"A madarak nincsenek bent."

Translation:The birds are not inside.

July 30, 2016

This discussion is locked.


With "nincsenek", wouldn't a more accurate translation be : "there are no birds inside" ? And something like "A madarak nem bent" for "the birds are not inside" ?


The definite article A at the beginning makes the given translation, "The birds are not inside" appropriate - there are some definite birds under discussion, and they aren't inside.

"A madarak nem bent" doesn't really work as a sentence. When you're asserting the location of something, you do need van or vannak ... but you can't use "nem vannak" ... so you use nincsenek.


Thanks for the clarification !


So how would you say "There are no birds inside?" I keep getting these wrong - sometimes I'll translate something as "X are not here" and that's wrong because it should say "there are no X here." And other times it will happen the opposite way, like it did with this sentence just now. What is the rule for when a sentence containing "nincs" or "nincsenek" means one or the other? Thanks!


The word order matters in this case. Yes, and the definite article.

"A madarak nincsenek bent. " The birds are not inside.

Nincsenek bent madarak. (Nincsenek madarak bent) There are no birds inside.


To be confirmed but if I understood correctly, something like : "nincsenek madarak bent" (word order ? bent nincsenek madarak ?). So very close to the exercise sentence, but without the definite article.


That makes sense, thanks! Because you couldn't say "there are no the birds inside," right?


That wouldn't make sense, no - that would be simultaneously introducing a new topic ("there are") and referring to an old topic ("the").


Also, "there are no birds" is indefinite, I think. You're talking about any birds, of which there aren't any. :) So you wouldn't need a/az.


Why does madár become madarak, why is the á shortened?


This shortening typically happens to á and é when they occur in the final syllable of a word ("closed" off by a consonant at the end of the syllable) and you add endings after them.

madár - madarat, madarak, and so on ...
fonál - fonalat, fonalak, ...
kéz - kezet, kezek, kezem, ...
név - nevem, nevet, nevek, ...


And the opposite happens, too - maybe when the final letter is a vowel? E.g., alma -> almák.

Is there a rule about vowel length changes (in either direction) when endings are added? It seems random to me, and, except for a few that I've simply memorized over time, I can never remember whether the vowel in the final syllable changes (for a/á and e/é). I don't remember learning any rule about that.


With almost all endings, a final a or e will become á or é when you add an ending after it, as you say. That is very predictable and dependable. There is one important ending that is an exception to this rule - the -ság / - ség ending, but it doesn't appear in this Duo course. It's used for forming abstract nouns from adjectives, basically.

There are a few dozen words that exhibit the shortening behavior I described in the post above - one- or two-syllable words, with a long vowel in the last syllable shorten it when you form the plural, or accusative, or other endings that would take a linking vowel. I guess it's best just to think of them as exceptional and make a note of them when you come across them, although I think your ear will soon learn to hear when it's likely to happen before long. (To be fair, though: I just thought of the word sál and realized I wasn't sure whether it shortened in the plural or not. So - there's always an element of memorization, I guess.)

Upon some thought I guess it can happen with í and ú as well. Both híd (bridge) and úr ("lord" or "gentleman" or "sir") shorten their vowel in the plural and accusative. But I think these must be very rare.


Thanks for the explanation! I've gotten this information piecemeal - some from Duo, some from Memrise, and some from songs I've learned - but I didn't know what the underlying logic was, so I didn't know how to generalize it. This helps.


is it grammatically wrong if I say "a madarak nem bent van"??


yes, if you mention multiple abjects/animals/persons, the copula (to be) should indicate that as well, therefore has to be used in the correct 1st/2nd/3rd/sing./pl. form. So your sentence would be: "A madarak nem bent vannak" - "The birds are not inside" (but maybe somehwere else). - so this could be an acceptable solution.


The word "nem" always in from of the negated word, in this case, the location, BUT: you can not use a negated copula in present tense in neither 3rd person singular nor plural.

So instead of saying "nem van" or "nem vannak", you need to use "nincs" and "nincsenek" (sing./pl.)

so 1st person:

"Nem itt vagyok" - I'm not HERE

"Nem vagyok itt" - Here I AM NOT

and in 3rd person:

"Nem itt van" - S/He is not HERE

BUT "Nincs itt" (instead of "nem van itt")- Here she IS NOT -

The second one sounds a bit like Yoda, but I hope you can understand: in the first case, you negate the location (but if you use this, the location is usually mentioned in the context, or it is implied that you'll tell it as well), in the second case you negate the copula (and there is a less chance that you'll reveal your location, or it is not that important).

Other than this little semantical difference (you'll negate the part you want to emphasise), both versions can be used.


I would like to know this'


Would you please translate this sentence to Hungarian language " There are no birds inside " . Thanks in advance.


Nincsenek bent madarak.


Can I say "vannak bent madarak", if without nem?



Vannak bent madarak. Vannak madarak bent. Madarak vannak bent. Bent vannak madarak. Bent madarak vannak.

A madarak bent vannak. A madarak vannak bent. Bent a madarak vannak. Bent vannak a madarak.


The tips and notes use the example: Nincs itt madár. ‘There are no birds here.’ So why was "nincs" used in the example while "nincsenek" is used in this sentence?


I think the Tips&notes doesn't use the best example.

Nincsenek itt madarak. There are no birds here.

Nincs itt madár. There is no bird here.

But since there is none, the singular and the plural versions mean the same thing. They both mean zero birds...


Thank you for the response. So it seems to come down to context to know which of the above sentences would be used?


Because madár is also plural: madárak.


Are these examples interchangeable? Singular and plural


Thanks for the response but I don't think you answered my question. If madár is plural why is "nincs" used and not "nincsenek"?


Madarak - nincsenek, mada'r - nincs


So why not just use Madarak - nincsenek in both sentences?


i dont know, i am not hungarian :) I would used madarak in both

Learn Hungarian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.