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  5. "Ezek az emberek a vonatra vá…

"Ezek az emberek a vonatra várnak, nem a repülőgépre."

Translation:These people are waiting for the train, not the airplane.

July 11, 2016



Accepted translation = "These people are waiting on the train, not for the aeroplane" I presume this is using the sense of "waiting on" to mean expecting something to occur i.e. waiting for the train to arrive and not in a locative sense i.e. the people are physically located inside the train while waiting ? Is the Hungarian use of the sublative here then suggesting that in Hungarian when you "wait" you "put your expectation of something happening onto something else" i.e. várni valamire?

  1. That's right, the subjects of this sentence aren't on the train. To express that, the superessive would be used here.

  2. The verb can also be used with accusative. We can talk about what is suggested by which construction, and it's possible that there was some kind of difference in the past, but today "várni valamire" implies nothing more or less than "várni valamit", and they are perfectly interchangeable.


I suspect the vár vmire construction was made with Austrian influence, because in German we literally "wait onto" things.


The verb vár can also accept nouns in objective case as arguments. There is a very subtle difference as vár vmit means "to anticipate sg."

Some sentences, where you would use "for" in English, work with vár vmit only, like when that vmi is a time span. To be honest, now that I think of it, time spans can cause an interesting sentence structure:

  • "Egy órát vártam, amíg a vonat ideért." = I waited for an hour until the train arrived... this is an okay sentence.
  • "Egy órát várok, azután elmegyek." = I am waiting for an hour, then I will leave... this is also an okay sentence.
  • "Egy órája várok!" = I have been waiting for an hour!

Just what is the possession mark -ja doing in that last sentence?


Examples using vár vmire in order to simply imply waiting:

  • "Katára várok." = I am waiting for Kata.
  • "Mire vársz, tapsra?" is sg. that children are often asked (so that they would start doing sg.)
  • "Arra várok, hogy beszállj a kocsiba." = I'm waiting for you to get in the car.

Examples using vár vmit in order to imply expectation or anticipation:

  • "Katát várom." = I am waiting for Kata... hoping that she will arrive soon.
  • "Mit vár Ön ettől az új pozíciótól? = What you do expect from this new position?
  • "Azt várja tőlem, hogy beszéljek?" "Nem, Mr. Bond, azt várom Öntől, hogy meghaljon!"


Just to answer my own question, I think that "Egy órája várok" is a simplified version of the archaic sentence structure "Megvan egy órája, hogy várok." = It has /possesses/ an hour, that I am waiting... or, possibly, "Egy órája neki az, hogy én várok." = To him/her, it is an hour of his/hers, that I am waiting... that he/she being some sort of Time God.


Brilliant - thanks


Minor point, you don't need to repeat the "for" in English ie These people are waiting for the train, not the airplane.


Ra/Re = On/Onto I really do not understand where "for" comes from.

Anyway, the (in)correct answer I was shown was:

These people are waiting on the train, not for the airplane.

vonatra = on the train therefore: repülőgépre = on the airplane

Sentence I wrote and reported as correct:

"These people are waiting on the train, not on the airplane."


You cannot apply the logic of English grammar to that of Hungarian that easily. Vár can take -t objects or -ra objects, but if you were to use the equivalent for the English "for" you'd get the improper "vár vminek".

The use of the -ra suffix is probably Austria's fault, because in German you literally wait "onto" things. "Ich warte auf den Zug." ("I wait for (onto) the train.")


Thank you, I understand better now. But Duolingo should explain these things better I think. Just to say "sublative case, which indicates motion onto something" and then use an example in English which states "waiting for" or "waiting on" doesn't make any sense at all really.


Yeah, there are some verb-case relationships that don't make totally much sense (fél vmitől - to be afraid of (away from?) something), but there are fewer of those in Hungarian than in most other languages. Duo generally isn't good with teaching corner cases or grammatical nitpicks, it just asks you to translate sentences and gives basic explanations. But those details are what the comment section is for, for everyone who is looking for some explanation behind the weird phenomena in languages. :)


Problem is all those cases are also used for figurative motion - many of which makes no sense to a non-native speaker. Our class complained loudly and the teacher's response was we just needed to memorize which case went with which meaning of a verb. In fact she said it was one of the most important things to do to sound more Hungarian.


