"Is the boy below?"
Translation:Lent van a fiú?
Is there any reason why it can't be "A fiú alatt van?" What is the difference between lent and alatt?
Yes. "Alatt" in this sentence would mean under something or someone. Relation instead of location.
Are there any differences in meaning between "Lent van a fiú?" and "A fiú lent van?" Does changing the word order alter the connotation in any way?
In a tiny way, yes. And of course it can also change with intonation. I would say that the difference is negligible but I will try to give a sense of what it might be...
You know what, I am trying to come up with examples for either one. Like when I kind of expect the boy to be below, I would rather use one version. But then I realize that it is just as good with the other one. So, no, there is no significant difference. The word order just gives a little more emphasis to what comes first.
However, if you want to go wild with the word order...
A fiú van lent? - It is the boy who is downstairs? There is somebody downstairs. Is that person the boy?
Lent a fiú van? - The person downstairs - is it the boy? Kind of the same as the above.
There are two more permutations left:
Van lent a fiú?
Van a fiú lent?
These are somewhat unnatural. But one could argue that, in the right context, these, too, mean something. Like a general question about the habits of the boy. Does he ever spend time downstairs...
It is kinda same with Turkish. I am realizing Hungarian is hard as it is told but thanks to similarity between Turkish and Hungarian I am able to understand easier. Long live Ural-Altaic language family! Hahah
The lessons emphasize how flexible the word order is, but then only accept a specific word order. Could use some clarification, I'm getting a bit confused
I think here the most important information asked in the question is about the boy's position, therefore the word "lent" (below) goes first. E.g., if you want to ask "Is the boy below?" it will be something like A fiú lent van?
Below has another meaning, as well! In Hungarian below translates to alul, too. Therefore, the sentence translates to "Alul van a fiú?", which is a completely valid interpretation.