When you see "milyen az ...", there is an implicit "is" between the two. Literally, what kind (is) the...", meaning "what is (it) like".
However, when there is no "az" after "milyen", it translates to "what kind of...".
Milyen az alma - what is the apple like
Milyen alma (az) - what kind of apple (is that)
It would be more like "Milyen (fajta) alma az?". The answer to "milyen az alma?" would be "good" or "tasty".
akidaki is right - with "What kind of" we are trying to identify the set the object belongs to, with "what it is like" we are inquiring its own properties.
In that case, the English should read "how is the apple". "What is the apple like" is asking you to compare it to something else.
"How is the apple?" is a valid translation indeed, probably the best. If it is not yet among the acceptable once, it should be reported.
I can't reply to andrew, but his staement is patently incorrect. Trust me. I'm a native speaker. You can ask "how is the apple" without any issues. It doesn't have to mean that you are asking about its health. You can also ask someone "How was your vacation?" "Milyen volt az utazásod?" You aren't asking about it's health, you're asking....how it was? Was it fun? Was it relaxing? Was it interesting? Etc.
Yes, you can also use it to ask about a person (or animal's) health, etc., but it is in no way restricted as stated.
I also wrire, What kind of apple and it's wrong. Because Milyen it's not how. I even didn't hear such phrase How is the apple...
Although, here that distinction is a bit tricky, because from what people are discussing, "Milyen az alma?" would translate in colloquial English to "How's the apple?" (Esp. in relation to hatcher's response that commonly expected answers to this question might include "good" or "tasty").
As an aside, I've often heard Hungarians exclaim: "Milyen szép!" - as in: How beautiful! But I don't think "hogy szép" or similar works for that..
Oh yes, how is the apple, how is the book, how is dinner. Colloquial uses.
But careful, "how is your mom" returns to the regular use. Hogy van a mamád?
The underlying sense here is this. "Milyen" is asking for an adjective. "Hogy/hogyan" is asking for an adverb.
Milyen a mamád? - What is your mom like? Answer: she is beautiful.
Hogy van a mamád? - How is your mom? Answer: she is very well, thank you.
But we can keep digging and come up with more and more rules, or exceptions if you like: how long, how deep, how far, etc. - generally these would translate to "milyen ...", and not "hogy(an)". And the above exclamation (how beautiful - milyen szép) follows this trend, as well.
This is exactly what I thought at first. "How is the apple?" is fine as a translation, but a better one in my opinion would be something like "What is the apple like?" or "What kind is the apple?".
I know "az" can mean "that", and the hover text shows this to be true. I'm wondering why saying "How is that apple?" is incorrect.
"this X" and "that X" in Hungarian are ez a(z) X and az a(z) X.
So, literally speaking, Hungarians can't say "this X" or "that X" but it must be "this the X" and "that the X".
This means that an az before a noun cannot be "that", because then the "the" word would be missing.
Absolutely. I just tried to formulate a general rule to help extrapolate from the example you gave.
In this context, "az" is not "that". It is simply the article "the", which, when preceeding a noun that starts with vowel, must use "az" instead of just "a". For the sentence to be "how is that apple", it would have read "Milyen az az alma". "How is this apple" would be "Milyen ez az alma".
What I get out of this is " what is the apple like",? or "what does it taste like."?
Right answer "How is the apple?" seems weird. Is it a bug? There was no "What" and "like" words.