I am not really sure what you mean:
A vonatra a peronon várok.
Ich warte auf dem Bahnsteig auf den Zug.
That is Austrian German afaik.
I am waiting on the platform for/on the train.

Ich warte im Zug.
A vonaton várok.
I am waiting on (in?) the train. (physically on (in?) the train waiting for stg)

(Ich erwarte auf dem Bahnsteig den Zug.
I expect on the platform the train.
A vonatat a peronon várok.
That is what i think "vár can take accusative" means.
It is in tune with Hungarian here. And it is the same in German German afaik. And English also fits, although you have to use an other verb as already said by iRBiS. Although i think anticipate would usually sound a bit odd here. Unless a certain person arrives or the trip is exciting for you...)

I don't know if the second auf literally means onto because you can't distinguish them even in static or motion...
A székon ülek.
Ich sitze auf dem Stuhl.
I sit on the chair.
A székre (le)ülek.
Ich setze mich auf den Stuhl.
I sit (down) on(to) the chair.

"warten auf" can be literally either on/on or re/onto since we don't wait for a surface anyway.

The tips and notes are sort of misleading as I already can read here. Promising motion and than using this cases for something else. Odd for no reason.

Also the creators seem to have a rather bad grasp on English especially on these cases imho:
"Mari leül a székre

Literally means Mari is sitting down onto the chair. Which sounds a bit odd in English. The important point is that -re expresses the direction of the motion."
As does le-!?
And it only sounds odd in English because it is not necessary to indicate twice the direction in English afaik:
Mari is sitting down onto the chair. Good, but a bit odd.
Mari is sitting down on the chair. The most common way i think.
Mari is sitting onto the chair. Gramatically I think correct, but odd since it is not common, but I think it is still clear that Mari is sitting down and not already sitting.
But if I understood it correctly even "Mari is sitting on the chair." is possible to express that she is sitting down. Probably not great since you have no idea if it is meant static or as a motion. But sit can mean sits herself. (which would then be perfectly in line with the Hungarian ül, but not the German sitzen) And on/onto is I think a matter of personal taste, since it is anyway clear that you are sitting on its sitting surface. In other cases it is not sort of vague when on OR onto has to be used. I drive on(to) the street. Both are possible but mean different actions.
I am not sure I got those important differences in Hungarian so far although the course spents so much time on them- with often confusing translations.


I think I could help you a lot better if you try and ask questions. You're just saying a lot and I'm not sure where you have doubts or what is unclear.

  • A vonatra várok. - I am waiting for the train. - Ich warte auf den Zug.

  • A vonatot várom. - I am awaiting the train. - Ich erwarte den Zug.

The accusative (-t suffix) sentence needs the definite conjugation, because there is a definite accusative object now.

In German you can distinguish static "auf" (Hu: -on) from motion "auf" (Hu: -ra). The noun that follows the preposition takes the dative case for a position and the accusative for a motion. And that accounts not only for "auf":

  • Ich stehe auf dem Stuhl. - A széken állok.
  • Ich stelle mich auf den Stuhl. - A székre állok.
  • Ich gehe vor dem Haus. - A ház előtt megyek.
  • Ich gehe vor das Haus. - A ház elé megyek.
  • Er läuft in der Halle. - A csarnokban fut.
  • Er läuft in die Halle. - A csarnokba fut.

Und da wir sagen, dass wir auf "den" Zug warten und nicht auf "dem" Zug, ist es eine implizierte Bewegung, was genau dem -ra/-re-Suffix entspricht.

In "Mari leül a székre" the le- prefix designates the direction of the motion (it's a downwards direction), but the -re suffix defines the goal of the movement (it's a movement to the surface of the chair). So it's not exactly doubling information. English just can't handle it very well, because "sitting" is still static, so you cannot sit "to" or "onto" things, even if you modify it into a movement with "down".

The most natural English translation here is "Mari is sitting down on the chair", which contains almost all parts that the Hungarian sentence expresses. The only small ambiguity is that you can't make a difference between "leül a székre" and "leül a széken" which might only apply if the chair had multiple levels of sitting space. It's also possible to express this concept with "Mari is sitting on the chair", but that would need some good context, so you don't interpret it as a static action. The versions with "onto" are ungrammatical.


Sorry, i misunderstood your previous comments here and some thinking aloud happened. Plus I anyway needed to vent my annoyance about the tips section, because it is so often lacking attention to detail.

