"Milyenek azok a fák?"

Translation:What are those trees like?

July 11, 2016

This discussion is locked.


Can't "milyen" mean both "what... like" and "what kind of"? Is there any way to distinguish when to use one vs. the other? I put "What kind of trees are those?" and it was counted wrong. Report?


How I would differentiate:

  • What are those trees like? -- Milyenek azok a fák?
  • What kind of trees are those? -- Azok milyen fák?

So basically I would use a different word order. But it's likely that this is only personal preference.


From what I've learned so far, "milyen" can only mean "what kind of", while "milyenek" can only mean "what... like". Don't quote me on this however, I'm still learning and I'm not very good.


There is a coincidental correlation here that can be very misleading about the reasons, and makes your observation partially wrong.

There are two uses of "milyen", similar to regular adjectives: a predicative use (when it belongs to the copula verb "van") and an attributive use (when it belongs to a noun).
On one hand, English uses completely different structures to express these two uses of "milyen". For the predicative use, you have "What is it like" and for the attributive use, you have "What kind of X".
On the other hand, as some of you may know, in Hungarian, predicative adjectives can and should be inflected so they can be pluralized if needed. Attributive adjectives never get inflected.

And this is why it could seem like plural is for one meaning and singular is for the other. "Milyen az a fa?" belongs to the "What (...) like" type, yet it's singular since the subject itself is singular.


Thank you for this explanation. Much appreciated!


Azok a fák magasak és szépek. Szeretem.


For the record, I think "szeretem" on its own sounds like "I like it". If you were aiming for "I like them" by any chance, I would add "őket". :)


so my answer "what kind of trees are those" was accepted but as an English statement it is not the same as "what are those trees like". Does Hungarian translate them as meaning the same thing?


What kind of trees are those? would rather be Milyen fák azok? in Hungarian.


Is there a way to ask "what kinds of trees" vs. "what kind of trees"? In English it seems like "kind" and "tree" should both be plural or both be singular, but it is not consistent.

Should we translate "milyen fák" as "what kinds of trees" and "milyen fa" as "what kind of tree"? Now I"m not sure I know English any more...


Because of Hungarian grammar, this question simply cannot come up. Think of it the following way. "Milyen" can be answered with a usual adjective like "szép", right? Now, in Hungarian, "milyen fa" and "milyen fák" are pretty similar to "szép fa" and "szép fák" grammatically. In this case, even in English, you would probably just say "beautiful/nice tree" and "beautiful/nice trees" and there is no "kind" to worry about.


In English, when "trees" is in plural but you can see they all look alike, couldn't you ask about their "kind" in singular?


What kinds of trees are those?


That's more "Azok milyen fák?". You may argue that there is a huge semantical overlap between "What are those trees like" and "What kind(s?) of trees are those?" - but syntactically, they are very different. The same applies for the Hungarian sentences.


Utterly confused by the difference here also. I just got this feedback:
"You used the wrong word. What kind are those trees?" Isn't that milyen?


No, it isn't. "Milyen" and "milyenek" aren't two different things, it's just "milyen" must to be inflected when you use it as a part of the predicate and it mustn't be when you use it as something applying to a noun.

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