"Are you visiting the boys?"
Translation:Meglátogatod a fiúkat?
Is there an important difference here between látogatni and meglátogatni?
Here the prefix meg- expresses that the action happens once.
- "Holnap meglátogatom a nagymamámat." = "Tomorrow I'm going to visit my grandma."
- "Ritkán látogatom ezt a weboldalt." = "I rarely visit this website."
But that's not a strict rule.
- "Minden hétfőn meglátogatom a barátaimat." = "I visit my friends every Monday."
- "Milyen gyakran látogatod (meg) őt?" = "How often do you visit him?"
I'd always understood "meg" as expressing completion vs habitual/continuous acts. Isn't "are you visiting" more continuous that "do you visit"?
The prefix "-meg" often expresses completion, but that's not its only role. According to an article that discusses the aspects of Hungarian verbs (among some other languages), the two common meanings of "-meg" are:
- expressing that an action is completed successfully, with "megír" as one of the examples
- expressing that an action happens once (when the original verb refers to a durative or repetitive action), with "meglátogat" as one of the examples
I have a feeling I didn't answer your question at all. If so, please ask again in other words, and my brain will try harder to overcome this dull summer heat.
Thanks! I found this particular one more sensible after trying to translate it in the other direction, from Hungarian to English.
I have trouble with meg vs its lack in the present tense. In the past tense it seems a little more sensible -- I think it corresponds fairly directly to the difference between "I ate it" and "I was eating it".
But this seems to me to break down in the present tense, where "I eat" and "I am eating" seem the same to me.
"Megeszik" is in the first cathegory again. Of course we can only be sure that an action is completed successfully once happened, so in past tense it works well.
And for the same reason whenever "megeszik" is used in present tense, future events are implied.
- "Most eszik egy almát." -- "Now he's eating an apple."
- "Most megeszik egy almát." -- "Now he will eat an apple." or "Now he's eating an apple, and he will continue eating it until there's nothing of it left."