"The train is always here at noon."

Translation:Délben mindig itt van a vonat.

July 18, 2016

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what are the rules to buit a sentence?


Hungarian word order is very flexible, but you will get the hang of it through practice. A general rule is that the focus is on the word/phrase directly before the finite verb, or on the verb itself, if it starts the sentence.

  • "Miki egy könyvet olvas." -- "Miki is reading a book." -- neutral word order
  • "Miki olvas egy könyvet." -- "Miki is reading a book, and not someone else."
  • "Egy könyvet olvas Miki." -- "Miki is reading a book, and not something else."
  • "Olvas egy könyvet Miki." -- "Miki is reading a book, and not doing something else to it."


That cleared a lot of doubts, have a lingot! I'm also wondering: can "van" be omitted in "Délben mindig itt van a vonat"?


Yes, you can omit "van" with "itt" and "ott", but only in third person singular.


I think you can not omit "van" in this case. In some of previous lessons someone wrote the rule: "VAN can not be omitted when we say - WHERE, - WHEN or - HOW something is." Let someone from native speakers correct me if I got it wrong.


Yes, that rule is valid... mostly. This is an exception that you don't necessarily need to keep in mind for now. With itt and ott you can omit van, even though they indicate location. BUT! It only works when these words precede the noun.


  • Az állomáson van a vonat. -- correct.
  • *Az állomáson a vonat. -- not a proper sentence
  • Itt van a vonat. -- correct
  • Itt a vonat. -- also correct
  • *A vonat itt. -- incorrect


You are right. But such is life, with triliards languages...


Actually I can imagine a situation where "A vonat az állomáson" would sound like borderline acceptable. In a context where having the train at the station is like a checkpoint and someone announces that we can tick this. So, in that case, I think "az állomáson" could act like "ready" or "done". But anyways this is just some trivia I wanted to add for fun. Have a lingot for your explanation, it should help the fellas :)


Köszönöm szépen!


It is a good question!


When do you use Dél and when Délben?


I think délben means 'at noon', and dél means 'noon' (nominative case)


You are right. I want to ed: dél, with small d is "noon", but Dél with capital D is South.


Not necessarily. If they aren't part of a proper name, then cardinal directions shouldn't be written with a capital letter in either of the languages.


I think, in English is obligatory. But I may be mistaken. In Hungarian, you are right.


Now I'm more confused. When is délbán used?


Franci.bon said it well, and it's délben.


Can the word order be changed? Would this be correct... a vonat van mindig itt délben?


At first I wanted to say that your sentence is not correct, but actually it is. It emphasizes a vonat, as if you said: "It's the train that's always here at noon (and not something else)." But in speech you would have to express this emphasis through the tone as well, stressing the word vonat.


My initial instinct was to write "Mindig itt van a vonat délben."

Does that emphasize, ALWAYS- the train is always, not just some of the time here at noon?


Yes, that's correct. "Mindig itt van a vonat délben" -- the train is always here at noon, every single day.

"Délben mindig itt van a vonat" expresses the same, with less emphasis.


Why "Mindig délben itt van a vonat" is not correct? and how are we supposed to decipher the focus on an english phrase in order to get the right order in the hungarian translation??? :/


I think you mostly gotta rely on common sense, this is rather common in written English (think of how "too", "either" or a simple "not" aren't very flexible about what they refer to).

So, taking a look at your sentence. You use up the focused position for "itt" (which, by the way, is not a bad idea with "van" if you have no specific reason to put something else in focus). So, both "mindig" and "délben" are topic words. The problem is, "mindig" is so general for time information that it's hardly time information anymore, it's more like just an adverb about how something is done. Putting it in front of the actual time information feels like trying hard to turn it into another time information and the two conflict. One would rather say "Minden délben" (every noon) because unlike "mindig", it can interact with the time information well.


Can I say "Mindig a vonat itt van délben", or does that word order just not work?


Unfortunately that doesn't work.


"A vonat mindig itt van délben" "A vonat itt van mindig délben" "Délben a vonat mindig itt van". This is all right! :)


I wrote délben mindig van itt a vonat. Why is this wrong?


It must be : itt van.


It has probably something to do with the combination " van itt", because I wrote "A vonat mindig van itt délben" and it was also wrong. So, I assume that correct are those sentences with "itt van"


A vonat van itt mindig délben - it is a correct sentence, but has different meaning : It is the train, not something else is here.


