Translation:Under this lamp the table is dry.
I wonder if the given translation is precise.
In case A (Hungarian phrase), there is one wet table which is dry only in the area under the lamp.
In case B (English phrase), there are several wet tables, but only the one under the lamp is dry. (Az az asztal száraz, amelyik ez alatt a lámpa alatt van).
Am I wrong?
You are correct. The difference between the two meanings are due to the following structural differences:
The Hungarian sentence is analysed as "Ez alatt az asztal alatt (Adverbial) az asztal (Subject) száraz (Predicate)." In my view the correct translation of above would be: "Under this lamp the table is dry." or "The table is dry under this lamp."
However, the English sentence reveals an entirely different structure: "The table under this lamp (Subject) is dry (Predicate)."
The phrase in the Hungarian sentence "Ez alatt az asztal alatt" is an Adverbial, and as such it is a clause element, while in the English sentence the phrase "under this lamp" is a postmodifier of a phrase element, of the noun "table". The presence of the postmodifer presupposes a situation in which there are more than one tables, and the table at hand needs to be identified by an addition to specify its location.
I was thinking of a table that was completely dry. I guess, context would make it clear what the actual situation is. Is the lamp on the table, or on the ceiling? Does the table look wet? Are there several lamps on the table (which would be case C?)? Is somebody looking under the lamp?
But anyway, I agree, the sentence could mean any of these situations.
I tried translating this as "The table is dry under this lamp," as in most of the surface of the table is wet, but the area under the lamp is dry (either physically under the lamp or where the lamp is shining on).
Is this a correct translation? If not, how would I convey that in Hungarian?
Ah, right. I didn't read that comment thoroughly enough. >.< Köszi a választ! :D
"The table is dry beneath this lamp." Our little Prof. Bagoly threw it out, but I am thinking this is another way of saying the same thing. (?)
What is wrong in my sentence? Can it not be understood this way as well? The table, which is standing under that lamp, is dry.
It can be understood this way, but the grammar is tood ifferent from the original sentence. You created an extra clause. With your translation, I'd expect amelyik somewhere.
Or maybe an "amely", since the extra clause seems to be a btw-clause, not a restrictive clause.
"The table, which is standing under that lamp, is dry."
"Az asztal, amely az alatt a lámpa alatt áll, száraz.
This one is more like a restrictive clause:
"That/The table that is standing under that lamp is dry."
"Az az asztal, amelyik az alatt a lámpa alatt áll, száraz."
But even this one can be understood as a btw-clause. To give it more of a restrictive sense, I would use this word order:
"Az az asztal száraz, amelyik az alatt a lámpa alatt áll."
"The dry table is the one standing under that lamp."
That is, I placed the restrictive clause at the end, and placed everything else in the first clause.