"A gyerekeken fekete cipő van."

Translation:The children are wearing black shoes.

July 12, 2016

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"The children have black shoes on", right?

I'm reporting it, anyway. I have the feeling I'm going to be reporting all of them in this unit....


Why not 'cipők vannak'?
Edit: just come across another sentence like this in this lesson—are items of clothing always singular in this turn of phrase even if multiple people are wearing multiple examples of them? Would 'a gyerekeken fekete cipők vannak' give the impression that there are black shoes literally balanced on the children's heads, perhaps?


There are two things to remember here.

First, clothing and body parts that come in pairs are always singular in Hungarian, and if you want to refer to one of them, you would say half a pair of something.

  • A futón futócipő van. = "There are running shoes on the runner."
  • A futókon futócipő van. = "There are running shoes on the runners."
  • A futónak hosszú lába van. = "The runner has long legs."
  • A futóknak hosszú lábuk van. = "The runners have long legs."

Second, not only do things that come in sets are always singular in Hungarian, they also stay singular even when they belong to multiple owners, and each of them owns one or one set.

  • One owner, one set of legs = "Lába"
  • One owner, multiple (sets of) legs = "Lábai"
  • Multiple owners, one set of legs (each) = "Lábuk"
  • Multiple owners, multiple legs = "Lábaik"

To describe possession, you still have match the ending of the word 'láb' (leg) with the multiplicity of the owner. However, possession is going to be another lesson.


Fantastic explanation, thank you!


Thank you for the explanation


And "A futónak egy hosszú fél lába van. = "The runner has a long leg" - literally "half leg". Right?


I guess 'The children wear black shoes' should be acceptable too.


I wrote: " There are black shoes on the children" and it was accepted as a right answer, I loled of course :-) Imagining the children under big black shoes


What part of the hungarian sentence here translates to the verb "wearing"?


------ -on, -en, o:n, -n + van or vannak

Big 5 feb 19


Would "A gyerekek fekekte cipöban van." (my phone doesnt have the double accent, sorry) be acceptable? I saw a similar formatting in an earlier question, but since then, it's all been this way, with the person wearing the clothing in the "on" case instead of the clothes in the "in" case. And if it is acceptable, is one used more often or seen as "better"?


Both are correct, there are always two options and they are used just as frequently:

  • someone is in some clothing (gyerekek cipő -ben vannak)
  • some clothing is on someone (gyerekek -en cipő van)

Maybe the inside version is less preferred when the item of clothing wearable is small, and hence difficult to imagine being inside of it, like contact lenses or a band-aid for example.


Does anyone else have trouble hearing the difference between ő and ö?

The word, "cipő" brought this up for me again. I incorrectly spelt it as "cipö" - using the letter O with two dots and not the requisite two accents.

Hopefully over time I will be able to discern the difference between the longer and shorter sounds accurately. At this point, the two sounds are so subtle for me that I can barely pick-out which is which.

Let's see if practice makes for an eventual refined perceptual ability. (And I'm not in fact hard of hearing!)


This is a difficult distinction to hear if Hungarian is your first encounter with vowel duration. It just takes a lot of exposure and practice. Even Finns can have trouble when learning Estonian because although Finnish has vowel duration, Estonian has short, long, and extra-long!"


...the difference between ő and ö?...

------- final o', u', o" and u" are almost always long so there's no hard push to drag 'em out and, the other commonly found long a's (...a'll ) and e's are not really lengthened - the diacritic is there only to change the sound of the letter's pronunciation. i' is essentially never lengthened . . .

Big 5 feb 19


One thing I'd like to add is that in case a long vowel is followed by two (or more) consonants or a long consonant, the vowel often loses its length. That's why á is short in "áll", for instance.


-------- what's a long consonant ? . . .

Big 6 feb 19


a double consonant


In this case, there are many children, so why not many pairs of shoes? It is still just one pair of shoes?


I still don't understand why cipő is not in plural and accusative. Anybody can please explain it? I have read a post by iRBiS, but still not quite understood. Thanks!


Everyone has two feet so it's obvious there are two shoes. Just like you'd say "I have one pair" without spelling out "of shoes".

It's not in the accusative because it's the subject of the sentence. One pair of shoes is on the children.

Hungarian is fun isn't it? ;)


------- it'd be in the accusative only if it were the direct object: the children wear shoes-t . . .

Big 3 feb 19


I probably will not like this chapter.

I already hate to say a pair of trousers/jeans although it clearly is just one item. Though for two legs. Totally unnecesary to say it like that.

And now Hungarian removes the plural of objects that are actually not one item. Because it is implied that it must mean more than one, a set.
The centipede is wearing "shoe". It is implied that it must mean dozens. lol



A gyerekek fekete cipőben vannak.

also a valid translation of "The children are wearing black shoes"?

(I'm slightly confused by when one should use the "(Person) is in (item of clothing)" form and when the "On (person) is (Item of clothing)" one — or are they mostly equivalent?)

Thanks in advance and sorry if this is a stupid question!


An answer to the same / a very similar question in another thread:


(In brief, the two are different ways of expressing the same thing, but they work for any clothing.)


If it's "shoes", why is it "cipő" and not "cipők"?


Shoes come in a set of two so they use the singular - iRBiS gives a good explanation above. No need for a marker for the plural if it's already implied that there are two of them. If it helps try to imagine they're saying "one pair of shoes" rather than "shoe".


the children have black shoes why is this wrong?


The children have black shoes. would be A gyerekeknek fekete cipőjük van. (This is covered later in the course, if I remember correctly.)

The children having the shoes and wearing them are obviously two different things, and they're expressed differently both in English and in Hungarian.


"wearing" visel "vagy van rajta" Különbség.

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