That is not correct, sorry. Should be itt van.


mindig van = always exists, there always is... it won't fit here, that's for sure


What would be the direct conversion of this arrangement? "A vonat van mindig itt délban"


It has an other meaning. Not a cat, not a dog, but the vonat.


Sorry, it is not correct. Itt van is correct.


See reply to Julie


why is 'Délben mindig a vonat itt van' wrong?


I've answered this question earlier too, it's good to read back sometimes if you are unsure about something. So, let me just paste it here:

(...) It feels unstructured. The verb is at the end with the most obvious focus ("itt") and the subject separates all the adverbs from the word, coming strangely late yet before the verb... Adverbs shouldn't stay so far from the verb, especially not because the subject is between them, for no apparent reason.


These are not very basic 'basics'. I'm really struggling at just the lower end of things here, and can't see me taking this much further. Introducing just basic words to start with is the normal thing, not launching into complex sentences!


The sentence is not difficult, but the Hungarian is, because the order of the word is almost free. :))


I agree this course still has some problems but it surely doesn't help that you just write something general out of frustration without saying it clearly what your problem is. What exactly is causing problems for you? From what I see, here is a sentence of six actually basic words, 2 of them are easily in the top 10 words by frequency but it may be even 3 or 4. I wouldn't call the sentence overly complex either, "The train is here" with additional information about frequency ("always") and time ("at noon")... but sure, that may be just me.

It would indeed help a lot if you could let us know what's the lower end of things you are struggling at and what makes you find this sentence so complex.


Hungarian here. In my opinion a more natural way to say this sentence would be "A vonat mindig délben van itt."


Why this answer is incorrect "Mindig délben itt van a vonat." ?


I pasted a former answer of mine, cause why not. :)

So, taking a look at your sentence. You use up the focused position for "itt" (which, by the way, is not a bad idea with "van" if you have no specific reason to put something else in focus). So, both "mindig" and "délben" are topic words. The problem is, "mindig" is so general for time information that it's hardly time information anymore, it's more like just an adverb about how something is done. Putting it in front of the actual time information feels like trying hard to turn it into another time information and the two conflict. One would rather say "Minden délben" (every noun) because unlike "mindig", it can interact with the time information well.


Why is this incorrect if word order is flexible? "Délben mindig a vonat itt van."


Flexible word order comes with great responsibility. You can't just drop the words in random order because it either 1. won't make sense or 2. even worse, it will imply something you didn't want. You were lucky this time, this simply doesn't make sense. It feels unstructured. The verb is at the end with the most obvious focus ("itt") and the subject separates all the adverbs from the word, coming strangely late yet before the verb... Adverbs shouldn't stay so far from the verb, especially not because the subject is between them, for no apparent reason.


Yes, the flexibility has some disadvantages. That is why the Hungarian is a very difficult language. As a native Hungarian I never make failure, but only a linguist can explain.


Would the structure "A vonat mindig itt van délben" stress the whole part before "van"? I'm confused. It sounds most natural to me to say it that way.


It's not invalid at all but it's a bit strange since the sentence sounds very complete without the last word... It feels like "délben" is way too important to be treated as a secondary word in the sentence... as if you said a complete sentence and then a distinct word, I think this makes Kifike feel délben was stressed.
My verdict: I don't think this is the most natural word order out there but in speech, it can easily be made natural by intonation.


I am not sure, but only "Délben" is stressed. But I am a chemist, not a linguist, native Hungarian.


Is "Délben itt a vonat mindig van" ungrammatical, or is it just the emphasis that's weird?


Excuse me it was a bad answer. I have written: Copletly bad, without explanation. This sentence is not Hungarian. But I am only a native Hungarian speaker, not a linguits, I can not explain you shortly it . The point is that any word is not on the place, it should be. The worlds are put on the places, where they should not be. Compare your sentence with the correct solution. Your sentence has no meaning in Hungarian. But go on. I am always glad if a foreigner wants to study Hungarian. If you are English speaking, you will find many mistakes in my answer. Best.


I'd add that "itt" and "van" are so far away from each other in your sentence... you got the subject and an unrelated adverb between them. giving location in a sentence with "to be" is not an optional detail but like the closest thing to the verb, semantically. Which, in Hungarian, implies they should be close to each other syntactically as well


The focus in your sentence is on the verb itself. It expresses something like this: "At noon, the train always exists here." So it doesn't make much sense. In another situation, with another verb, your structure could work Compare it to this sentence, for instance: "Délben itt a kutyák mindig ugatnak" -- "The dogs here always bark at noon".


