"Who wants the beer?"

Translation:Ki kéri a sört?

July 19, 2016

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Why "kér" instead of "akar" here?


The sentence should be correct with akar as well. Kér is a more polite way to ask for something (it literally means "to ask for"). Use it instead of akar only when what you desire is an object and it can be given to you by someone on the spot or in the near future.


Actually, in my non-native-speaker-of-hungarian opinion, kér is less correct here than akar. My best non-fluid translation of "kér" is "he politely asks for". Want is much more direct and less polite.


For some reason I forgot to take into account this specific context in my earlier comment.

"Kér" is perfectly fine here, and more common than "akar". In such sentences -- even though that's the literal translation -- it isn't really understood as "to ask for" by natives, more like "to want" or "to desire".

  • "Kéred ezt a kekszet?" -- "Do you want this biscuit?"
  • "Ki kér húslevest?" -- "Who wants some broth?"
  • "Melyik tollat kéred?" -- "Which pen do you want?"

It's still more polite than "akar", but also more common.


I would certainly translate all of the above examples with "want" replaced by "would like". "Would you like this biscuit? "Who would like some broth?" "Which pen would you like?" I recognize that the direct translation of "would like" is "szeretne", and that you can even do e.g. "Ki szeretne húslevest kérni". I still think that "want" is a poor translation of "kér". FWIW, e.g. szotar.sztaki.hu doesn't list "want" among its translations of "kér", though the ordering there is also sometimes a bit funny.


Yes, you are right. Actually I used "would like" in all of those examples at first, then decided against it, not wanting to bring in the conditional.

I don't think "Ki szeretne húslevest kérni?" would be used. "Szeretne" and "kér" together are redundant, even if you're very polite.

After re-reading my examples I'm on the opinion that it's "who wants something" that translates to "ki kér(i)". "Akar" fits more or less well into my first and third examples, but not into the second one and Duo's sentence. "Ki akarja a sört?" and "Ki akar húslevest?" are both correct, but don't feel natural to me. "Kér" is pretty neutral in these sentences (possibly the most neutral option), not necessarily implying politeness.


I disagree. Where you would use "who wants a beer" in English you would use "Ki kéri a sört?" in Hungarian. A word by word translation does always work between two languages. "Ki akarja a sört?" translates more to "who is (the ignorant sod) demanding a beer?"


I'm still pretty tentative with verbs. Would "Kik kérik a sört?" be correct for plural? Let's dispense with the idea that "the beer" refers to a single portion rather than the entire quantity of beer that is available here and now.


Yes, that's perfect.


Speaking of politeness, how about "Ki szeretné a sört"? I tried to go with this, and it was marked as incorrect. I think this could also fit well here, or am I mistaken? :-(


That's so polite that it doesn't fit as a translation of "who wants the beer?" anymore.


Can someone tell me what's wrong with the word order "ki a sort keri"?


If there's a question word in a sentence, the verb has to follow it.


"Ki a sört kéri?" Is that still grammatically correct, even if it changes the emphasis a bit?


No it isn't correct. Question words must always precede the verb unless there is a really good reason why not.


My Hungarian wife says that using "kéri" forces this sentence to be translated into a similar sentence, but not the exact correct sentence.

"Ki kéri a sört" translates to "who is asking for the beer?"

Whereas "Ki akarja a sört?" Is "Who wants the beer?"

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