"Hol hegedülsz?"

Translation:Where do you play the violin?

August 8, 2016

This discussion is locked.


Why is it the violin?


Hegedű is the Hungarian noun for "violin", and the verb hegedül is derived from it. It's a single verb that just means "play the violin." Other verbs can be derived in similar ways: for example, fuvola is flute, and fuvolázik is a verb meaning "play the flute."


I did understand the concept of making a verb from a noun. (It might be nice if we did that more in English, to be honest). My question was really why there is "the" in the answer. I saw the verb. "hegedül" as meaning "play violin" instead of "play the violin" .


Sorry, I missed the point of the question. Anyway, here's a discussion of what you were actually asking about:


And here are some examples (one US, one UK) where the definite article is used:



For what it's worth, I live in the US and "play the violin" and "play violin" sound almost 100% interchangeable to me.


Thanks, this is very interesting. I like how your first link makes the distinction, the "the"-less version referring more to a role, for example, in an orchestra. I had that kind of feeling, too.

Anyway, my personal theory on all this (US English) is that the language in the US has been, and is, influenced by so many other languages that it absorbs many of their structures and techniques that, honestly, make more sense sometimes. Or ones that make things simpler, or fill a void. Just think of all the nationalities that have ever arrived in the US with little or no knowledge of English. Of course, people pick up the words first, then start using them according to the logic of their own native languages. And some of these features end up in the mainstream of the language, because they make it simpler. And all it takes is a generation or two, and our children and grandchildren may end up saying "it sounds perfectly natural to me".
So that's why US English has

", right?", ", no?" - for "isn't it?" "haven't they?" and many others
"talk with" - besides "talk to"
"speak with" - besides "speak to"
"meet with" - besides "meet"
"play piano" - for "play the piano"

And many many others.
Some of these feel weird or incorrect today, but just wait.

English already has some of what we call "preverbs" here.

  • uphold
  • outgrow
  • downsize
  • overturn
  • backtrack

Should I continue?

And I see compound words on the rise.

Don't say you have not been warned. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day you may just

"ingo into a bank and stand there (dare I say therestand) to the counter ..."

And no one will even blink an eye.


We do occasionally blink an eye, the same as you blink at things like fényképezik. I have what is probably an irrational hatred of the recent use of "impact" as a verb, when "affect" was perfectly good. De a nyelv szüntelenül halad tovább, mit sem gondolva azzal, hogy én egyetértek-e vagy nem.


I will blink furiously. What is this archaism "ingo into"? We all (will) say "ingo to"!


I must say that is a very neat property.


That's just how they say it in English.


In English I would also say "Where do you play violin?", just as I might say "where do you play piano" or "where do you play tennis". The answer "play the violin" seemed less natural to me.


Is there a rule or way of learning how to make verbs from their associated nouns?


There are a couple of suffixes that turn nouns into verbs. Here it's -l/-ol/-el/-öl which you also have in táncol - to dance (from tánc - dance), harcol - to fight (from harc - fight), érdekel - to be interested (from érdek - interest), or gépel - to type (on a typewriter or keyboard), which derives from gép - machine; írógép - typewriter.

Another popular suffix is -z/-oz/-ez/-öz. You can find it in fényképez - to take a picture (from fénykép - photograph), magyaráz - to explain (or rather "to Hungarify it", from magyar - Hungarian), or tükröz - to reflect (from tükör - mirror).

And then there are the tons of reflexive and intrasitive verbs made with suffixes like -edik, -ezik, -kedik, -kezik and all variants thereof: zongorázik - to play piano (from zongora - piano), futballozik/focizik - to play football (from futball/foci - football), létezik - to exist (from lét - existence), or panaszkodik - to complain (from panasz - complaint).

There are a couple of ways to make verbs from nouns (not to mention making them from adjectives or even from other verbs), but it's different for every verb and I don't think there's much of a helpful pattern there. But at least they're not hard to recognise.


Amazing answer, thank you for this.


I have never heard "play violin" without "the." Perhaps this is regional as well as generational?


is it really a mistake to translate "play violin" instead of "play THE violin" ? :/


Either is fine - just report it.


'are you playing" is perfectly correct IMO


Aside from these derived verbs, is there a generic verb meaning 'to play an instrument'?


You would use zenél for that.

Learn Hungarian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.