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  5. "Kik mennek a hídon?"

"Kik mennek a hídon?"

Translation:Who is walking on the bridge?

July 13, 2016



What does this sentence mean? It doesn't really make sense in English.

  • 773

(Who are walking on the bridge?)

EDITED, correct version is: Who is walking on the bridge?


But "Who is walking on the bridge?" would be "Kik sétálnak a hídon?", right?

  • 773

You are right, walk = sétál, go = megy, so if the sentence says kik mennek, they could be walking, or driving, or biking, as long as they are going on the bridge :)

But I think there is a mistake here in the translation: "Kik mennek" is in plural, so the English version should be plural too: "who are going?"


Except "Who are going" is incorrect in English. I explained this to someone else on here yesterday. "Who" is treated as singular (with respect to verb agreement) where the acting verb is not a form of "to be".

So it's always "Who is going", whether it's singular or plural.


To use the verb "to go" in this sentence is Hunglish - direct translation of Hungarian - we should avoid, if possible. Who's walking on the bridge? would be the correct English version. "Ki/kik megy/mennek a hidon? in Hungarian.

  • 773

Ok, thanks, I wasn't sure:)


"Kik" means more than one person, so if you'd see loads of people on a bridge you could ask that


I think it makes sense in English. I'm imagining people standing next to a wobbly broken down bridge debating who should be the first to test whether it falls over...


No, that's the wrong idea. This is not a case of someone moving from a location apart from the bridge onto the bridge itself. Rather, it is about someone who is already on the bridge moving.


Who is walking on the bridge was wrong and I don't know why.


Your solution is correct.


Would "who is going over the bridge?" be correct?


"Over" as in "across"? That would rather be described with átmegy (or "Kik mennek át a hídon?", respectively.) The simple megy here focuses on the fact that they're going, but not where.


So, would it be correct to say Kik átsétálnak a Lánchídon Budára?, using átsétálni in stead of átmenni?


In principle yes, but grammatically no. Remember that a question word has to be in the focus of the sentence, so the verbal prefix gets separated: "Kik sétálnak át a Lánchídon Budára?"


Köszi a válászt!


Two months later I realise I have only read half of your question, so I gotta rectify that. Hi again. :)

I meant in the above comment that the naked, prefix-less megy (to go) doesn't give a direction, just like the naked sétál (to walk). But both átmegy (to go over) and átsétál (to walk over) can be used in your example sentence, just with the difference that "Kik mennek át" refers to a general "going across the Chain Bridge", while "Kik sétálnak át" is the more specific "walking across".

Sorry if I confused you somehow.


thanks for clarifying!


Miért nem jó ˝Who is walking on the bridge?˝


"Walking" is better translated with sétál. Though I admit that "going on the bridge" sounds a little awkward. Read the comments above if you will.


"Walking" might often translate better into sétál, but that doesn't mean megy translates better into "going" in every context, right? Even though I can't think of a translation which preserves both the meaning and the structure of the Hungarian sentence while sounding correct, we just *don't* use "go" in the manner that the "correct" translation does.

I guess approaching situations like this, where a great translation doesn't exist, is difficult for the course's creators, and it's probably something they've given a lot of thought--and, certainly, seeing an eyesore like "going on the bridge" pushes a student into the discussion section, where she can learn in more detail about the Hungarian word's meaning and usage. That said, it's still pretty unsatisfying to be required to type a "wrong" English sentence as the "right" answer, even if there isn't a better translation.


I don't like the "walking" as you cannot tell the means of transport surely. Why not "who is driving on the bridge", "running on the bridge", "crawling on the bridge", "biking on the bridge"? So the best translation would be "Who is travelling on the bridge?"


Who "is" and who "are".... both accepted here


mennek - is in plural


"Who is" would make more sense in English but "Who are" (are = plural) is what it really means if you interpret it.


Just looked at the grammar notes for this ... Why is it hídon not híden? (In the notes it says back vowels use -on) Is this just an exception? Járdán too?


