Miss, you could have saved us all a lot of trouble just by sitting down on a proper chair.
OK, now that I've thought about it a little bit, I understand more about why this item is the way it is.
Both sentences are talking about the action of getting onto the desk - not the continuous action of just sitting there. In other words, we don't want just "A tanár az íróasztalon ül / The teacher is sitting on the desk."
English normally distinguishes between the continuous action and the perfective one by using "sit" for continuous action, and "sit down" to indicate the change of state. It has to be "sit down" even when "down" seems to contradict the direction of motion (like here), because "sit up" has a different meaning.
In Hungarian (correct me if I'm wrong), either leül or felül will show the perfective action, and you can choose the one that corresponds to the direction of motion.
You got it!
I would say "sits on top" as the closest real English translation. But yes, the Hungarian version implies the action of moving into that position. Which is mostly missing from English, it is only implied by context. There is "into" and "onto" and a few others though that carry this meaning.
All of these le-/be-/ki-/fel-/el-/át-/rá-/ide-/oda-/etc. preverbs, when combined with a stationary verb like "sit", "stand", etc., still do indicate a moving action that results in the stationary position that the verb expresses.
It is hard to accurately express these in English, that's why we have so many of these awkward sentences.
And yes, a desk is usually higher than a normal position of sitting. So, compared to a chair, you would "sit up onto" the desk.
For what it's worth, "The secretary sits up onto the desk." would be perfectly acceptable English, and would better fit the Hungarian meaning.
I do agree that it sounds odd, but if I were trying to emphasize someone moving upward to sit on something higher than butt-level, this is how I would say it.
In that case, in Egnlish it would be far less awkward to say instead "The secretary climbs up onto the desk and sits". Even that is still weird in the present tense. It sounds less so in the past tense.
Not perfectably acceptable in English but I am learning Hungarian here so there is no use in perfecting the English EXCEPT when I am asked to translate HU - ENG. Then I need to know the expected DUO answer in order to be considered correct so I don't have to do the sentence over to finish the lesson..
It's not easy to guess from the English sentence that they want felül here.
In the Hungarian sentence, presumably felül is used because the desk is something high that you have to get up onto to sit on?
I think this should be "The secretary gets onto the desk". (Similar to the usage for getting onto a bus.)
Thank you for all of you. I've removed 'sits down' entirely. Duo accepts now these variants:
The secretary sits [upon/onto/on] the desk. The secretary [sits up/gets] on[/to] the desk.
I'd like to vote for "sits down [upon/onto/on] the desk"... as jsiehler explained up above, "sits" for many English speakers, including me, implies continuous passive location, while "sits down" is necessary for a change into a sitting position, even if that sitting position ends up being higher than the previous position.
Will you add a "[down/]" or a "[/down]" after "sits" in the first alternative, please?
Thanks - if you haven't already, please can you do it on the examples in the previous level too, i.e. 'the kindergarten teacher sits down onto the lamp and sings'? That's where I learnt felül as 'sits down' in the first place... :)
all this is very interesting. But in the case of our kindergarten teacher, I am assuming that when he/she sits on a child's desk, we should use "le" and not "fel" as he/she has to get down.
I think 'sits upon' would be most similar in English but, it would sound a bit old-fashioned or affected now.
The trouble with "climbing up" is that it implies stepping up on the feet.
Not really explicitly so, no. They could be a very short person, and had to haul themselves up onto the desk.
Both 'felül' and 'ráül' are correct. We may use 'felül' in case the secretary is short and the height of the desk is above the usual and the secretary even pulls her legs onto the desk, e.g. beneath herself.
However, if she is a tall lady with long legs and the desk is short, and she just sits down on it, with her legs remaining on the floor, essentially using the desk as a high chair, then I would probably say 'leül az íróasztalra".
In English I would say someone sits AT a desk not upon or up on unless they're actually sitting on the desk, as informally in front of a group or class. Or as in today's news we refer to sexual harassment at work and the boss is doing something inappropriate! After all, when would you actually sit ON a desk?
So is it all changed? I don't think so because I'm doing these lessons a year after this discussion started and I am still being counted wrong on sentences. Not this one but others from the 4 part sublative group. I have to give what I think is the incorrect answer to be able to pass on to the next question without doing it over.