"Nem a tengernél lakom."

Translation:I do not live by the sea.

August 2, 2016



Why is it the definite conjugation "lakom" and not "lakok" ?

August 2, 2016


This is a special issue, with verbs that have the singular third person suffix "-ik"

Ő lakik - He/She lives.

There are more than a few of these.

For verbs like this, the "normal" first person singular suffix would be "-(.)k", "lakok". But that is somehow considered bad. Hopefully somebody can explain the reason behind this. But the point is, with these "-ik"-type verbs ("ikes igék"), the first person singular suffix changes to "-()m".

  • LAKOM, not "lakok" - 3rd singular: "lakik"
  • ÚSZOM, not "úszok" - 3rd singular: "úszik"
  • JÁTSZOM, not "játszok" - 3rd singular: "játszik"


These are still considered indefinite, just a special case. To clarify this, the indefinite conjugation matches the definite conjugation, in the first person singular only.

Everyone will understand the "-k" version, it is just considered incorrect. With some verbs more so than with others. For example, "úszok" does not sound that bad to me at all.

August 2, 2016


The reason behind it actually makes one wonder why we still have this conjugation in the first place. It was useful in Old Hungarian, but now it has no function.

Before the -t suffix started to indicate all direct objects, and before definite conjugation was invented, word order (SOV) determined what is the object of the sentence. But if either the subject or the object was missing from the sentence, it suddenly became ambiguous. The -ik verbs helped to make a clear distinction. But with the spread of the -t suffix and the appearance of the definite conjugation, they lost their role before they could even fully evolve (that's why there's no difference in the conjugation of -ik verbs and non -ik verbs in plural).

August 2, 2016


Very interesting, thanks!
I can compare this with Turkish, where the accusative suffix is only used with definite objects. There is no suffix when the object is indefinite. So, the word order defines the object. But once the word order is mixed up (for example, extra words are inserted), even the indefinite object gets the accusative suffix.
Clearly, conjugation makes languages free!

August 2, 2016


That's an interesting similarity! According to what I've read, originally the -t suffix was only used with definite objects in Hungarian too. I wonder which other languages work or worked similarly.

August 2, 2016


My (limited) understanding is that grammatical systems are thought to be somewhat cyclical, which makes it interesting to me that the language has grown more inflectional (when the nearby trend was the opposite) and that perhaps modern Hungarian has locked in a different part of this cycle. Very interesting!

April 14, 2017


Thank you :-)

August 5, 2016


what was wrong with "I am not living by the sea"?

January 22, 2017


I think it should be accepted. But I would point out that certain English verbs, 'live' among them, are used less often in the progressive (-ing) form.

July 6, 2017


Calling these suffixes "cases" is unnecessarily scary. Cases are for Indo-European languages, and are far more complicate than these, but Hungarian belongs to another language family.

In Hungarian, PREpositions are attached after the words, instead of before, therefore they could be called POST-POSITIONS (or "postposition suffixes"). That is all.

Using Latin expressions to describe these post-positions just makes things sound more difficult. It also feels a bit weird to me, since Hungarian is completely unrelated to Latin.

"Inessive" comes from "in esse", Latin for "to be in/inside". "Superessive" comes from "super esse", Latin for "to be on/above". "Adessive" comes from "ad esse", Latin for "to be at/next to".

September 10, 2017


How about "I do not live NEAR the sea." Not the same?

November 1, 2016


"Nem a tenger közelében lakom" is a more accurate translation for that.

November 2, 2016


Practically speaking "near the sea" is what I'd say if I'm thinking tengernel.

I've never heard anyone say "I live at the sea" it's by or near the sea.

March 22, 2017


-ik verbs give me headaches :)

November 4, 2016
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