I thought you said Austrian German was exported to Hungary and that it differs to German German in this case. Which happens in other cases. But you only meant Germans grammar was exportet via Austria to Hungary without a remark on any difference.

Oh ok, I just know that the preposition itself looks the same, but it sounds perfectly sound what you say. Weird language.

You say here both give information about direction. The tips do not. After "-re does..." le is not part of the explanation. Although we previously already learned that it is part of the whole motion meaning. They should not mention it at all or remind us also about the function of directional preverbs.

Onto is pretty much the very same as in Hungarian. It is or became just more optional in common use?
"We climbed onto the building's roof.
The book fell onto the floor.
The water spilled onto the floor.
The cowboy leaped onto his horse.
Transfer the data onto a disk.
Turn left onto Third Street at the traffic light."
A few of them can be said with on too. Probably usually are. I would not though, especially not in a language course, when this equality could have been quite nice. No idea why you think onto would be ungrammatical.

And sit is probably also a lot closer to Hungarian than you seem to think:
"intransitive verb
1 a : to rest on the buttocks or haunches sit in a chair —often used with down
transitive verb
1 : to cause to be seated : place on or in a seat —often used with down
She walked around the table and sat across from me."
Maybe i am still missunderstanding that, but i read recently one comment here exactly remarking that down is NOT a must, and found this then. So usually you would say down but it seems to be optional. And thankfully they remove by doing so the ambigiousity.


I'm not sure which lesson this is, so I don't know which exact Tips & Notes section you're talking about. The one for the preverbs lesson does give a nice overview, though.

I am saying that the verb prefix le- gives information about the direction (down), and the noun suffix -re gives information about the goal of the movement (onto the chair). Both parts are more or less important in the Hungarian sentence, because you could also say:

  • Mari felül a székre. - Mari sits (down/up?) on the chair, if it's a particularly high chair, or if she sat on the floor before. (Mari setzt sich auf den Stuhl hoch.)

  • Mari leül a székről. - Mari sits down from the chair, probably on the ground. (Mari setzt sich vom Stuhl herunter.)

Besides giving a direction to the movement, the verbal prefixes serve another purpose: they give the action a perfective aspect. That means that the action is going to be a one-time thing (instead of a regular occurrence) and it's going to be completed. Compare these:

  • Mari erre a székre ül. - Mari sits down on this chair, because she always sits there.
  • Mari erre a székre ül le. - Mari is sitting down on this chair. That's what's happening right now.
  • Mentem az üzletbe. - I was going to the store. At least that was the plan.
  • Odamentem az üzletbe. - I went to the store. I arrived there and am now doing some shopping.

"Onto" itself is a pretty fine word. I'm just saying it's ungrammatical to use it in conjunction with a verb of position. So in proper English you cannot "sit down onto a chair", "lie onto a table", or "stand onto the floor". It has to be "on" in all these cases. The examples you gave are all with verbs of movement, where using "onto" is fine.

And yes, as I said before, it is not necessary to say "sit down" to indicate the movement, like in the example you gave: "She walked around the table and sat across from me." There is enough context here to make it unambiguous that it's supposed to be a movement.


Actually this doesn't work in English. Waiting for and waiting on both mean waiting for something. If you wait on the train or wait on the airplane that can mean either you are waiting FOR - which is what the Hungarian means or standing on the train or plane, waiting. When you put "These people are waiting on the train, not on the airplane" it sounds either as if the people are standing waiting in/on the train/plane for something else - like lunch to be served. But when you put both together in a double sentence, the first half translates in my head as "waiting for the train" - as that is what "waiting on the train" means 99% of the time - but the second half translates as being not on the plane while waiting for the train.


Yes, you are correct. But, in the correct answer given, it says:

These people are waiting on the train, not for the airplane.

In English, this can mean: The people are ON (physically) the train waiting OR people are not on the train but are waiting for it to arrive.

If you do not see the people and somebody says " those people are waiting on the train, you automatically assume they are ON the train waiting. In English it is more common to say "waiting for" when you are not actually ON something but are just waiting.

But there is still the confusion of using ra/re for the noun. Sublative case, which indicates motion onto something. If you are waiting for something, there is NO motion. This is why I questioned the use of "for". I am waiting for............ I have no motion onto something.


Várni vmire is just like Ukrainian чекати на щось - literally, to wait on smth

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