"János bakes very good ones."

Translation:János nagyon jókat süt.

August 8, 2016

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I'm not sure if the English sentence sounds similarly to the Hungarian one. "jókat" or even "nagyon jókat" does have an adverbial connotation that I don't think "(very) good ones" would convey. The same way you can with "jót".

It's a bit colloquial though. You could say for example "Nagyon jókat eszik" or "Nagyon jókat alszik". "Alszom egy jót" sounds like "I will have a good sleep". In this sense, "jókat alszik" is sleeping well consistently, on multiple occasions, "jókat eszik" can be more about eating a lot consistently, on multiple occasions than about eating good food. It sounds somewhat, I don't know, perfective? Telic?
Compare "jót játszottunk" ~ "we had a good play/game" and "jól játszottunk" ~ "we played/were playing well". It's a bit about the result and not about the process.

The same way, you can praise János for cooking really well overall by saying "Ő nagyon jókat süt". This sounds a bit too colloquial to me, I'd rather say "jól süt" in this case - but the connotation is definitely there.


Can't 'sült' be used here?


No. A "sült" is what he makes. "Sült", as an adjective, usually refers to something that is baked in an oven. It can be baked meat ("sült hús"), a baked pie, etc. And many other things. "French fries" is generally called "sült krumpli". The point is, "sült" is referring to the object of the cook's action. I could say:

"János nagyon jó sült húst süt." - He bakes a very good baked meat.

"Sült" as a verb is the past tense of the verb "sül", which is the reflexive(?) version of "süt".

"I bake the potatos and the potato bakes in the oven."
"Én sütöm a krumplit és a krumpli sül a sütőben."

Without going too deep into the culinary arts, "süt" and "sül" are generally related to food that is prepared in the oven, over campfire, or in a shallow pan on top, with a minimal amount of liquid.

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Vvsey, As always, your comments are excellent. Thanks for taking the extra time to explain when we could use 'sut.' Enjoy the lingot!


Thanks, a good explanation


can someone please tell me how the order of the sentence should go?!


The word order here is pretty variable, only the emphasis is changing. You just have to make sure that nagyon jókat sticks together like that. Few examples?
János nagyon jókat süt. - János bakes very good things.
Nagyon jókat süt János. - These very good things here are what János bakes.
János süt nagyon jókat. - János is the guy who bakes very good things.
Süt János nagyon jókat. - János is baking very good things. (But he's bad at cooking.)


Sorry, I would have to argue with these a little bit...
If we take the golden rule that "whatever is in front of the verb is emphasized", we can see that the first two sentences are pretty much equivalent. Just a tiny little bit of difference comes from whether the subject is in the front or not. But the meaning is "János bakes very good things." nevertheless.

The third one is good. "János" is in front of the verb, hence "János is the guy ...".

The fourth one is the one I have the biggest problem with. "Süt János nagyon jókat." is possible in the appropriate context, but in itself it sounds a bit weird. But by no means does it imply that he would be bad at something else. That is, that kind of contrast is not present. I can rather imagine a sense of willingness, something like this: If you ask him very nicely, he will bake very nice things. Or: If he really wants to, János can bake very nice things (but, see, he is lazy).

If you want to make the "bakes" vs "cooks" contrast, you would rather have to use the first version. Yes, that is right, the first sentence. But with a different emphasis.
"János nagyon jókat SÜT (de főzni nem tud)."
Yes, yes, it is possible, and perfectly fine. We have something in front of the verb, normally we would emphasize it, but we choose to emphasize the verb itself anyway. The emphasized position in front of the verb goes unutilized.


Thank you kindly for the input. I'm learning so much here. :´D

Four months later, I would reformulate the translations a bit. I'm still not exactly getting the hang of the meaning of sentences that begin with a verb, but your explanation puts that one in a new light.

The difference between the first two sentences is that our pastry chef János is the topic of the first one, while the second doesn't have a distinct topic. Despite that fancy term, the difference is negligible in the natural language. I'd just guess you'd be more likely to include a topic if you start a new thread of talking, train of thought, a new paragraph if you will. Think so, too?


Yes, I realize that you wrote these things four months ago. :)
I agree that that tiny difference between the first two sentences could be what the main topic of discussion is. But I would dare only talk about probabilities of either one appearing under either topic. Because the difference is really not that important. It is really just about which piece of information you want to say first. I was trying to come up with two situations where I would definitely use one rather than the other. I failed.

On starting a sentence with a verb. That is an interesting topic. I can't give you an exact rule, but here are a few points:
- as the verb takes the first position, it will naturally be emphasized.
- the verb is (therefore?) more likely to be a more definite one, with definite conjugation (if it is a transitive verb)
- sentences starting with a verb are more likely to be short ones
- and sentences starting with a verb (especially without a preverb, or with a split preverb) tend to express a present progressive sense - it is happening right now.

So, let's look at your sentence again:
"Süt János nagyon jókat."
What seems to be the problem here? It is a vague sentence, nothing specific, nothing definite. That is why it feels a bit weird (out of context). We started the sentence with an indefinite word. It is more likely to be formulated with a different word order:
"János nagyon jókat süt."

Now let's make a definite sentence:

"János süti a kenyeret."
We have a definite object, we have definite conjugation. If we want to emphasize "János", this is the perfect word order:
"JÁNOS süti a kenyeret."

We can also choose to emphasize the verb and still keep this same word order. In that case we just don't use the natural stress position in front of the verb. We put the stress on the verb:
"János SÜTI a kenyeret."

But we also have the opportunity of grabbing the verb and placing it at the front:
"SÜTI János a kenyeret."
In this case, all bets are on the verb getting the emphasis.

I wrote a list of short sentences starting with the verb (or, more generally, the predicate being in front of the subject), here:

Maybe you can concentrate on using short sentences like those, until you get the hang of it. Basically, the verb (predicate) is just more important in these sentences than the subject. Let's just look at one of those sentences here, it might be familiar:
"Here comes Johnny" - "Itt jön Johnny"
What happens if we reset the word order to "normal"?
"Johnny comes here."
Very much different, isn't it?

The verb will also often naturally occur in the first position when the subject is the first or second person.

"Megyek iskolába." - I am going to school.
"Jössz velem moziba?" - Will you come with me to the movies?
These sentences can also express the near future, and/or intention/willingness to do something.

The third person version is also frequently used in telling stories, jokes:
"Megy a nyuszika az erdőben, találkozik a rókával ..."
A present progressive sense, we are right there watching a developing situation.

Finally, if the leading verb is an indefinite one after all, it will probably indicate a willingness, ability, or future event.

Note that all the above are just tendencies and probabilities. We can't be more specific without an actual context.


Not quite the way it was described but I can imagine a connotation for "Süt János nagyon jókat" when you want to convince someone he doesn't completely suck in the kitchen :D Like saying "But he does bake good things... maybe not always, maybe his cake wasn't the best but he is able to".

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RyagonIV, I always wondered what the various renderings in English would be when the order is changed. Thanks for taking the time to explain it. Enjoy the lingot!

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