"Tavasszal vagy ősszel?"

Translation:In the spring or in the fall?

August 14, 2016

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Why is there this prefix "tavasszal" and not "tavasszben"?


Prefixes are stuck to the front of words, suffixes are in the back. You're asking about the suffix. :)
The base words here are tavasz and ősz - spring and autumn, respectively. The suffix in question is -val/-vel, which is usually translated as "with". The v of the -val suffix gets assimilated to consonants, so if the last letter of the base noun is a consonant, it gets doubled. Some examples:

  • ház - házzal (with a house)
  • a barátom - a barátommal (with my friend)
  • a kutya - a kutyával (with the dog)
  • repülőgép - repülőgéppel (with an airplane / by airplane)

Now, why do you say tavasszal and ősszel, but nyáron and télen? I have no idea, but it sounds weird the other way around. A couple of time-related words behave that way, for instance you have

  • nappal - in the day
  • éjjel - in the night
  • reggel - in the morning (the base word reg is not used anymore)
  • este - in the evening
  • délben - at noon


  • az évben / az éven - in the year
  • a hónapban - in the month
  • a héten - in the week
  • az órában - in the hour
  • a percben - in the minute

Expressions of time are one of the most difficult things to get right in about any language, so you'll just have to get used to it, I guess. There's often no good reasoning behind it. Like if you say in English you're doing something "in a week" if it's actually after a week.


Yes you are right I meant suffixes :)
Thank you very much for your reply, this help me a lot to understand. I think Duo should add something like this right before the lessons...


Glad I could be of help. :)
I think the "Time" lesson is just misplaced. It should be much further to the bottom of the tree, after the past tense and the -val suffix (in the lesson "Pronouns") have been discussed.


I think this is good information for this stage- Duolingo are just stretching us by bringing in more at each point than where we might actually be- but when we come across it later on, it will have a familiarity to it that will help a lot. Duo are also giving us larger chunks of language than just "spring" and "autumn", so that when we come to use them, we will have a better chance of getting the right suffix and be close to making a good sentence! Maybe there's another section on it later on as well?


Found this translation tricky due to suffixes when I did not even know the base words for names of the seasons. I've looked them up and have arrived at Tavasz, Őszi, Nyár & Téli. I just need to understand the suffixes - working on it!


Tavasz, nyár, ősz és tél. - Spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
The words with the -i at the end are the respective adjectives. Autumnal, wintery, and so on.

The suffix here is -val/-vel, usually translated as "with", but can also occasionally be used with words of time to mean "in". It's a bit a tricky suffix, because if the base word ends with a consonant, the v of the suffix gets assimmilated:

  • a kutya - a kutyával (with the dog, all is normal)
  • a barát - a baráttal (with the friend. v -> t)
  • banán - banánnal (with banana. v -> n)
  • ősz - ősszel (in autumn. v -> sz, making a double-sz which is written as 'ssz')


Köszönöm szépen, Ryagon 4. I really appreciate your help.


Alternative translation: In Spring or in Autumn (("fall" does not mean autumn outside North America))


Are the final "L"s supposed to be pronounced this weakly? I can barely hear them, especially in tavasszal


That's way the l is pronounced in Hungarian, and it's pretty clear to me. It's somewhat different from the English pronounciation. In Hungarian you lay the tongue tip against your teeth instead of against the gum. Can read up a bit here.


ősszel - from Slavic jesen, osen


No, from ősz+vel where ősz is a Finno-Ugric most probably.


On ősz, Wiktionary has the etymology pasted below. How exactly ősz derives from sükśe beats me, but there it is.

From Proto-Finno-Ugric *sükśe (“autumn”). Cognates include Southern Mansi tüks, Northern Mansi таквс (takvs, “autumn”), Udmurt сӥзьыл (sïzʹyl), Erzya сёксь (sjoksʹ), Finnish syksy, Estonian sügis.

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