Please could someone explain the word order in Hungarian to me? This in English is literally: 'A black tree sees Zsuzsa' - I understand how to translate it because of the cases, but I wouldn't know how to understand this if it were spoken or write it myself.
The 't' at the end of 'fa' shows that 'fa' is the object of the verb, and so you know that Zsuzsa must be the one seeing.
I know that, hence 'I know how to translate it because of the cases'. However, what I'm saying is, if you told me the English and wanted the Hungarian equivalent, I wouldn't know which order to put the words in. That's what I mean.
Hungarian word order is very flexible, and it's mainly the emphasis that determines it. A general rule is that the most important word/phrase or the one that conveys new information should be directly before the finite verb, or if you want to emphasise the verb, put it in the beginning of the sentence.
- Egy fekete fát lát Zsuzsa. / Zsuzsa egy fekete fát lát. -- it's a black tree that Zsuzsa sees.
- Zsuzsa lát egy fekete fát. / Egy fekete fát Zsuzsa lát. -- Zsuzsa is the one who sees a black tree
- Lát Zsuzsa egy fekete fát. / Lát egy fekete fát Zsuzsa. -- Zsuzsa does see a black tree
Is that "wood" as in "forest", or "wood" as in the material that trees (or tables or doors, etc.) are made out of? (So, German Wald or Holz?)
That would be interpreted by most English speakers as "Zsuzsa regularly goes on a date with a black tree".
"see" is a stative verb in the meaning "perceive with one's eyes", and is not usually used in the continuous tenses with -ing.
Similarly with "I think you are right" or "I have no idea" or "Can you hear him?" or "I hear shouts" -- not "I am thinking you are right", "I am having no idea", "Are you canning hear him?", or "I am hearing shouts".
Why did they use 'lát'? At the internet, I found 'latok'. So, what's the difference between 'ő latok' and 'ő lát'?
"Lát" is the third person singular conjugation, i.e. "(s/he) sees", while "látok" is the first person singular "(I) see". The sentence "ő latok" doesn't make sense ("S/he (I) see").