"I never see waiters here."
Translation:Én itt soha nem látok pincéreket.
This word order is driving me crazy. I can never guess where to put "itt"
Ah, not quite. In this case the difference between using nem and sem is negligible because of the positioning right after soha. It's basically the difference between "never" (soha nem) and "not even ever" (soha sem).
Your sentence.. is technically translatable to multiple Hungarian sentences, depending on what the "either" refers to. I'll go with "waiters":
"Soha pincéreket sem látok itt."
EDIT: The last sentence is not entirely correct, see replies.
Now this is a very interesting topic. Your sentence is not quite correct this way ("Soha pincéreket sem látok itt.").
The word "soha" still needs a "sem" or "nem" right next to it. It wants to belong to that emphasized "nem"/"sem" in front of the verb. Unless!
Unless we place "soha" somewhere after the verb.
Here are a few variations I would accept:
"Sem"-ing the waiters:
"Soha nem/sem látok pincéreket sem itt."
"Soha nem/sem látok itt pincéreket sem."
"Sem"-ing the place:
"Soha nem/sem látok itt sem pincéreket."
"Soha nem/sem látok pincéreket itt sem."
And now, placing "soha" behind the verb.
"Pincéreket sem látok itt soha."
("Pincéreket sem látok soha itt.")
"Itt pincéreket sem látok soha."
"Itt sem látok pincéreket soha."
"Itt sem látok soha pincéreket."
"Pincéreket itt sem látok soha."
"Nem látok itt sem soha pincéreket."
"Nem látok itt sem pincéreket soha."
"Nem látok pincéreket sem itt soha."
("Nem látok pincéreket sem soha itt.")
"Nem látok pincéreket itt sem soha."
Etc. Etc. Etc...
Ooh, this is one of the things about negations that I hadn't quite gathered yet. Thank you. That shall help me understand negations better. :D
You probably closely followed the English word order. That is not the most natural order in Hungarian.
The two most natural word order, to me, would be:
"Én itt soha nem látok pincéreket."
"Én soha nem látok itt pincéreket."
Is "Pincereket soha nem itt látok" correct, if I want to emphasize that it's here that I don't see waiters?
To me, this one says something like "As for waiters, I always see them somewhere else, not here."
Never here, always somewhere else. The "always somewhere else" is somehow implied.
The original translation more or less already emphasizes the "here". What exactly are you trying to say? Maybe with a little context?
Thanks for the thoughtful response! I'm a little weak on Hungarian word order, and don't always know what is allowable and what is not. That is along the lines of what I was thinking that word order should mean.
In any case, it sounds like Duolingo should accept it. (Depending on context, the English sentence could be making a strong distinction between here vs someplace else.) I'll report it if it comes up for me again.
The negative adverbs, like soha, semmi, senki, semelyik, and so on, need an additional negation to work, nem or sem.
I thought when there was an object we would use "latom" rather than "latok"?
That only accounts for definite direct objects. So those that have a -t suffix (check) and are something definite (not check). These here are just random waiters. If they were "the waiters" or "our waiters" or "those waiters", it would require the definite conjugation (látom). In the Hungarian sentence, definite objects are pretty easy to spot by having the definite article a in front:
Itt soha nem látom a pincéreket. - I never see the waiters here.
What is the difference between soha nem and sosem? Is it a contraction?