"Van egy nagy hegy azok között a japán városok között."

Translation:There is a big mountain between those Japanese cities.

July 1, 2016

This discussion is locked.


Why is között repeated twice?


This is a very good question. As a native hungarian speaker I have to say I don't have a clue. :) However You can use this sentence like this: Van egy nagy hegy azon japán városok között. But this is little bit formal. Hungarian grammar is terrible. :)


This is a tricky one, let me see if I can make sense of it. This is a pattern that you can probably apply in many situations. It has to do with a preposition plus a.... a demonstrative adjective. In more plain English, a preposition followed by this/that/these/those.

Here are a few examples:

Between those cities

under that tree

behind this box

because of these boys

Demonstrative adjectives, that is, we are "pointing" at something. If there is a preposition (under, behind, between, etc.) with this/that/these/those, you must use this repeating pattern in Hungarian. The literal way to do it is this:

dem.adj. + preposition + def.article + noun + preposition

Literally, in English: Those + between + the + cities + between

In Hungarian: Azok + között + a + városok + között

If there is no this/that/etc., just a simple "the", the pattern disappears, and it is a very simple sentence:

Between the cities - A városok között.

But as soon as a this/that/etc. jumps in, the pattern emerges:

Between those cities - Azok között a városok között.

I guess we have to live with it.

There is a simpler pattern though, as gwe1980 mentions, but it is kind of archaic, or formal. Not really used. The above is the widely used formula.

The above examples again, extended:

Between the cities - A városok között

Between those cities - Azok között a városok között

Under the tree - A fa alatt

Under that tree - Az alatt a fa alatt

Under the trees - A fák alatt

Under those trees - Azok alatt a fák alatt

Behind the box - A doboz mögött

Behind this box - E mögött a doboz mögött (Note, "Ez" becomes "E" here, just like "A" vs "Az" )

Behind these boxes - Ezek mögött a dobozok mögött

Because of the boys - A fiúk miatt

Because of these boys - Ezek miatt a fiúk miatt

Now, one more interesting thing: if the noun is missing from the sentence, the pattern naturally disappears again. Compare

Between those - Azok között

Between those cities - Azok között a városok között


I just realized, the above pattern is even more general than I originally thought. Some English prepositions translate to separate words after the noun in Hungarian, others turn into suffixes that attach to the noun. Many situations/cases are covered by suffixes in Hungarian: in, into, on, onto, out of, with, to, for, and many more. Some call it the 18(?) cases of nouns. Another group of English prepositions is expressed with a separate word after the noun: under, behind, above, next to, without, instead of, etc.

In any case, whether it is a suffix or a separate word (postposition), the repeating pattern described above is used.

So, if you have a

preposition + this/that/these/those + noun

structure in English, it will invariably turn into the repeating pattern in Hungarian. That is, you apply the suffix or postposition (whichever it happens to be) to both the demonstrative adjective (this/that/these/those) and the noun. I say "invariably" because I can't think of an exception right now.

So you will use the pattern:

this/that/these/those + (suffix or pp) + the + noun + (suffix or pp)

Let's see a simple example:

the house - a ház

this house - ez a ház (note the "a", "the", here, which is also part of the pattern)

that house - az a ház

under the house - a ház alatt

under this house - ez alatt a ház alatt (literally, this under the house under)

in the house - a házban (ház + the suffix "-ban")

in this house - ebben a házban (literally, this in the house in)

In this last sentence, "ez" + "-ben" morphed into "ebben", but that's another topic.


You deserve a medal! Thank you!


This is a great explanation. The two közötts threw me off, and I wondered if it was a mistake.

Tangential question: what is the difference between mellett and -nál/-nél?


"-nál"/"-nél" is "at" or anywhere near. "Mellett" is more specificly "beside", "next to", "at the side of".


VVsey, that explanation is so greatly appreciated, after reading your notes I realised that you cannot join az+között to form a word like az+ban = abban

[deactivated user]


    "among those Japanese cities" why is wrong?


    Because the author did not think of that solution.
    Report it.


    Yes, I reported...


    Because as far as I know, when talking about a definite location you cannot use among. For example saying "I am walking between the trees" means something like there is a route between the trees and I am walking on that. But "I am walking among the trees" means that I am wandering around among the trees, but I couldn't really say where. Therefore saying there is a mountain among the cities sounds incorrect for my ears. (I am not a native though, I might be wrong).


    If you are talking about only two cities, then use 'between'. If you are talking about three or more cities, then use 'among'.


    "Egy" means both "one" and "a". Why is my answer considered wrong?


    What was your answer?


    I answered "one big mountain", that (in my opinion) is absolutely the same as answering "a big mountain", in pretty much all the 6 languages I know.


    So, we want to say in Hungarian: There is a single big mountain . . . . or There is only one big mountain . . . .


    Sziasztok! Szerintem: jobban hangzana ha így írná:Azok között a japán városok között van egy nagy hegy.

    Learn Hungarian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.