Járda is a noun that ends on a vowel, so it only gets -n attached to the end (and if the ending vowel is 'a' or 'e', it gets lengthened, as always).

Híd is a back-vowel word. The vowels 'i' and 'í' (and to some extent 'é' and rarely 'e') are a bit more free-for-all. They can be either front- or back-vowel. If there's another vowel with them in the word, those dictate the vowel harmony, like in ihlet - inspiration (front vowel), or tányér - plate (back vowel). But if it's just 'i' or 'í' or 'é', you need to memorise it. Here a few examples:

Front vowel:

  • víz - water; a vízben - in the water
  • bicikli - bicycle; a biciklire - onto the bicycle
  • ízlik - to taste; ízleni - (infinitive)
  • csíp - to pinch/bite; csípett - it pinched
  • ín - sinew; ínek - sinews
  • mi - what; miben - in what

Back vowel:

  • híd - bridge; hidak - bridges
  • hív - to call; hívnak - they call
  • ír - to write; írok - I write
  • iszik - to drink; iszom - I drink
  • férfi - man; férfiak - men
  • cél - goal; célok - goals


So, if i get this correct the literal grammatically correct but incorrect meaning is "who is going on the bridge?" and the actual meaning but definitely not a direct literal translation is "who is crossing the bridge?"


who are crossing the bridge - is the correct version. Kik mennek - is in plural.


And still, in English "who" and "what", used as an interrogative subject, are generally singular, even if you'd expect a plural answer: "Who does this?" "What is happening?" "Who was caught?"

The only times where it diverts from that pattern is in copula sentences. In those cases "who" and "what" appear to become the object while the other entity is the subject, e.g. "Who am I?", where the verb takes the conjugation of "I".

Also as a relative pronoun it doesn't necessarily need to be singular anymore if the associated noun in the main clause is plural, e.g. "The women who have seen it..."

It's surprisingly hard to find dictionary sources with that because it doesn't seem like a mistake natives would readily do, but according to this language forum entry there seems to be an remark on it in Michael Swan's "Practical English Usage", so you can ask vvsey about it. They have that book. Here's the quote from the forum, it's a little buried in there:


According to Michael Swan "Practical English usage, Oxford 1995" when 'who' and 'what' are used to ask for the subject of a clause (as in this case), they most often have singular verbs, even if the question expects a plural answer.

  • The girls are playing outside. - Who is playing outside?
  • John and Phyllis (they) are going to the theatre. - Who is going to the theatre?

When "who" and 'what' are used to ask for the complement of a clause, they can have plural verbs.

  • Tom and Susan are my best friends. - Who are your best friends?
  • Alex and Mary are my grandparents. - Who are your grandparents?


Not necessarily crossing, even though that would be the normal thing you do on a bridge, going from one end to the other. Crossing would usually be expressed by using the verbal prefix át-, as in átmegy, etc.

A slightly closer translation/interpretation of the original sentence would be "Who is moving on the bridge?"


Is there a reason why the suffix is -on instead of -en? The tips and notes say -en should be used for unrounded front vowels.


híd is one of several cases where i is a back vowel (there used to be two versions of i).


So some vowels can be both front and back vowels?


Nab, I'd rather call them "neutral". The vowels 'i' and 'í', and to some extent 'é' and rarely 'e', can appear in both front- and back-vowel words and do not influence the vowel class. If the only vowels in your word are 'i', 'í' and 'é', you'll have to memorise which vowel harmoy it takes:

  • híd - hídak (bridge)
  • hír - hírek (news)
  • iszik - én iszom (to drink)
  • illik - én illem (to fit)
  • cél - célok (goal)
  • szél - szélek (edge)


Thanks. It would be nice if the "tips and notes" also referred to them as "neutral" and included information about exceptions as you have done.

I would spend a lot less time searching through these discussions for answers and progress much more quickly through the lessons.


correct: Ki sétál a hídon?

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