all of these variations. :)
    Well, maybe more with "napot" but, still, people can be very creative with these common greetings.


    Would it be less polite to say just 'Jó estét'?


    'Jó estét kívánok!' is definitely more formal, to the extent you are thrilled what's coming up next... This is what the police says when stopping you on the road, or how the officers started roll call in the army. Fear not, however, when you hear 'Jó estét!'


    Yes, but "jó estét" is much more common.


    My understanding is that this translates to "Good evening I wish you", or "I wish you a good evening". Not simply "good evening". Just "good evening" would drop the kivanok


    That is correct. But the two are more or less interchangeable, the full version being more formal and polite.

    Let me note one more little difference in usage. If you address someone, adding their name, then you (usually) drop the "kívánok":
    "Jó reggelt kívánok!" - "Good morning"
    "Jó reggelt, napfény!" - "Good morning Sunshine"
    "Jó reggelt, elnök asszony!" - "Good morning, Ms. President"


    Does "Jó" just mean "good" in Hungarian?


    One way I found to rememberize these 2 phrases for ''night'' and ''evening'' is simply that 'night' is the longer Hungarian word, and 'evening' is the shorter one.


    You'll stumble a bit about that once you realise that éjszaka (night) can also just be called éj. :)


    Interestingly, that "szak" in "éjszaka" is something like "a part of a whole" (time period). As in the parts of the day. So, of the parts of a (24 hour) day, that part is the one of the night. "Az éj szaka", a possessive structure.
    The parts of the day are commonly called "napszakok". And the parts of the year, the seasons, are called "évszakok". "Év" (year) + "szak": "évszak".


    kívánok means "I wish". Could it be possible to give also the complete translation , namely "I wish a good evening" , besides the common use "Good evening" ?


    It should be possible. Better even would be "I wish you a good evening", which is more natural in English. The "you" would be implied in the Hungarian sentence, then.


    Hmm... in the word éjszakát I heard the "a" as a closed a while the "á" as an open one, regardless of the duration. But in estét I hear the "e" and "é" equally open but "é" being longer. Am I hallucinating already with this language?


    I am sure you are. What are you smoking? :)

    Anyway, yes, you would have to learn to hear the differences, they are very much different sounds to Hungarians.

    For the "e" sound, try these English words: "let", "level", "eleven".

    For the "é" sound, try "state", "steak".

    Can you hear it now?


    Unfortunately, there is an audible diphthong in "state" and "steak" [steit] and [steik] IPAish. If you're a native English speaker, chances are you won't percept the difference, but outside the bubble there really is such a thing as a long, open "e".


    I agree - the English "long a" without the diphthong is different from what we anglophones normally hear. We're so used to the diphthong that we really don't notice it.

    Another thing about Hungarian "é" is that I can't tell whether it's more like the 'a' in "play" (without diphthong) or like the 'e' in "me" (also w/o diphthong). It usually sounds like the latter to me. So I'm not totally sure how to say the word "szél" - should it sound more like "sail" or "seal?"


    Yes, anglophones can have a really hard time producing a regular long Hungarian vowel without the diphthong. There is simply no such sound in English (probably). Those sounds seem like the easiest things to produce to Hungarians, yet they seem impossible to English speakers.
    Try saying that diphthong for a really long time, like you are singing it. And try sustaining the first sound of it (a diphthong is like one vowel morphing into another). Try keeping the first vowel, do not let it morph into the second one. That should be your "é" sound.
    The "é" sound is NOT what you have in "me" or "seal". That would be the "í" (long i) sound.
    It should be more like how you start the vowel in "sail". The vowel sounds in "sail", "sale", "state", "bake" and such all sound like an "é" to the Hungarian ear. Perhaps with a Hungarian "j" attached.
    Similarly, the sounds in "silo", "hi", "style", "bike", etc., all have the Hungarian "á" sound, with a "j" attached. Hence, the now very international words "hi" and "like" are colloquially transcribed as "háj" and "lájk".


    I know what you mean about a morphing vowel. I can tell that I'm saying a diphthong when something in my mouth or my lips is moving while I'm saying it. Even the "e" in "me" has a change in the position of parts of the mouth - my jaw is closing a bit toward the end. That's what gives it the "eeeeyyy" sound.

