"A béka az asztal fölé ugrik, a polcra."

Translation:The frog is jumping above the table, onto the shelf.

August 8, 2016

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Would it be ok to use 'over the table' in English, since 'above the table' doesn't actually make any sense?


Not sure. The Hungarian sentence specifies a location above the table. The shelf is above the table, and that's where the frog jumps. So, how would it be correct in English?


Does it specify a location, or a destination of movement? I thought the latter. The shelf is above the table and that's where the frog jumps to.

Above sounds odd to me as I'd use that only for locations.

But over the table sounds odd here as well because to me, it usually indicates motion that starts on one side of the table, has its mid-point above the table, and ends on the other side of the table -- rather than ending at a point which is still above the table.

I'm not sure of a good way to say this in English. Perhaps "The frog jumps onto the shelf over the table", completely ignoring the "az asztal fölé" and merely implying it by stating that the shelf is (location) over the table.


"Fölé" specifies a movement to a position that is above the table.
So, how odd does "... went above and beyond ..." sound to the native English ear? It sounds good to me.
Anyway, the point is, Hungarian has these very specific to/at/from type of indicators, and it is apparently very difficult to accurately translate them to English. One can only try.
I think we can recommend Turkish to anyone who wants some more exposure to this phenomenon, as they have a very similar system of locational and directional suffixes and postpositions. And I think it has less special cases and exceptions than Hungarian.


"The frog jumps up above the table onto the shelf" sounds the best to me. "Jumps up" implies motion and direction, and "above the table" is the final destination.

As an aside, "went above and beyond" is an idiomatic expression in English meaning, "did more than is normally expected." Someone who makes more effort and accomplishes more than would usually be expected of that person is said to go "above and beyond" their duties.


I'll chip in with my thoughts and feelings - we can't ignore the verb. Or in other words, the context. "Over" can very well simply mean the same as "above" - " the lamp is hanging over the table" - but whereas "hanging over" and "hanging above" mean the same to me, that's not the same with "jumping above" and "jumping over". There's an implication of "crossing over". It's the verb that offers a variety of possible meanings. I don't think it's going to be easy to analyse. For instance, the association with "crossing over" is still there but somewhat weaker with "the helicopter is flying over the ocean" - I primarily visualise the helicopter crossing over - and significantly weaker with "the helicopter is flying over the city". "Over" can mean the same as "above", but it can mean more, but you won't see this from the table, the ocean or the city. Context, and an anticipation of the meaning out of a variety of possible meanings.


Yes, exactly. The English phrase leaves so much to interpretation, or context, while the Hungarian phrase is quite clear and specific. An exact translation is therefore difficult.


"went above and beyond" is actually a colloquialism meaning "did more than was required."


I think it has to be over in English since above the table implies the airspace over the table but as soon as there is an object there, like the shelf, it becomes over.


You wouldn't say "There is a shelf above the table"?

What about "A lamp is hanging above the table"?


Both of those sound fine to me. But "jumps above the table" seems different because "jump" is more of an action verb. To me, "jumps above the table" can mean either (1) jumps around, while remaining in the space above the table [fölött] or (2) jumps to a location that is higher than the table and ends up there [fölé, I think].

"Jumps over the table" can't mean (1). It can sometimes mean (2), but usually its meaning is (3) jumps through the space above the table and ends up on the other side [maybe something involving át]. Overall, this is just a tricky one to translate—I think both "over" and "above" should be accepted.


And one more question. When that shelf was first mounted on the wall, where was it placed, relative to the table?


yes i would say that


I think, that the shelf is not on the table, because the frog jumps over the table first and then on the shelf.


That's correct, the shelf is not on the table. The table is probably at the wall and, higher above it, there is a shelf on the wall. And that shelf is the target location for the frog. So the frog takes a huge leap, and lands straight on the shelf, above the table. It does not touch the table.


I was so shocked at that athletic frog. I think he jumped "clear over the table onto the shelf," thereby not even considering to land on the table on the way. It was a big frog or a little table. We can make a page in a children's book with this sentence and I can see the illustration.


The frog jumps over the table (and) on the shelf. (ra -on/auf)


The frog jumps to a location that is above the table, and that location is the shelf.


I would like to sugest the frog jumps onto the shelve above the table. Since you cannot directly translate the sentence i would translate the meaning seeing the picture as vv does


Hmmm. Lots of discussion here about the English, so why doesn't the frog jump "ONTO the shelf" since "polcRA" is used in Hungarian? Inquiring minds want to know; especially the one that resides in this rotted out old cranium.


It sounds like a good idea.


I agree entirely. We've had the -ra suffix drilled as onto, and -hoz as to, then suddenly never mind.... it's annoying,

to say the least


I agree entirely. We've had the -ra suffix drilled as onto, and -hoz as to, then suddenly never mind.... it's annoying, to say the least


All this is hearsay; we need to subpoena the frog.


Over the table is correct, above the table is wrong.


When we use mellett and melè, or fölott and fole,,, i dont understand, i am comfused.


Sorry if I missed it, but what is the rule for these motion position particles? Do they have to come before the verb, after, or either?


They come after the noun -- they are postpositions.

In English, we have prepositions which come before the noun (e.g. "above the table") while in Hungarian we have postpositions which come after the noun (e.g. az aszal fölé).

Compare the English postposition "ago", which comes after the noun, as in "three months ago", to the preposition "in", which comes before the noun, as in "in three months".


I knew that from the Tips, but in the exercises it seemed that the verbs affect their placement as well. Many thanks. Köszönöm.


How about "the frog is jumping to the shelf above the table" as opposed, say, to the one next to the armchair?


Az asztal fölé means to above the table. This frog is not on the table jumping onto the shelf. It is jumping from somewhere else onto the shelf which is, statically, above the table. So the word order is weird. A polcra az asztal fölé would make more sense. Motion both onto the polc and to above the table.


OK, good to see I am not the only one that is struggling with this sentence. Obviously it is problematic to find an English translation that fully covers all nuances in the Hungarian sentence.

What does a Hungarian native speaker know about the frog's initial location through this sentence?


The frog's initial location might be the table, or might be the floor. Not very clear. The frog can make a big jump.

But we know that the shelf is above the table.


Ok, this is the issue here. For instance, we don't know where the frog is. Hence, it makes the sentence odd. An illustration would definitely help to better understand all these actions. I hope Duo app will include this one day.


Surely the answer should be onto the shelf rather than to the shelf, as in English to the shelf sounds incomplete and weird

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