"I am talking about the chimney, and not about the balcony."
Translation:Én a kéményről beszélek, nem pedig az erkélyről.
Now, this is interesting, because I could be talking about the chimney, but I could also be sitting on top of the chimney and talk. The Hungarian sentence can mean either.
I want to say yes, but I am not very familiar with Latin. But Spanish is relatively close, correct?
I think it is only a subset of "de". For example, "away from" is not fully covered.
"-ról"/"-ről" - means "from on top of" or "from the surface of", "from the outside of". Or "off (sg)". Something like that. It is an important distinction in the case of things that you can get away from differently. You can get away from a building, that would be "-tól/-től", "el az épülettől". But if you climb off the building, that is "-ról/-ről", "az épületről". In some cases the usual way of getting away from something is the same as getting off something. Let's take a street.
I am talking from the street - Az utcáról beszélek
I am talking about the street - Az utcáról beszélek
But, even here, you can move away from the street. Distance yourself from the street. "Eltávolodni az utcától".
Anyway, the point is, only the "-ról/-ről" suffix can also mean "about". "-tól/-től" cannot.
By the way:
"What are you talking about?" - "Miről beszélsz?"
It is not really ambiguous in Hungarian but, if you wanted to be "funny", you could answer with a location.
If we are definitely asking about the location:
"From where are you talking?" - "Honnan beszélsz?"
If you're sitting on the chimney and talking, wouldn't it be "Én a kéményen beszélek?
Both are true, of course. If I am on the chimney and talking, I am talking on the chimney. "A kéményen." But, at the same time, you could be standing in front of the house, on the ground, and I could be talking to you, from the chimney. "A kéményről." Isn't that right?
Or if you are in New York and I am in Budapest and you are calling me on the phone: are you calling/talking from New York or in New York**? Technically, I guess, both are correct. It depends on what aspect of the action we are talking about.