"Ő lány."

Translation:She is a girl.

July 1, 2016

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Can "Ő" mean both "he" and "she"?


there are no gender pronouns in Hungarian.


Speaking as a genderqueer person (not identifying as a man or a woman), I find this rather refreshing!


Please tell us more about you and your gender identity


Honestly, there is not much to say beyond that, but I'm happy to share all the same. Please keep in mind, of course, that can I speak only for myself.

Depending on how I have outwardly presented myself (i.e., my gender expression) people have "read" me as a woman, man, or something in between. Internally, I do personally feel a bit more like a woman than a man (is the name Violet a giveaway?), but I don't really feel like either. So my gender identity, regardless of my gender expression, is kind of neutral or non-binary (this is what I mean by "genderqueer"). Subsequently I really appreciate gender-neutral speech, like the various gender-neutral pronouns in English (such as the singular "they," probably the most popular) or the equivalent "hen" in Swedish. The fact that such pronouns are inherently gender-neutral in Hungarian and in fact are typically omitted altogether is even better!

I hope that satisfies your curiosity (I mean that sincerely!). Thank you for asking.


Same here.

A similar phenomenon occurs in Chinese, where the third person singular pronoun is pronounced like "ta", but is written differently depending on whether it means "he", "she", or "it".


I think he, or she, dont want to offend anyone, was making fun, though the fact that you replied though is hilarious!


Just like turkish O


Yes but "Ő lány" = she "Ő fiú" = he


Could someone explain when to and when not to use articles in Hungarian?

  • A/Az - Used when saying "The" or when saying a general statement (e.g. "A magyar nyelv nem indoeuropai nyelv").
  • Egy - Used for "A/An", but can be, and is frequently, dropped.


you can often drop the "egy" article. for example, in this context, you know "ő" can only be one person, so it's logical not to highlight the quantity one more time. It's different with English I know, where "She's girl" would sound rather silly.


In this context you can actually decide whether you want to use an article or not.


I wrote "He is a girl' and it was correct :D Actually, technically it really is


Just remember the old Johnny Cash song "The boy named Sue" ;) :D



Is the verb to be not necessary in Hungarian? (ő van lány)?


In third person singular we avoid using "van" in most cases, especially when we define things. In some cases you can decide whether you want to use the verb or not e. g. "Ott egy macska"/"Ott van egy macska" both mean there is a cat (over there) and both are correct sentences.


It may be easier to understand that in this sample sentence the "to be" is silent. For a Hungarian speaker it would be evident that there is the verb, but simply not pronounced. It is not so unique, e.g. Russian langauge also omits (implies) the "to be" in sentences like this: "oна девушка" is literally the same as in Hungarian, word by word. Another example: "he is an engineer" would translate "ő mérnök" in Hungarian, and "он инженер" in Russian. "To be" is obviously there for the native speakers. Strangely enough, if you read a book where the caveman says "she girl" in caveman-English, the Hungarian translation will most probably sound like "ő van lány" and Hungarian reader will be happy and understand that Mr. Caveman speaks English wrong.


Van shall not be used in a "x is y" sentence. It's simply "x-y" Even with the other personal cases, the to be verb would go to the end of the sentence.


no, but you can say "ő egy lány" which is she is a girl which is closer to what you are after.


If one said, "He's a girl," what would the connotation be?


You can't say that because there are no gender pronouns in Hungarian, or that many pronouns in general (they're suffixes)

To say that you would have to say the name of the person (clearly male) " Géza egy lány", or talk around the problem, "that boy is a girl" = "Az a fiú egy lány"


So would I not be able to translate this as "it"? How would you properly say, "it's a girl."?


You can, sort of. since there are not really any pronouns in Hungarian, but it would be more correct to say "ez egy lány" (this is a girl) to get the same meaning maybe


Sure, I confirm. ;) It is even harder to translate a sentence like "she told that he would bring it (e.g. a not specified animal) to her from his flat where its cage was." All we can do is try to find good workarounds. For literature it sometimes really tricky. You cannot translate the famous graffitti "God is black! - Yes, she is!" - it simply won't come through!


If we were in a situation where we can't type ö or ő, what would be the appropriate replacement? In Finnish you would use o and a for ö and ä but I think Germans use oe, ue and ae for ö,ü and ä.


I do not think we have replacement for them. Probably just try to use the plain ones, like in finnish. But there could be ambiguity issues, like "feleseg" could be "féleség" (x is kind of y) and "feleség" (wife). Though context could definitely help with them.


There is ambiguity in Finnish as well, täkki (quilt, duvet) vs takki (jacket, coat) for example. Curiously, I know I've read that one reason for the plain ones is that ae would cause ambiguity but I can't think of a single such case whereas I could easily come up with 10 ä vs a ambiguities. The other reason is that typing väärällään (full of) as vaeaeraellaeaen takes more effort and makes it more unintelligible than simply typing vaarallaan (which by itself means "with his/her/their danger").


In the near past when telegrams were a daily form of communication with very restricted code set they used aa = á, ee = é, oe=ö, ue=ü, etc. Ő and ű were probably omitted or substituted with oeoe and ueue.

In the even less distant past when IRC and ICQ went crazy for accented characters we used o: for ö, u: for ü, o" for ő, etc. and a' .. u' for á .. ú. But we usually omitted the accent when it was not too much confusion. In really bad needs you can use the latter method but in common use this is not really present. In texting (especially by iPhone users) accents frequently omitted and this phenomenon makes even more funny troubles than autotext.

For advanced learners: there are two little towns called Vereb and Szár. They appear in this joke: Vereb vonatállomáson tréfából megkérdezi az utas a vasutast: "Nem hiányzik egy vessző az állomásnév tábláról?" "De igen!" - válaszol a másik. "Régebben volt is, de egy nagy szél jött, és elvitte Szár állomására!"

(Vereb is almost like "veréb" [sparrow] and Szár is almost like "szar" [shit], FYI. ;) )


Where is the verb in this sentece? Doesn't it just mean "she" and "girl"?


There need not be one. It's like when someone tries to speak "caveman": she, girl.


There is no verb in this sentence, but the predicate is lány.

In Hungarian, nouns and adjectives can act as predicates by themselves in the present tense, so lány here is translated as "is a girl", and an adjective such as nagy would be "is big" when used as a predicate.


what else can she be?


In case of Hungarian where pronouns are gender-neutral, (s)he could be a boy, too, or a man. Let's see an example:

– Most nem tudok menni, itt van Gabi. – Gabi? Ő fiú? – Ő lány.

("I can't go now, Gabi is here." "Gabi? Is he a boy?" "She's a girl.")

You may want to know for this dialogue that "Gabi" can be diminutive form of Gábor (Gabriel) and Gabriella, and won't inform about the bearer's sex. The dialogue is a bit lame to avoid gender-specific answer/question before the point—but in daily routine life these situations are pretty common.

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Egy asszony (married woman).


How about "she is the Girl" instead of 'a girl' How about it?


I think that would be ő a lány with the definite article in Hungarian as in English.

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