"That man who is tall and strong gets on the tram."

Translation:Az a férfi száll fel a villamosra, aki magas és erős.

July 16, 2016

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How are we supposed to know when it's prefix+verb versus verb then prefix? There's literally no indicator


That's rather subtle. It has to do with the ordering of the parts of sentences, which is not explained early on in this course. Maybe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_grammar#Syntax helps a little bit. In particular: "A sentence usually consists of four parts: topic, focus, verb and the rest. Any of the four parts may be empty. [...] The focus attracts the attention to an element of the event [...] If a focus is present, the verbal prefix will be put after the verb (vitt el instead of elvitt)."

In this particular example, the focus is definitely on "that man". We can tell because the additional phrase "aki magas és erős" talks about that man, so he must be particularly interesting :-) So the prefix must definitely be after the verb in this case.

Without that phrase, both "az a férfi felszáll a villamosra" and "az a férfi száll fel a villamosra" would be OK, putting the man either in the topic or in the focus of the sentence and expressing slightly different nuances of meaning.


Great explanation, very helpful. Lingot 2 U.


I like your generosity & your avatar. Lingot2U2


can we phrase it in hungarian in the same way it is in english? With tall and strong first and gets on tram in second clause?


That's possible: "Az a férfi, aki magas és erős, felszáll a villamosra."
Or even more extreme: "Aki magas és erős, az a férfi száll fel a villamosra."


I tried the following (and was denied):
Az a férfi, aki magas és erős, a villamosra száll fel.

If I can use felszáll after the clause and take away some focus of that awesome man and make the verb important, I can certainly also split the focus to where that man goes? Or can I not?


Yeah, sure. That should be possible as well. :)


How come that's possible: "Az a férfi, aki magas és erős, felszáll a villamosra"? Is it because of the dependent clause that 'felszáll' is acceptable here instead of 'száll fel'? As gergo2 pointed out quoting wikipedia, it is necessary to split as soon as there is some focus, and that focus is still present: 'Az a férfi, aki magas és erős'. The syntax certainly seems to me one of the trickier parts of magyarul.


If you structure the sentence like this, you don't need to apply a focus. :)

Let's leave the dependent clause out for a bit. You end up with two ways of expressing the sentence (among others):

  • Az a férfi száll fel a villamosra. - focus on the man
  • Az a férfi felszáll a villamosra. - focus on the verb

Now if you place the dependent clause at any position in the sentence that's not right behind "az a férfi", you need the focus to unambiguously connect the man to the dependent clause. But if you say "az a férfi, aki magas és erős" the relationship is already unambiguous, so you can go on and place your focus somewhere else. You don't even need the az in this case. The dependent clause is just part of the subject here, just like most other languages handle it.

Why did I not say "Az a férfi, aki magas és erős, száll fel a villamosra"? It may be possible to express it like this, I'm not a native, but it seems a bit odd to me. The focus here would be on erős, which isn't even part of the same clause the verb is in. If you want to put the focus on férfi, you should place the dependent clause somewhere else, like in the given answer.


I think that the only man who iis tall and strong can get on the tram.Therefor the translation from Hungarian must be Az a ferffi aki magas es eroes szall fel a villamosra.What do the native Hungarians think thanks


Not a native, but I'll chime in here anyway. :)

Besides the spelling mistakes, there's one issue in your sentence that makes it sound very weird. The use of "száll fel" puts the focus on erős, but erős is part of the dependent clause while száll resides in the main clause. Your sentence would be okay if you just wrote felszáll instead.

But the translation doesn't have to be like that. I personally don't like dependent clauses that split the main clause, and Hungarian has a good system to avoid that. You see, the az in the beginning of the sentence and the aki that leads the dependent clause form a unit, so you can move the dependent clause wherever you like, like in the translation given above. The "az.., aki" construction makes it unambiguous who is supposed to be tall and strong.


Sorry until now I do not know how and when and where to use pre or posfixes in Hungarian verbs.For you it is clear of course for me not yet.Thanks for explaining.


The aki amik amelyik rules are seriously difficult

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