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  5. "Az orvos egy alacsony lányt …

"Az orvos egy alacsony lányt lát."

Translation:The doctor sees a short girl.

July 2, 2016



Isn't Hungarian supposed to be more or less SVO? I know the word order is quite free but which option is more natural?

So far I can't really believe it's considered SVO as the translations have almost always the same word order as they would in Turkish, which is an SOV language.


Not a native, so take it with a grain of salt.
Hungarian has a pretty free word order, so I wouldn't try to categorise it as SVO or whatever. The most natural order of the building blocks of the sentence is dependent of the context and what you want to put the focus on. Generally, there are two important spots within the sentence: the first item of the sentence, declaring what the sentence is about, and the spot right before the finite verb which is the focus of the sentence. For instance, how the sentence above is written, it puts focus on what the doctor is seeing. He sees a short girl, that's what it wants to convey.

You could also switch it around, saying Egy alacsony lányt az orvos lát. That can be well expressed by using the passive voice in English, for instance: a short girl is seen by the doctor. You know about the short girl, and you want to tell someone who sees her.

You can often freely juggle subject, verb, and objects around, which varies the focus. And then, there is a so-called neutral word order which is just a statement and doesn't really put a focus on anything. I think that one is the S-V-O order: Az orvos lát egy alacsony lány.


Beware! You would never say: "Egy alacsony lányt az orvos lát.", (O-S-V) but: "Az orvos lát egy alacsony lányt." (S-V-O) / "Egy alacsony lányt lát az orvos." (O-V-S) / "Lát az orvos egy alacsony lányt." (V-S-O) / "Az orvos egy alacsony lányt lát." (S-O-V). Note, that in your sentence "Az orvos lát egy alacsony lány." the object lacks the accusative suffix -t. So, it has to be "Az orvos lát egy alacsony lányt."


Yeah, apparently Hungarian is more or less SVO in "neutral sentences" but it's very topic prominent ... it's very sensitive to context and shifts things into different parts of the sentence for emphasis, so "neutral sentences" are not all that common. The topic and the focus generally precede the finite verb.

The section on syntax in the Wikipedia article is pretty good.



Does Hungarian use "see" as in "to see a patient" like we would in English? Or does this literally just mean there is a short girl in the doctor's field of vision?


You hit the nail on the head! = Fején találtad a szöget! IMO, this is not the best example, since the verb "see" has a much broader meaning in English than its Hungarian counterpart ("lát") has in Hungarian. If you want to express the notion of a doctor taking care of a patient, you would use the verb "ellát"/"lát el": "Az orvos egy alacsony lányt lát el."...


I think hungarian is "less" SVO, it's basically SOV: Péter filmet néz. If you are want to use SVO: Péter néz egy filmet, it means: Péter is the person who is watching a movie and not the others. It has a little bit different meaning with this word order.


I read that adjectives decline based on case, yet alacsony is the same. What kind of sentences might you see "alacsonyat" in?


It seems that alacsonyat means "short one"

I see a short one — Alacsonyat látok.


"alacsonyat" is an object. You can use it without a noun but "alacsony" is an adjective there before the noun (lány) which has the object suffix (lányt). You could say "az orvos egy alacsonyat lát" (the doctor sees a short one) but the answer would be "egy alacsony mit?" (a short what?)


In Hungarian you'll see a lot of adjectives being used as nouns. If you see an adjective with a noun suffix, it's a noun, grammatically. Szépet - a beautiful person/thing; magasat - a tall person/thing; magyart - a Hungarian.


"Alacsonyak lányok" is incorrect, adjectives are not pluralised in Hungarian before the noun (it should be "Alacsony lányok"). However in the sentence "A lányok alacsonyak" or "Alacsonyak a lányok" (The girls are short) the adjective is pluralised. Also "szépet" can mean "the beautiful one" in a situation like "Melyiket? A szépet." (Which one? The beautiful one.), but it can also act differently ("Szépet látok" meaning I see something beautiful). The reason for this is that Hungarian omits words like "it" and "one" from sentences like this (e.g. "Esik" meaning It rains).

Also "magast" should be "magasat", since Hungarian doesn't like stacking too many constonants after one another.


Arrh. Okay, seems like I messed up. Sorry about that. I'll try to edit accordingly.


How would one say the doctor is seeing a short girl.


"Az orvos egy alacsony lányt lát el" comes to my mind as the closest to it.


"Az orvos egy alacsony lányt udvarol."

"Az orvos egy alacsony lányt látogat."

In English, if you use "see" in a continuous tense, it changes the meaning.


Az orvos egy alacsony lánynak udvarol. (Not with -t)


What is the word for "little" in hungarian? I thought of "alacsony" as a word to describe the low height of a person (without any specific word defined)


Alacsony is "short in height", as you guessed correctly. "Little" or "small in size" would be kicsi (which can also be written as kis when in front of a noun).


As a native English speaker, I have a problem with the translation of "short" for alacsony, and I have reported this; one has to be a bit careful about calling people "short": if in doubt, to be certain of not giving offence, "little" or "small" are preferable. It's just one of those things: lots of people on a rather small amount of land!


I'm really lost now. I don't think i ever used this type of verb when i loved in Budapest! I don't understand when you would use this tense or how it is different than everything we did in previous lessons, and i don't understand how to use it. Is there an explanation section that I'm missing?


Betsy, are you talking about lát?. It's the present-tense ő form of the verb "to see", so it means "he/she/it sees". Also it's the indefinite conjugation, so it's only used if you see something unspecific, unreferenced. If the doctor were seeing a specific girl, it'd rather be "Az orvos az alacsony lányt látja."


hello! shouldn't this work also like the medic sees a short girl? orvos means also medic. thanks!


Lxkwt, depending on what exactly you understand as a "medic", it should be okay.

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