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  5. "Az alma nem a szék alatt van…

"Az alma nem a szék alatt van."

Translation:The apple is not below the chair.

August 13, 2016



I wrote 'the apple is not underneath the chair', is that not the same as under??


Under, underneath, beneath, or below would all be fine. But I think this course usually expects "under" and won't (usually) accept the other alternatives.


Note that the words you mention: under(neath), beneath and below are not completely synonymous in English. 'The ground under/ beneath my feet' denotes physical contact; 'the ground below my feet' denotes being above the ground, eg in a hot air balloon. Maybe Hungarian has similar distinctions.


We don't really have distinctions, we use 'alatt' for everything.


Well, at least it was worth looking there.


It is under the tree, remember?


One question about pronunciation: in one other course of Hungarian I heard completely another pronunciation of the letter "a". It sounded like something between "o" and "a". Here the voice says clearly "o". Alma - oymo, etc. Why such a difference?

  • 1026

The two A's in Hungarian can take a bit of practice. The plain "a" is pronounced rather like the American "aw." It is a bit dark. The á with the acute accent is pronounced more brightly, perhaps like the American "Baa, Baa" sheep sound. It is like the difference between "maw" and "ma"--or between "haw" and "ha."

That might help explain why apple--"alma"--might sounds to one's ear like "awl-ma(w)," or even "ol-ma(w)" or something. But the recorded pronunciation is correct. I hope that helps!


the pronunciation here is perfect!


I'm gonna say only one thing - that "a" sound is much more open than you imagine. Even if it's a back vowel. That's why most of us are more confused when someone uses "o" instead of "a" and not rather a short "á". (And to be honest, I have no idea how you ended up hearing a y instead of an l...)


underneath is one of the options on the translation bubble?????????


The hints apply to individual words; that means that wherever a given word appears, the hints will be the same.

However, accepted translation alternatives have to be added sentence by sentence. So it's possible that one sentence will accept "under, below, beneath, underneath" and another sentence will only accept "beneath, under" or whatever.

Another possibility is that a given hint does not make sense in a particular sentence. For example, Süt a nap. means "The sun is shining", so süt might have the hint "shining" -- but the basic meaning of that word is "bake" or "roast", so in a sentence about preparing food, a translation of "The cook is shining the potatoes" would not be accepted even if the sentence contains süt and the list of hints contains "shining".

If you think that a given translation should be accepted, please use the "Report a Problem" button (or the one with a flag icon) that appears when a translation was rejected.


Seems like "alatt" should be right after "nem", as in "Az alma nem alatt van a szék", although this sounds weird. Is it correct to think of the "nem" as negating the phrase "below the chair", so that "nem" does stay next to the thing negated?


I'm not sure where you got this idea from. I mean, the idea in general is good but as you mentioned yourself, "below the chair" is one part. Now "below X" happens to be "X alatt" (yes, it comes right after the object it relates to), therefore, what you can do is to write "nem a szék alatt" if you want to negate "a szék alatt". So the assumption is right, the structure was wrong.


So the idea is to negate the phrase and not just the "alatt"? Would the proper form be "nem + (phrase negated)", whenever there is a prepositional phrase? I am trying to see how one can just negate the "alatt" by itself, especially if there is a "not this but that" type of sentence.

For example, how would I say "The apple is not beneath the chair but above." Is it correct to say "Az alma a szék nem alatt van, hanem fölött.", or maybe the whole phrase needs to be repeated like "Az alma nem a szék alatt van, hanem a szék fölött." ? Looking for the general rule here.


This time, I literally asked natives of multiple languages (German, Polish and Romanian unsurprisingly xD) AND a linguist to clear this phenomenon up.
It seems there is no language where negation is a standalone adverbial (just like "nem", "nicht", "nie" and "nu" are, along with "not") AND you can treat "prepositional phrases" as two separate words to negate.
It's not just an English thing, as much as "under not the table" is weird, "unter nicht dem Tisch", "pod nie stołem" and "sub nu masă" would sound weird as well. It's just in Hungarian it's reverse order so technically, "nem" gets next to the nominal instead of the particle. This gives you different intonation opportunities but that's like all of the difference.
Hungarian postpositions and suffixes don't differ a lot, "on the table" is "asztalon" and it's clear as water you can't separate it to focus on the "on" part, so much you cannot with "asztal alatt" either.

If you really want to express the very concept of negating alatt, I have an idea but take it with a grain of salt, people I have asked about it said it sounded understandable but rare. "Alatta" means "under him/her/it" and fun fact, the ending looks like a possessee ending so I'm gonna force a "possessor" and say "alatta az asztalnak". See, now it functions as a preposition so you can just put nem in front of it. Once again, this is rare BUT if you only want "not under it" so you don't need this possessor hack, it's fully legit and you can make the difference.
It's not under it but over it - Nem alatta van, hanem fölötte.
It's not under that but under something else - Nem azalatt van, hanem valami más alatt.


Thanks for looking into this - good research! You might have something there with the special construction using "alatta".

I get that the word order works the same as other languages, just with Hungarian having "szék" before "alatt". This holds true regardless of adding a "but this or that" onto the sentence.

So, then if I want to say "The apple is not under the chair, but over", is the correct structure then "Az alma nem a szék alatt van, hanem fölött." ?

If I want to say, "the apple is not under the chair, but under the table", is the sentence then "Az alma nem a szék alatt van, hanem az asztal alatt" ?


You're welcome, I hope you feel getting further with the issue.
I think you are right with the second sentence. The first sentence needs a bit finetuning; as far as I know, postpositions can't stand on their own, without an argument (or how to call it :o). Therefore you have to say an equivalent of "over it" at the end - "fölötte".

The thing is, every cases and every postpositions make their own personal pronouns rather than just applying them to the corresponding pronoun én/te/ő/etc... but don't worry that much, there are only two irregular cases for this as far as I know, one being the accusative (which tends to be "irregular" even in English) and the other being the slightly mentioned "superessive" case ("asztalon" is an example of it, this case mostly translates to "on" in English).
The rest is like: take the suffix/postposition and apply person markers to it - luckily these person markers are frighteningly similar to possessor markers which are really fundamental in the language.

So let's take fölött as our postposition and méz (~honey) as our correspondent noun (I cheated with vowel harmony, personal pronouns don't really have ö as a possible linking vowel)
over me - fölöttem - my honey - mézem
over you - fölötted - your honey - mézed
over him/her/it - fölötte - his/her honey - méze
over us - fölöttünk - our honey - mézünk
over you - fölöttetek - your honey - mézetek
over them - fölöttük - their honey - mézük

See, in this example, I managed to get 100% correspondence. :D It's not always the same but I swear it won't feel all over the place.


Aha - the language harmony and consistency. Makes sense! I will keep your list handy as I guess I am getting a bit ahead of the lessons.

Very helpful - Köszönöm szépen!


Actually, you mean to say, “The apple is not underneath the chair.” Regrettably that correct response was rejected.

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