"A fiú a megállóban vár, a lány pedig ott jön."

Translation:The boy is waiting at the bus stop, whereas the girl is coming over there.

August 8, 2016

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Why is it "ott jön", rather than "oda jön"?


Well, they are not the same, and "ott jön" is just what this sentence states.

"Oda jön" means she "is coming to that location".

"Ott jön" means she is over there, I see her walking, and she is coming this way. Basically, "there she comes", "there she is, she is coming".

So, maybe the English sentence does not match the Hungarian sentence?


The trouble comes because the verb "come" in English is not seen as something you can do in a single place. It's an action which has direction, not location. So "coming here" is understood as ide jön and "coming there" means oda jön, never ott jön (and this is even a little weird because the direction of motion for "come" is usually toward the speaker - but you can have, for example, "Where is she? Is she on the way here?" "Yes, she's coming there now.")

If I were trying to be faithful to the meaning of the Hungarian and not write broken English, I'd probably go with something like, "...and the girl is over there, on the way."


Or she is over there, on her way here?


Possibly - "on her way" could be used regardless of her destination. (She might be on her way here, or on her way to the supermarket, or on her way home.)


I'm not sure how I would render that concept in English. I guess I'd say "and the girl is arriving there", or something like that, if I understand what you mean correctly. But that's not very direct...

Also, I think the "oda jön" version of the sentence would be better translated as "... whereas the girl is going there."


Let's imagine a distant cousin. Physically distant. And she is coming to town to visit the family. So, where are we going to meet her? Is she coming here?
"No, she is ....-ing to mom's place".

Hungarian would (or could) say she is coming ("jön") to mom's place.

What does English say? Can it only be "going"?

And how about the party that we are going to tomorrow? It will be downtown in a restaurant. "Is she .... -ing, too?"

Again, Hungarian would say she is coming ("jön").

I know that Spanish is very strict on situations like this. It is only "come" if it is to here. I thought English was more forgiving, isn't it?

And on "ott jön", it means that I see her coming, being on her way, and she is over there. For example, I see her across the street, she is over there, coming here. There she comes!


Good question. My first inclination was to say it must be "go", but if we will be at mom's place as well and meeting here, then "come" could also work, I think -- because then she will be approaching us, in the sense that she will be coming to where we will be, even if we are not there now.


In the first situation "Is she coming here?" "No, she's ...", I think it should certainly be "going". It may be that this is partly by contrast.

In general, whether one is coming or going depends on point of reference. I think in Hungarian, the point of reference is always the speaker, isn't it? In English, it's a little more flexible.

But I guess in the first example, since you've already established the point of reference (with the first use of "coming"), it seems strongly to me that you should use "going" in the next one.

For the party example, I think she could be either coming or going. For the exercise that we're talking about, going seems better to me, but I can't seem to explain why, and I think coming is probably also correct.

Also, I think I do understand what you're saying about "ott jön". I still don't have a great translation. Maybe after a night's sleep...


Yes, that's a good point, I think the point of reference is the main determiner in Hungarian. And it does not have to match the current situation. I could be talking about some future event and location far away from here. But if I am going to be there at the right time, other people would come there to meet me.
But the point of reference does not have to be me, the speaker. Not at all. I can "project" the reference onto you. If I am talking to you and you tell me that your long-awaited relative finally arrived, I can still ask "Mikor jött?". Even if I am not there, never have and never will. See, "jönni" also overlaps the meaning of "to arrive". And things can arrive anywhere, even if I am not there.
So, it's a bit complicated. But probably much simpler in reality than when trying to establish the rules. :)

Another difference in usage that's very significant to me is when you ask "Will yo go to the doctor/store/cinema with me?". Hungarian would never say it like that. It will always be expressed with "jönni". Except when we "go together" - "együtt megyünk". But if I go and ask you to accompany me, it will always be "jönni".


"The girl is coming over there" is actually pretty rude. Someone needs to fix this ASAP.


What is wrong with: the boy waits at the stop, while the girls comes there?


Well for starters it's ungrammatical. In English you'd say something like (depending what you mean) "the girl is coming from over there" or "here comes the girl" or maybe "the girl is walking over there". Or possibly something like, "Look, there's the girl, and she's coming over here."

However - "coming" is also slang for "having an orgasm", and in that usage "The girl is coming over there" IS grammatical, and means "The girl is having an orgasm over there". Which is not at all what the Hungarian means.


When I understand you well, I have to choose one out of those quite different english translations of the hungarian sentence, you mentioned above, EXCEPT the one with the orgasm. I'm afraid, I could use it not knowingly in a slightly different construction in Hungarian, because those double meanings are not clear to me. Not even in English! And I don't see any way to avoid it.


oh, come on now. Yes, the sexual meaning is there as well, but it will be there no matter what you do. "Is she yhere yet? - No, she is coming" If you want to se sexual meaning it will be there. I think the original sentence is weird because of overlapping tenses used in each clause and not because of sexual innuendo.


Why does it have to be "bus stop"? Doesn't "megálló" only means "stop"? Otherwise shouldn't it be "buszmegálló" instead?


the statement does not say anything about what kind of stop, that was just added


The depth and complexity of the discussion over four years makes very evident that this sentence is a far from useful one to learn idiomatic Hungarian. It is quite contrived from first principles. I trust this is one that will be scrapped in the pending rewrite of the course.


I see nothing idiomatic, or complex, in this sentence. Granted, it could be split into two, much simpler, sentences, both of which are pretty basic and straightforward, in Hungarian. For their meaning, you can check the comments above. The boy is waiting, the girl is seen over there, on her way here.


Agree - the English sentence is incorrect.

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