"A vendégek felállnak a mellől az asztal mellől, amelyikhez nem jön oda egy pincér sem."
Translation:The guests stand up from beside the table, to which not even one waiter comes.
There is a subtle (but discernible) difference between these two English sentences
- The guests to which not even one waiter comes over stand up from beside the table
(The guests may have been rebuffed earlier by a waiter while standing or upon entering the restaurant, sat down and then decided to get up and leave)
- The guests stand up from beside the table, to which not even one waiter comes over (The guests are seated and tire of waiting for the waiter to arrive at their table and then stand up and leave)
My question is (and Im probably splitting hairs here), given that in the first clause is seemingly neutrally phrased i.e the topic = the guests, but there is no focus, how do we know if the waiter has failed to come over to the guests or to the table? Is it because of "amelyikhez", i.e. as the guests are people and not inanimate objects, you would have to use another conjunction.. ? akikhez, and perhaps start the first clause with "Ők" to emphasise that the waiter is failing to come over to THEM and not the table?
Yes, the conjunction would make it clear. Also, these conjunctions tend to refer to the noun that is closest to them. So if it's the table:
- A vendégek felállnak az asztal mellől, amelyikhez nem jön oda egy pincér sem.
And if it's the guests:
- A vendégek, akikhez nem jön oda egy pincér sem, felállnak az asztal mellől.
Or if you don't want to split the first clause, you can of course change the word order:
- Felállnak az asztal mellől a vendégek, akikhez nem jön oda egy pincér sem.
I concur. And we can develop this construct even more:
"Azok a vendégek, akikhez..." or "Azok a vendégek, akiknek az asztalához..."
"A vendégek felállnak attól az asztaltól, amelyikhez..."
So, this is totally clear in Hungarian. In English, a single comma can make this same kind of difference. And Hungarian always uses the comma since the different meaning is built into the words and the conjugation. Hence the good chance of the incorrect comma in the translation. You will encounter many, many more of these types of sentences. Please keep reporting your confusion and suggesting the most natural translations, that would help our creators tremendously.
I notice that you're not using the "a mellől az asztal mellől" construction (which the course team translated as "from beside THE table" rather than THAT table). If I really wanted to say "from beside the table," does this mean I could say "az asztal mellől?" If so, then why do they use the more complicated construction to say the same thing?
If we look at the two constructions in themselves, you're right: "a mellől az asztal mellől" is "from beside that table", while "az asztal mellől" is simply "from beside the table". But because of the second clause that refers back to the table while further defining it, both constructions will have the sense of that (we're talking about that particular table after all). So in this case it's only a matter of emphasis: the longer construction highlights the table more.
No, the translations with "the" are correct. What I meant is that the second clause specifies which table we're talking about, so both possible constructions of the first clause practically mean the same thing, just like there's not much difference between using "that" or "the" in the English translation.
Actually, the difference is exactly the same, so now that I think about it, it would make sense to stick to the "a mellől az asztal mellől" -- "from beside that table" and "az asztal mellől" -- "from beside the table" pairs.
I would like to understand the difference between "ami " and "amelyik" . Would it be grammatically correct here to say : amihez instead of amelyikhez and would the meaning be different ?
I begin to have the sense that there is a complete dichotomy in how modern English speakers construct sentences versus Hungarian speakers. While the Hungarian speaker is apparently comfortable with long multi-clause sentences, English speakers are not. We would have made that one sentence multiple sentences or possibly used different phrasing altogether. I would have simply said "the guests get up from the table because not a single waiter came over." (At least American English. I can't speak for others.) In any case, we sit "at a table" not beside it. "Beside" implies being next to it, askance, not facing it as you would be if you were planning on dining there.
So much is "wrong" with these naive trandlations.