"Igen, a titkárnő bent van."

Translation:Yes, the secretary is inside.

July 4, 2016

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Just to make sure I got this right: Is titkárnő a female secratary? The male secretary is titkár?


I reckon this should be changed, or at least have 'female' in brackets next to the translation - as it is, the assumption is that secretaries are always female. Time to stop assigning jobs to different genders.


Do you mean that this Hungarian sentence should be translated as 'Yes, the female secretary is in.' ?


Fair enough, sometimes this is very annoying. I remember that I terminated my subscription to a newspaper, which used 'postáskisasszony' (approx.: post-missy) for an actual female clerk in an article. The same article disclosed that the lady was actually a mother of two!


No, I'm talking more about when you hover over the word to get the translation. Both 'titkárnő' and 'óvónő' are clearly being marked as female (which in itself is obviously a whole other argument about the woman being other, in many languages). When you hover over these words, however, the translations simply read 'secretary' and 'kindergarten teacher', as if these roles could only be female. On the other hand, words like 'művésznő' are translated as '(female) artist/artist'. Whether those roles are more likely to be taken on by women or not, it's just unhelpful in terms of equality to assign those nurturing and subservient roles to the female gender. Love that you unsubscribed to a newspaper for that language - good on you!


One (e.g., I) can claim that the presence of words like 'titkárnő', 'óvónő', 'ápolónő', 'postáskisasszony', etc. and their equivalents in a language may reflect the cultural state of a society using that language - but, at least for the time being it is a fact of life that these words exist in the language, and those willing to learn it - however thought-provoking it might be - are faced with the task of interpreting these words in a different language.

There are other examples as well. Many years ago I was fascinated how enthusiastically and successfully the Finns coined new words for entities of the rapidly developing information technology - which I took as a sign of the importance of their cultural identity.

Sorry for this possibly redundant extension of a language course.


Ohh. For some reason I thought you meant 'hovering over a word' figuratively... that's why the looong argument. Sorry. I've corrected the hint for 'titkárnő' to '(female) secretary'. And thanks!


Right - I fully understand this and I even agree with you. But, let me hover just over the word now. Our original endeavour was to translate the Hungarian sentence with the word 'titkárnő' into the English equivalent, not the other way round. Would you really use 'female secretary' in an English translation?


Yeah, nice that we're on the same page. I agree that you wouldn't translate it like that, which is why I'd put the information where you hover over the word. That way, it would be clear to the language learner that the noun has been rendered feminine, as is the case for all the other feminised nouns - i.e. by displaying the text '(female) secretary' when you hover over the word, just as you see '(female) artist' etc. Otherwise, given the discrepancy in Duolingo's approach, one might suspect their team of assuming that all secretaries and pre-school teachers are female. It's also useful from a language learner's point of view to have the feminisation of the noun called to our attention.


Everything with "no" (I don't have accents) at the end is a female


Let's say every profession or occupation having "nő" as the last element of the compound word. :)

Otherwise there are many words ending in "nő" and not being female. A few examples:
"Ernő", "Benő", "Jenő" - male names,
"Teknő", "bökkenő", "keszkenő", "kimenő", etc. - various nouns,
the verb "nő",
and several adjectives, typically derived from verbs, that happen to end in "nő", because the verb root ends in "n", and the added "-ő" turns it into an adjective. Many of these ended up used as nouns:
"menő", "kimenő", "felmenő", etc., "kenő", "fenő", "zökkenő", "bökkenő", "rekkenő", "pihenő", etc.


Or perhaps titkárferfi :D


That's one of the most interesting discussions I have read on Duolingo. Kudos, guys (inc. girls)!


Can 'van' be dropped here?

I mean can you say: "Igen, a titkárnő bent"?


No, you can't.


Let's try to make up a rule:
For the the third person only:

with an adjective, we don't use "van"/"vannak"

with other stuff, like with locations, etc., we do use "van"/"vannak"

And this is NOT optional, this is how it has to be. Until proven otherwise.


"A titkárnő bent van" - is in
"A titkárnő okos" - is smart
"A titkárnő fáradt" - is tired
"A titkárnő otthon van" - is at home


"A híd hosszú" - the bridge is long
"A folyó széles" - the river is wide
"A Párizsi Udvar szép" - is beautiful
"A Párizsi Udvar zárva" - is closed

Oops, I just found an exception. When something, like a shop or a museum, etc., is open or closed, you can say it with or without "van":

"A múzeum zárva" - The museum is closed
"A múzeum zárva van" - The museum is closed
"Az üzlet nyitva" - The store is open
"Az üzlet nyitva van" - The store is open

I wonder if there are other optional cases.


I don't know about you but "a múzeum zárva" and "az üzlet nyitva" are not the most natural way for me. I would use "van" there. I could liken it to the newspaper grammar in English. I can imagine seeing them on a sign but I don't think people would really say them that way.


We all say unnatural things sometimes :) And there are personal habits and preferences, and style. We all speak our personal versions of any language. That's the beauty of it. And that's why it is optional, not forbidden or required. :)


I believe that the 'A múzeum zárva' is not spoken language at all - we find it in written announcements or in news headlines. And on the other way round: it would appear unnatural for me to see a announcement on the board saying 'A múzeum zárva van'. What do you think?