I have written : A vonat mindig délben érkezik. It is the synonieme of your answer. Why have you not excepted it. I am native Hungarian speaker. The arrive is érkezik, and not van, by the way...


Én sem fogadnám el azt, hogy "a vonat mindig délben érkezik". A lényege valóban ugyanaz, ám az angol mondat szerint nem feltétlen délre érkezik meg a vonat, csak annyit tudunk meg, hogy délben mindig itt van. Ahogy írta, az arrive jelentése érkezik, de itt nem szerepel ez a szó.


Shamarth, are you Englisch or Hungarian?


I'm Hungarian.


what is the difference between délutàn and delben


délután = afternoon/in the afternoon, délben = at noon


i don't understand the difference between délben and délutan


My answer to the same question is right above your question. Sorta ironical.
Now I ask: what made you think they are the same? You are not the first one so I started to think something must be misleading.


To allay the frustrations of learners, yes the sentences here could use forms adapted to the English meanings. Alternatively, the English forms should have the Hungarian sentences structured for them.

And while I'd agree to the structuring mentioned by Shamarth's comment, that part should be left for academic debate. Respecting the subject+verb wombo combo order for the first lessons would allay most anxieties, I think.


I'd be curious what you actually mean by that. Structuring mentioned by Shamarth's comment is far from something academic since that's something that native speakers actually have in common and I can tell you inappropriate word order can cause a lot of confusion - especially when someone says a grammatically valid sentence but you aren't sure they said what they wanted to.

I also think misconceptions get harder to correct over time if they are left covered. As of now, we have too many people here on DL who think learning languages is about translating morphemes one by one - and also people who cannot accept that in Hungarian, words don't determine word order directly, even though this is something many of us try to explain from early on. I can only expect this to get worse if one tries to hide some fundamentals of Hungarian.

So, if you say there should be more straight, "someone does something" style sentences at the beginning, I think that's fair. Accepting translations like "A vonat van mindig itt délben", on the other hand, would be very counterproductive in my opinion.


(sorry in case you were bombarded with emails - tried connecting via gmail, ended up connecting via yahoo, had two accounts, deleted the irrelevant one)

Én pedig folytatolagosan gyakorolom a nyelvet, mert hitványul tanultam kiskoromban s nincs kivel beszéljem, mivel Romániában lakom.

Azt akarnám hogy egyszerüebben rendezzék a szavakat, legalább a kezdőknek, majd továbbá bövitsék ismeretüket a "finomabban" rendezzet mondatokkal, hisz épp nem fognak "sz mellet falni s fall melet *rni" tipusu mondatokat használni.

I find it academic because some of us literally don't consider the word order to the extent of that sort of focus. The fourth example of literally translatable "A book is what Miki's reading" sounds arhaic as heck to me. You wouldn't hear it used by anyone but the Elderly (probably not even them either). Additionally, I'm curious how -val and -vel is handled in later lectures, as those are fun to hear as well.

What I was thinking of in terms of simpler sentence structures is the basic Subject + Verb, with additional bits added as necessary. It might seem counter-productive, but for a language as different as Hungarian, compared to the rest of E. and W. European languages, it should be considered a compromise for the purposes of incremental improvement, "make it natural over time" type of thing.


Hát, szerintem ne a Duolingótól várd a megváltást, főleg ne a magyar kurzustól... sokszor nehezemre esik végigcsinálni a leckét, mert nem tudom kitalálni, mit várnak tőlem angol fordítás gyanánt... btw nekem például az "egyszerűebben" olyan, hogy szerintem irl nem hallottam még. A Google adott rá párezer találatot, szóval nem te találtad ki, azt látom, de... szokatlanul hangzik, mondjuk így.

Word order is not omnipotent but this doesn't mean an overwhelming majority of us wouldn't use the same set of rules when interpreting a written sentence. I didn't find any of those sentences archaic - I broke them down logically and some of them sounded odd by sentence structure. Like, putting the verb in front leaves the sentence without a topic and with a bloated tail part, also the subject gets very far from the predicate - it's not like people couldn't say a sentence like that, more like they have no reason to.

For the rest, I think I have already said what I wanted to say: more basic (yet natural) sentences are very welcome for me, exercises that try to hide the nature of word order much less.


Erdélyi, Székely s Magyarországi magyarok közt kicsiny külömbségeket lehet találni - külömböző szavakat használhatunk, különféle akcentust is. Néhányan nagyon hamar beszélnek, s igy le röviditík a szavakat, mások lehet hogy csak le röviditík. Nehezzeb amikor neologizmusokat is használunk mint k.b. különféle külföldi szavakat, akár szomszédi nyelvektöl is. A magyar nyelvet poétikusnak hallotam dicsérve.