    My voice teacher is working with me on a Georgian song. She told me that the way I pronounce the letter "o" is a dead giveaway that I'm an English speaker. My lips close into a "u" position toward the end, whereas the Georgian "o" (like the "o" in many other languages) doesn't have a different closing sound. It's just "o" from start to finish. This is a very hard habit to break.


    I'm not sure I got it. Is it a very sligt difference or am I not only hallucinating but also deaf? Thanks by the way!


    I would say it is a very clear difference in Hungarian. But when we learn a new language, we always have to also learn to recognize the different sounds. And many times they have sounds that are very different to them but sound all the same to us. This is just how the brain works. With time, you will learn to hear the difference.
    If your mother tongue is Spanish, I can understand why you don't hear the difference yet. The Spanish "e" is somewhere between the Hungarian "e" and "é". Maybe closer to "é". But there are variations, correct? Or do all the "e" sounds in Spanish sound exactly the same?

    I am just guessing here, but how about the "e" in "pueblo" and "Español"? They may be closer to the Hungarian "e". Or maybe not, I really don't know.

    Anyway, you probably just need time, listen a lot, let your brain process those sounds and figure out a way to tell the difference between them.


    Hi, thank you for your time. I guess I have to watch some videos so that I can train my ear. In Spanish there are only five vowels and the e is the same in every word (there are just few places where there are more than 5 vowels, so it can't be considered as standard Spnish. And yes, I supose it's about time. Cheers!


    I wish you good luck with that! And how about the difference between "a" and "á"? That is kind of the same difference as the one between "e" and "é". And the distinction is really important, those are different letters. If you switch one for the other, you often get another valid word. And the difference in meaning can sometimes be hilarious. This is especially true for short words.


    I can hear the difference between e and é, and also between a and á. They're both pairs of different vowel sounds.

    The ones that give me a hard time are o and ó, u and ú, ö and ő, ü and ű. Those are the ones where the length is different, and I really can't hear that at all. All o's sound the same to me, accented or not, and the same is true with the other pairs. The difference must be very subtle.


    With those, the difference is only the length of them. That is all. Maybe you can start by saying them to yourself aloud, and trying to exaggerate the differences. Make the "o" really short, and make the "ó" really long. Try speaking aloud. Your ears need to hear what your mouth says, that helps a lot! Then you will slowly start recognizing the smaller differences. Good luck!


    That's good advice. One thing we get very little of in online courses like this is the opportunity to speak. I usually repeat sentences when I first see them, but that's not the same thing.


    Isn't the proper translation "I wish you a good evening"?


    "Good evening" would be only "Jó estét". These are the same. "Jó estét kívánok" is "I wish a good evening". More formal. It's a matter of taste and situation. Most people use the short version in everyday life.


    Exactly; but this sentence was the formal one. So the English translation should be formal too.


    You are right in that. I think the reason why it isn't here is that in english you never hear "I wish you a good evening" but in hungarian both are perfectly normal and common to use.

    I would say it should be "Jó estét" here instead.


    I put i which you a good evening and they are saying it's not good they good of put it corectly


    "I wish you a good evening" would be okay.
    No offense, but you don't seem to be very firm in English. You're going to have a lot of trouble if you try to learn another language from a language you're not yet fluent in.


    English is probably Popstar's native language. I believe that his spelling "they good of put" instead of "they could have put" is a dead giveaway - a mistake no one having Enlish as their second language would ever make.


    Oh gosh, I didn't even recognise that one. Dyslexia, maybe? That would be difficult on a text-based learning platform. :I


    rather a voice-based input with bad pronunciation or bad recognizer :)


    So can you drop the Jo as good evening is a greeting on its own?


    means "good", so if you drop it, it won't be "Good evening" anymore, but just "Evening". Just "Estét" can be used as a greeting, too, but it's a bit sloppier.


    Magyarul csinálom a magyart. XD


    I put éstet instead of estét and it accepted it without sating there was a typo or misplaced accent or anything. Is éstet also correct, or is it a bug in the exercise?


    Only "estét" is correct.


    kívánok Is this a more formal statement


    Amikor norvégül is tanulsz, ami enyhén hajaz az angolra és véletlenül azt irod, hogy "god" evening...


    This should be I wish you a good evening


    Literal translation is not always a good pick, so not really.

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