Ajtók, ablakok zárva, villany kikapcsolva, házi feladat kész, tyúkok megetetve, bőröndök bepakolva, indulhatunk! :) We are taking the van!


Same for me, I use them both, depending on the circumstances and context.


I would say it is totally optional. Personal preference.


Oh and by the way, that's the passive voice, so it's easy to identify.


Very good point!

So, that's the past participle in English, if I am not mistaken. The third form of a verb. Things like "is done", "is closed", "is finished" "is arranged".

These would be translated with "van" most of the time. But sometimes the "van" can be omitted. Most frequently with "closed" and "open".

For example: it is a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and you run out of bread. Mom sends you to the corner store to get some. You return empty handed. Mom asks "What happened, where is the bread?" (she is practicing her English). You reply "Zárva a bolt" ("the store is closed").
No problem with that at all.


fmk64: it is correct both ways, and frequently used, too. You may find it unnatural, but I think it is more like a personal preference, and it also may depending on the context. "Zárva a bolt", "Zárva van a bolt", "A bolt zárva van", "Zárva vannak", "bezártak" are all natural in the appropriate situations. It also may differ in different places, as some usage may sound strange in one town that is most natural in the other. I think it is useful to learn the "Zárva a bolt" form, because who knows it, they will easily recognize in its more verbose forms. Especially if they know that we omit the "van" in certain cases. ;)


'Zárva a bolt' in spoken language is not natural to me (perhaps from a 5-year-old in your example). 'Zárva vannak', 'A bolt zárva van' would sound better.


"zárva a bolt" on the other hand is natural without "van"


i might be wrong, but i think it is beacuse "zárva" and "nyitva" are not adjectives but adverbs


That's exactly true. They are not adjectives. So we use them with "van". But they are very special, so we can occasionally omit the "van".


It is a very speciality of Hungary (let's say a Hungaricum) that we have very strict rules without exceptions except some exceptions we have. It is not a linguistic problem but a general thing with being Hungarian :) Even the most equals are more equal than others except some equals that are not. Or something like that—Orwell's on the power of six.


maybe in permanent cases you don't use van? i actually liked this explanation: http://www.hungarianreference.com/Van-is-exists-omitting.aspx


Yeah, it is not bad. I am not sure what you mean by permanent cases though.

We can make this very simple, because the only important part is when you must omit "van", as compared to English.
When you describe what something is (using a noun) or what it is like (adjective), you can NOT use "van". It is implied:

Éva is a nurse - Éva (egy) nővér. - (noun)
Éva is tired - Éva fáradt - (adjective)

In any other case you use "van". (It is either mandatory or optional, but don't worry about it for now).

Éva is at home - Éva otthon van.
Éva is well - Éva jól van.
The store is closed - Az üzlet zárva van.


I'm sorry to correct you but I'm a native speaker, anyway you don't say "a muzeum zárva" you have to add van.


"a muzeum zárva" = ×

"a muzeum zárva van" = ✔

Thanks for your time


I'm a native speaker, too and I wouldn't call "a múzeum zárva" wrong. It sounds colloquial for me, rather.


I've heard Hungarians say that "titkárnő" is a bit old-fashioned -- perhaps this should replaced with "asszisztens"?


I don't think so. It may be true over a level, but 'titkárnő' is still used, and in some cases 'asszisztens' may considered as overstatement. On the other hand, some health care employees are called "asszisztens", especially when they have no qualification (yet). The usage of these terms is in change right now.


Wow you people have too much time on your hands. Let me point out that if you refuse to learn the suffixes, you may as well not bother to learn Hungarian. There is no value judgement in learning words. It's how you will use them that matters. Example: if you don't know the word "whore" then you won't understand when someone insults you with it. And therefore, you are not fluent. Choose your goal: fluency or crusade.

You may as well go argue with French because bread is male, and meat is female.


English and Hungarian have no grammatical gender so it is always more problematic to express the sex of a particular person doing a particular job than say in French or Italian, where le/il or la can used or essa etc added to the end of the word. Mostly the choice of words is just convention based on the sex of the usual person doing the job. In English "secretary" does not express the sex of the person, but in Hungarian it does. However in Hungarian sometimes the opposite is true eg postás is post / mailman. Other examples in English are dinner/lunch lady, fisherman or bin man (waste collector). The other consideration is I suspect that gender identity politics has not become so disruptive to social harmony as in the US and West Europe.


You are wrong. In Hungarian it's possible to say titkárnő, but it's equally correct to refer to a female secretary as titkár.

lunch lady -- food server

fisherman -- angler

bin man -- sanitation worker

In both languages there is an OPTION to refer to gender, not a directive to do so. How you use the language is up to you. Duolingo is not trying to teach you gender politics, just the words and how they are used, and the many ways in which they can be used. Everything else is up to you.


Yep. Plus honestly obligate grammatical gender like in Romance languages, German, etc. is way, way worse for expressing gender just in general. Talking about a group of indeterminate French people who've just entered a building? Now you have to decide whether ils (at least 1 bloke in the group) sont arrivés, or elles (pure, 100% women because how weird would that be?) sont arrivées.


Is there any hope for me to learn this language? It appears to be impossible really..........


It's all up to your attitude :)

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