The reality is that every language has an attempt at being institutionalized, analyzed and given strict rules to, while forgetting some of the golden rules that went into the language - that it was spoken first, and written second. If its speakers fractionate due to different decisions, are the speakers wrong or is the codex in which it was designed wrong? The logical conclusion opens up a debate not really worth it here I guess. I'll continue using Duo for practice anyway; thanks for the convo.


A magyar nyelvet poétikusnak hallotam dicsérve. I heard that the Hungarian language was praised for its "poetic capacity/ability".

This is coming from what I've heard from Hungarian teachers and the local curriculum around these parts. Our study of poetry is lengthy and especially exhausting if you don't have any inclination or assistance in understanding it. That, and well, there's cultural pride.


A magyar nyelvet poétikusnak hallotam dicsérve. - ezt tbh nem értem :o

You seem to have missed the point, sadly. Word order is not something native speakers are forced to learn, like for example spelling is. It's not even something that we talk about in school - actually language learning sites are the most reassuring that there are meaningful rule kind of practices at all. I actually agree with "spoken language first" (that's why I rebel against ly too) - not everyone does - but it's not like there are completely different rules for writing, you just have more overall freedom in speech because of intonation and whatnot. People don't say sentences with completely different logic, they just have more finetuning, like you can save a sentence even if you started with a different word order and changed your mind on the way and stuff. ^^


I think no SIDEWONDER.


I have absolutely no idea how to learn proper word order here: what are the rules? Why is "a vonat" after délben not accepted? What should we be looking out for? Are there any tips coming?


A full example may be useful to have a better answer. If you mean "Délben a vonat mindig itt van." then that feels fine for me and you could report it to get it accepted.


Can someone explain why this is wrong: "Délben mindig a vonat itt van". I am having a hard time to understand how emphasis and the word order


Is it also okay to say "a vonat mindig itt van délben"?


I think, yes. But there are so many acceptable versions, that the computer can't handle it.


HAHA it feels so good to change the word order in a way you think will work and have it be successful! Hungarian is awesome just for letting you do that. I got it wrong once before trying to translate the words in the order they were in English (A vonat mindig van itt délben), then the second time I tried introducing délben earlier and having the "always here" part right before the verb to emphasize importance (A vonat délben mindig itt van) and IT WORKED! I feel like the master of Hungarian sentence order!

tl;dr Playing with grammar is the best way to learn about it!


"Délben a vonat itt van mindig" is incorrect?


It's hard to evaluate all permutations of words to a binary choice "correct"/"incorrect". They aren't equally likely though. "Délben a vonat itt van" sounds okay for telling a fact about the time of noon and the train - even though "Délben itt van a vonat" sounds more likely. Now, putting "mindig" at the end, therefore making it a trivial detail, makes the sentence more uncommon.


I thought that "Delben" meant "in the after noon" and "del van" specifically meant "at noon" so shouldn't it be "del van"?


This isn't the case. "Dél" is "noon", "délben" is "at noon", "dél van" is "it's noon", literally. Just like "afternoon" is quite literally "délután" (which can be used as an adverb on it's own, by the way).


Is "Delben mindig a vonat itt van" wrong. It was marked as wrong. Is it less right than other ways.


Please read the comments before asking, I have already answered this question, moreover I have even recited it once.


I wrote A vonat itt mindig délben van. Can someone please explain to me why this is not correct?


The word order is basically free. Now, we find that it's basically not. This is not a simple sentence at this early stage, particularly with all the inbuilt vicissitudes.


The myth of "basically free word order" should be stopped somehow, whoever spread it.


For the life of me, I will never get the order of words in this language.


I wrote Délben a vonat mindig itt van it was not correct

[deactivated user]

    It worked now, thanks for reporting it(I guess)


    I worte Délben a vonat mindig itt van and it was not correct


    Does this pretty much translate as "at noon always here is the train"?


    if you are trying to go for some kind of word for word translation from hungarian, then yes.


    The stress of the word "vonat" always seems to be on the last syllable. Am I mishearing it?


    I dont hear it. To be fair, TTS is not the best, and i dont think stress is that important in hungarian (or maybe im just way too used to it).


    I personally hear the stress on the first syllable (as it should be). It's pronounced /ˈvo.nɒt/

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