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  5. "How old am I?"

"How old am I?"

Translation:Hány éves vagyok?

July 5, 2016



What is the difference between "hány éves vagyok" and "Én hány éves vagyok"?


"Vagyok" means "I am / am I", so using "én" would be repetitive, but both sentences are grammatically correct.


What part of speech is éves here? With that -es ending, it looks like an adjective / adverb, but it seems to be used here more as a noun.


Not sure what you are asking about, could you clalrify the "what part of speech" ? Or maybe https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%C3%A9ves could help ?


Part of speech, as in "noun", "adjective", "adverb", etc. The Wiktionary entry itself doesn't include any senses that seem to fit the usage pattern for "hány éves". I've asked there as well, on the Talk page for the term.

As I noted there, the oddity is that the Hungarian expression uses a number-based question word -- hány, "how many" -- but applies it to what seems to be an adjective, which describes a quality and cannot have any number (only countable nouns can have number of the kind needed to satisfy "many-ness").


I see that you got some answer on the wikitionary.

Let's just say that the quality is not the "éves" on its own, but rather the number+year combination at least for age. "éves" on its own would refer to the "annual" word.


I'm only learning for 10 days now, can someone help me? Why does "hány éves" translate to "how old is he"? which part is the personal pronoun? And where does the vagyok come from? What is the literal translation of it? Surely it can't just mean "me/I", right?


There are a lot of useful information answering your questions on the "Basic 1" lesson's "Tips" section. You may need to use a browser for it, not sure.

tldr: while hungarian does have a verb for "is", but we tend to leave it out. That is what happens on third person singular, so "hány éves" becomes "how old is he/she/it". And the "vagyok" is the first person singular "am", so it is the "am". Hungarian is also pro-drop, meaning that many times the personal pronouns are left out.


@Albert555583, "pro-drop" is a term used in linguistics to mean that a language tends to drop the pronouns. If you're at all familiar with Spanish, that's another example -- the verb already contains enough information for listeners / readers to understand the person being referred to, so the pronouns become optional.


  • "Yo soy..." = "Soy..."
    "I am..."


  • "Én vagyok..." = "Vagyok..."
    "I am..."
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