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  5. "A lányok hegedülnek, a fiúk …

"A lányok hegedülnek, a fiúk pedig táncolnak."

Translation:The girls are playing the violin, and the boys are dancing.

August 2, 2016



Do the hungarian use something similar for the rest of the instruments? I mean... Are "play the piano", "play the guitar" or "play the xylophone" single verbs? Or does it only happen with the violin?


Just about any instrument (or for that matter, just about any noun) can be turned into a verb like this. The -l ending is a little uncommon though. Most of them form the verb differently.

zongora (piano) - zongorázik (play the piano)
gitár (guitar) - gitározik (play the guitar)
fuvola (flute) - fuvolázik (play the piano)
brácsa - brácsázik (play the viola)
cselló - csellózik, and so on.

The word for "drum" forms a verb more like "violin" does: dob (drum) - dobol (play drums).

Watch out for oboa (oboe), though. Oboázik has a slang meaning that you probably don't want. Oboán játszik is safer.


Thanks, jsiehler! Supercool info! It's very interesting how the instruments are turned into verbs. It sounds like "Hey, are you pianing? No, I pianed a couple of hours ago. Now I'm flauting". Btw... zongora sounds funny, very different compared to the common quasi-universal word "piano/pianino/pianoforte". And I can imagine what the "oboázik" means :P


There is a verb zeng which is just an onomatopoeic word for "make a noise" or "sound" as a verb (it covers all kinds of things from clanging and clanking to heavenly angel voices singing out). Anyway, I'm pretty sure that's the origin of zongora, with some sound changes over the years.


Great! In Wiktionary, you can read: "From the verb zeng ("to resound"). Created during the Hungarian language reform which took place in the 18th-19th centuries".


Why does it insist on having a the before violin? In English (at least to me) it sounds more natural to just say "the girls play violin", although I suppose that gives a connotation that not only are they playing violin right now, but they can play violin in general


Using the article is more common in the UK, where one can use it to either refer to the skill in general or as a synecdoche to the instrument in an orchestra.¹

“My daughter plays the violin.” (General sense). “My daughter plays the violin in the London Symphony Orchestra.” (She is the violin of the orchestra).

However, it is possible not to use the article, implying that one refers to a position in a group: “My daughter plays violin in the London Symphony Orchestra”. (Her position in the orchestra is of violinist).

The general sense of skill may also present itself by not using the article, but is more common in the US: “My daughter plays violin.” (General sense, as well).

Ultimately, they both seem to be right, but vary usage depending on where you are.

  1. http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/6635/omission-of-definite-article-with-musical-instruments


Either "play violin" or "play the violin" should be accepted. You can report it if it comes up again for you. Personally, I don't find any perceptible difference in meaning between the two in this sentence, and they both sound equally natural to me.


Only "play the violin" sounds natural to me, FWIW.


I've never come upon a source (book/teacher on any level) that would say the article is not needed here. It's always "play THE violin/piano/flute/whatever". Just another rule. Is it really not used anymore in some English-speaking areas?


I definitely use and hear people use the expression without the article, so it's a thing at least in the US. Maybe it's not 100% grammatically correct so it's not included in books or taught in classes though? I'm not sure really about that perspective though as I'm a native English speaker


I'm not only a native English speaker, but I'm also a classical musician, and either is fine. :-)


I'm a native American English speaker, and a classical violinist. For me the two forms are almost identical. But I can tell you how I tend to choose.

If I'm at a party, and someone who is not a musician asks what instrument I play, I usually say "I play the violin".

But if I am with a group of other musicians, and one of them asks me the same question, then say "I play violin".

I have no idea why one sounds better to me in one situation, and the other sounds better in the other situation. That probably doesn't help you at all :-) But it's just an example of how subtly native speakers use and hear their language. I wouldn't worry about it :-)

By the way, is it just me, or do other classical musicians use the two forms the same way I do?


As a non-musician (but music lover nevertheless) my understanding of the usage of these two English phrases, "play the violin" and "play violin", is that the former is used as a descriptive generalisation among English speaking people. It's also more likely to be said about a solo performer, "he/she plays the violin". The latter tends to be used amongst musicians, eg in an orchestra where like musicians play a line in a musical score. Each violinist will then be said to "play violin", or even more specifically to "play first violin" or "play second violin", whatever the score demands. This is an example of when "the" is dropped.


My best guess for why you prefer each form is context. If you're saying out of the blue what you're doing, you say "I play the violin". You make it known that you're a musician.

But if it's already established that you play an instrument in an orchestra/group, you're just stating your role within that group: "I play violin."


For sure it's grammatically correct to say 'the violin', 'the drums', 'the flutes' etc. Skipping the 'the' seems to me to be bordering slang or dialect.

More importantly though, why are we learning the verb for play the violin this early on in the lessons (assuming one has to do them from top to bottom). I think we haven't even learnt the verbs for eat or drink yet...


Do others also find it confusing that 'pedig' is translated into so many different ways, where some translations are not always accepted? So far, I have seen it translated into 'however', 'and', 'but' and nothing. Now it is translated into 'whereas' and my translation "the girls play violin, the boys are dancing" came back as a mistake. Should I simply stick to "whereas" as universal translation or will that not be accepted in other sentences?


It's a word that doesn't translate into English in a very consistent way. If you use a conjunction that makes sense and sounds right in English but isn't accepted, just report it.


Thanks, will do. Problem is, I am not native in English (Duo does not have Hungarian in my native language), therefore the discussion. Good to know that indeed, there is no simple translation of pedig.


Fiddles don't get no respect. :)


Sigh! I used "fiddling" as the verb. It's not classical in English, but it's used in many regions.


Feel free to report it as an error -- it is equally valid to translate hegedülni as "to play the violin" as it is to say "to play the fiddle" or even just "to fiddle". All of these should be acceptable synonyms.


There were only two THE so it was impossible to write THE girls play THE violin whereas THE boys dance


great observation. angering tiny details/mistakes to fail on


What about the aspect of seeming to mix plural and singular?

  • The girls play the violin/The girls play violin - many girls all play the one violin (maybe they take turns)

  • The girls play the violins/The girls play violins - each girl is playing a violin (there are many girls and many violins)


"play the violin" in English does not necessarily refer to a specific violin, but usually refers to the general action of violin-playing.

So it's fine to say that, for example, "three people are playing the violin".

Similarly with other musical instruments such as "they were playing (the) piano".

And a sentence such as "I can play the guitar" does not usually refer to a specific instrument, but simply to the general notion of being able to play on any guitar.


And I see your correction : you say play THE violin TE piano... but play football rugby..

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