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  5. "Nem a tengernél lakom."

"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" ?


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.


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).


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!


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.


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!


Thank you :-)


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".


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


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.

[deactivated user]

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


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


    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.


    -ik verbs give me headaches :)


    My answer should be accepted. It was: I do not live by the ocean. In English sea and ocean mean the same. Is there a separate word for 'ocean' in Hungarian?


    Sure: "óceán".
    Sea and ocean are not the same. Would you call the Atlantic Ocean "Atlantic Sea"? Or the Black Sea "Black Ocean"?

    But you are right, when we go to the beach we can just say we go to the sea even if it is on the ocean.
    Yet they are separate words both in English and Hungarian.

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