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  5. "Te mérnök vagy?"

"Te mérnök vagy?"

Translation:Are you an engineer?

July 1, 2016



What is the difference between using ön and Te ____ vagy?


Ön is the formal "you" singular, used when addressing strangers or seniors


Te: talking to family members, children, friends, these days also foreign people at your age, or anyone you agreed with to use it. Ön: everyone else.


An engineer and a surveyor are not exactly the same in english. Does it mean both then?


Right. Surveyor is 'geodéta' or 'földmérő mérnök' in Hungarian, they happen to graduate from the civil engineering faculty in Budapest along with structural engineers and hydraulic engineers, albeit having studied rather different curricula.

Imagine you meet six bearded, smelling guys in the wilderness with surveying instruments around and one of them answers your questions in a cool, professional way. But, as you still cannot distinguish the boss (with a degree) from his assistants, you just ask him 'Te mérnök vagy?'


I'm not sure I can identify Hungarian question intonation yet. Are there examples coming in later lessons where there are contrasting sentences? (Eg. "Te mérnök vagy." versus "Te mérnök vagy?") I know Duolingo doesn't look at punctuation, but since yes/no questions only differ in intonation, we should at least be taught WHAT that intonation is, since it seems to be quite different from English.

In this sentence, what I find odd is that it sounds like the syllable "nök" is stressed although I know all words are stressed on the first syllable. Is questioning intonation something about putting a rising tone on the focus of the sentence?


Ok, so I started a Pimsleur course on the side. (yay for public libraries!) They say that when the question has three or more syllables the highest intonation is on the second to last syllable. So not quite like in Finnish but the principle is the same. The stress is a separate element of prosody and not connected to vowel length or quality.


And stress and intonation aren't dependent either.


That's right! This is why we Hungarians can write poems in ancient metrics like pentameter or hexameter while most modern Indo-European languages are not suitable for them: the stress and the vowel length are not connected in any way and a long syllable can be unstressed while the short one be stressed.

For advanced learners: "Gyűlölöm azt aki telt kupa mellett bort iszogatván | Háborút emleget és lélekölő viadalt. | És kedvelem azt, aki bölcs és Afrodité meg a múzsák | Szép adományairól zengve szeretni tanít" (Anacreon, translated by Gábor Devecseri)


Well - almost. There are more than one types of hexameters, you might be referring to the classic hexameter. Further, we probably remain on the safe side saying that it takes a little more than being a Hungarian to write pentameters and hexameters. There are several examples in other languages as well, even in English, Russian and German, etc, albeit with varying popularity.


Yes, you're right, I missed to state that I speak about the classic metrics, or rather I called it "ancient" but meant the strict greek form. Have a lingot for your kind help!

I remember that I saw already Russian poem with one of these metrics, but if you could show me an English one, I'd be happy. I am "hunting" for one, but couldn't find a real one. Unfortunately I don't know German enough to have an idea about German poetry... :/


If it's the same as in Finnish, it's not stress you hear, but intonation that rises towards the end of the word that is the focus of the question, otherwise the intonation always goes down. I'll spare you from more details until I find out if it really works the same way.


Why isn't there an indefinite article in front of 'mérnök', should it not be used in this sentence or would "Te egy mérnök vagy?" also be correct?


The indefinite article is under-, the definite article is overused in Hungarian compared to English. You can mostly omit "egy", it's implied here but you could also say "Te egy mérnök vagy?" in this case, it would be natural, other times using "egy" would mean emphasis.


Got it, köszönöm szépen!


There is also a slight difference in meanings but it is really hard to explain. "Te mérnök vagy?" refers to profession without any overtones. "Te egy mérnök vagy?" may have some tones of doubt, surprise, etc. Imagine this line "Are you an engineer? With this sense of humour? Engineers are so dry, aren't they?" (No offence meant...) This line is more probably uses the "egy" than not. It is a bit stronger, more expressive with "egy".


you are an engineer? is the same as are you an engineer? the subject and verb are inverted in english to make a question.


What is the difference between "mérnök vagy?" and "te mérnök vagy?" Are they equal in meaning and use?


Usually yes, they are equivalent. For the latter, "te" puts more stress on the person.

"How could you do it? You're not an engineer?" "Why? You did it, too. Are you an engineer?"

– Hogy csináltad? Nem is vagy mérnök? – Miért? Te is megcsináltad. Te mérnök vagy?

But "I thought you're an engineer" could be "Azt hittem, mérnök vagy" and "Azt hittem, te mérnök vagy" equally.

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