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"Who is standing next to that big yellow car?"

Translation:Ki áll a mellett a nagy sárga autó mellett?

July 6, 2016



"Ki áll a mellett a nagy sárga autó mellett?" ... Why, if the English sentence talks about "that big yellow car", is it not: "Ki áll az mellett a nagy sárga autó mellett? (ie: "az" not accepted, "a" is accepted, as translation of "that")


The "a, az" is matched with the next word, which is "mellett", since this starts with a consonant, you match it with "a". (gees I should learn the technical terms for such things as "matching" :D)


Does that mean that these repeated positioning words in this section (eg: a mellett a X mellett, a fölött a X fölött etc) are behaving differently to the previous way that the case endings were attaching to the "az" or "ez": as in, "azoknál a buszoknál", where "az" is altered to agree in number and case with the noun that it "points" to.

And this is even where "az" would be the demonstrative "az" ("that") and not the definite article? (Thanks for responding - technical words or no technical words! :) )


Hmm, let's see.
You're aware that the demonstrative pronouns az and ez always copy the noun they refer to. Like azon a buszon. Also the -z of those pronouns gets assimilated when the suffix attached starts with a consonant, like annál a busznál.

Now, the very same happens if you have a postposition instead of a suffix. If the postposition starts with a vowel, the -z remains (az előtt a busz előtt), and if it starts with a consonant, it gets assimilated to nothingness, so to say (a mögött a busz mögött). It's still a demonstrative pronoun, but now (unintentionally) looks like the definite article a.


now (unintentionally) looks like the definite article a.

Are az "that" and a(z) "the" not in origin the same word?

I've seen a "the" written as a' in an old Slovak-Hungarian-German dictionary, as if the writer felt it was "supposed" to be az.

So I suppose the underlying form is az -- a bit like the English indefinite article, which most native speakers probably think of as "a", but where the underlying form is "an" (compare "one" or German ein which have n), which nowadays only survives before vowels.


Mizinamo, yes, I remember reading about that explanation. The article a was originally identical to the word az but started to drop the 'z' in front of consonants. The Etimológiai Szótar has some more detail to it (if you want to dig through the Hungarian).

The additional information about English and German is interesting and I haven't considered that yet. But I can tell you that German also does something very similar to the Hungarian origin story: the words for "the" and "that" in colloquial German are the same:

  • das Boot - the boat
  • das Boot - that boat

In speech, you'll put more emphasis on the article if you want to use the demonstrative meaning ("that"). In writing you can only distinguish those forms if you're dealing with contracted forms:

  • zum Boot - to the boat
  • zu dem Boot - to that boat


I'm not really sure, if I understand the question When doing the demonstrative "az/ez", like that car (az a kocsi), that apple (az az alma), this car (ez a kocsi), this apple (ez az alma), you'll have an article that you'll have to agree with the noun. As for azoknál, annál etc, I'd say the rule is that you check the next sound that comes up, but I really have no idea what the formal rule is ... Hope someone who actually know grammar comes along :D

Okay, so a friend of mine told me to tell you, that technically you are mixing the relative pronouns (ez, az), with the articles (a, az) :)


Ki áll az a nagy sárga autó mellet? That was wrong, and I don't understand, why and when I have to use so many words to translate such a sentence. It is getting very, very, very complicated.


Soll ich auf deutsch? :D

Wenn du ein Demonstrativpronomen hast (ez / az = dieses/jenes), müssen die Nachsilben und Postpositionen denjenigen entsprechen, die nach dem Substantiv kommen, also:

  • ez a nagy autó - dieses große Auto
  • ezt a nagy autót - als Akkusativ
  • ebben a nagy autóban - in diesem großen Auto (selbe Nachsilbe, aber braucht eine andere Vokalharmonie)
  • ez előtt a nagy autó előtt - vor diesem großen Auto
  • e mögött a nagy autó mögött - hinter diesem großen Auto. 'Ez' wird zu 'e' (und 'az' entsprechend zu 'a') reduziert, wenn die Postposition mit einem Konsonanten beginnt.

Demonstrativpronomen im Ungarischen kopieren immer das Objekt, das sie demonstrieren. Ist zwar lang, muss aber sein.


Danke für diese hilfreiche Antwort.


amellett, nem a mellett


Oh no, that doesn't work here. Amellett is different from "a mellett". They are two separate entities. Amellett is a conjunction, meaning "furthermore" or "besides that", used for adding arguments. "A mellett" is the combination of az and mellett, referring to a physical "next to that".


Why is "a" before and after "mellett?


To say "in front of THAT [object]" requires "a mellett" - logically it would be "az mellett", but Hungarian seems to have evolved to drop the "z". The "A nagy sárga autó" is just because an article is required. As per usual, "a" is just saying "the".

"Who is standing next to THE big yellow car?" would consequently be "Ki áll a nagy sárga autó mellett?", and "Who is standing next to THAT big yellow car?" is "Ki áll a mellett a nagy sárga autó mellett?"


Thanks for that; I've just come back to this module and it's already making more sense [kind of!].


Thanks. Clearest reply. I just gave you a lingot for that. What will you do with it? It's not like bitcoins. Haha


Is "amellett" a word, or should it always be "a mellett"?


Amellett is a word, but has a different meaning (in addition, moreover, or literally "besides that").
The mellett here is a postposition and has to be separated from the words before it.


It must be "amellett". This sentence is wrong. We never use " a mellett" in this order.


It isn't used very often, but it's still a proper thing to say. "A mellett" means "beside that (thing)", and amellett means "besides (what's been said)".


This is quite frustrating -- other questions have indiscriminately used mellett and -nál as translations of "next to". As such, I answered Ki áll annál a nagy sárga autónál?


This is one of the few instances where I'm actually in favour of a bit of discrimination.
I would translate the suffix -nál always with 'at' or 'by' - it is about being close to the object in question, and unilateral, meaning it's not specified whether you're actually in front of it, behind it, or in any other direction, just close.
Mellett is the proper translation for 'next to' or 'beside'. You stand at its side, not in front, not behind. Can also be farther away than -nál.
Not to say your sentence is wrong, but you should be aware of that distinction.


There are no good answers. Good answer: Ki áll az a nagy sárga autó mellett?


Not a good answer. The az needs the postposition as well for this sentence to work: "a mellett a nagy sárga autó mellett".


"Ki áll annél a nagy sárga autónál?" I think that it is also correct.


It would need to be annál. The vowel in the suffix has to be a back vowel. Otherwise that's also a reasonable translation.


What's wrong with "Ki annál a nagy sárga autónál áll"? Is -nál not close enough a synonym to mellett"?


Kristan, mellett means "next to" or "on the side of", while the suffix -nál is less directional, meaning "at" or "by", somewhere around. The meanings are fairly close, though.

The bigger problem with your sentence is that the focus is wrong. You have a question with a question word here, and the focus always needs to be on that question word. That means, you have to have the verb áll right after the question word ki.


Thanks, that clears it up.


Who is standing beside, beside the big yellow car. What kind of non-sense is this


Frank, it's rather "Who is standing beside that, beside the big yellow car?"


This can not be right, it is a ridiculous translation


Frank, this is how Hungarian grammar works. English can use its demonstrative words "this" and "that" as determiners, so you can just attach it to the noun and they form a unit: "that car", "in that car", "That car is nice."

Hungarian doesn't have that ability. Their demonstratives ez and az are just pronouns, so they cannot directly attach to nouns and have to be treated separately. That's also why you still have to add the article a when using ez or az: "az az autó", "abban az autóban", "Az az autó szép."

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