"Snakes, frogs, lizards and insects crawl off the curtain."

Translation:A függönyről kígyók, békák, gyíkok és rovarok másznak le.

August 15, 2016

This discussion is locked.


Why is "lemásznak" split?


For emphasis!
The insects are in focus here, and this sentence wouldn't sound good with the prefix attached. Someday I'll be able to explain it.


You already did: "A majom beugrik a folyóba."

But it's not just about emphasis, it's also how Hungarian makes a verb continuous by putting "emphasis" on different parts of the verb to change its tense, either on the base verb (másznak) for continuity, or on the preverb (le) for completion; and by "emphasis" I mean moving one part of the verb before the other part.

  • "Ahogy a macska mászott le a lépcsőn, az egér lekapcsolta a lámpát." = As the cat was climbing down the stairs, the mouse switched the lights off.
  • "Ahogy a macska lemászott a lépcsőn, az egér lekapcsolta a lámpát." = As the cat climbed down the stairs, the mouse switched the lights off.

Verbs that don't have a preverb more often have a continuous meaning than not. This is why Hungarian adds the el- preverb so often to emphasize the "complete" meaning of the verb in a sentence.

* * *

One more thing I might add: You must split the verb if the subject is a common noun and has no – definite or indefinite – article.

These are all okay:

  • "A macska mászik le…"
  • "A macska lemászik…"
  • "A macskák másznak le…"
  • "A macskák lemásznak…"
  • "Egy macska mászik le…"
  • "Egy macska lemászik…"
  • "Két macska mászik le…"
  • "Két macska lemászik…"
  • "Macskák másznak le…"

This is not okay:

  • "Macskák lemásznak…"

I can't explain why, but I'd never say this last one; not unless maybe I intend to give my sentence an imperative meaning without actually using imperative mood: "Cats climb down! Now‼"

For the same reason, "kígyók, békák, gyíkok és rovarok lemásznak" (without articles), to my ears, sounds downright wrong.


Thank you for the elaborate reply. :D
This last part was what I was trying to get at. Unless it's an entirely new concept, I suspect it has something to do with emphasis, too. There is something special about the insects (or the cats) if they don't get an article. But I can't really put my finger on it. vvsey has mentioned that rule here, too.

Also, quiet approval for my monkey sentence, yay~


--------- duo gave me Kígyók, békák, gyíkok, és rovarok lemásznak a függönyről. as the correct response . . .


It still sounds strange, though. :I


Thank you for your wonderful elucidation! Perhaps you could help a bit more: From the English sentence, I have a difficult time establishing emphasis (and continuity). Are there any clues you know of. I could successfully translate this sentence from Hungarian to English, but the other way around is difficult as English is so plain. Thank you again.


Also it would not split if it were A bogarok etc. But why did it not like kígyok békák gyíkok és rovarok másznak le a függönyökről?


------- i hope you reported that your version should be accepted ? . . .

Big 28 oct 20


Well, I wasn't sure it should have been.


------- it's really nice if you only report your perfect responses, but the duolians aren't going to accept your submissions until they cross-check them. so feel free . . .

Big 28 oct 20


függönyÖKről would have caused a problem. We only have one curtain here. Otherwise, I think it's OK but someone with rather more knowledge than me ought to confirm.


RyagonIV and the word "someday." I actually got this one right but it's very much a matter of feel. Word order and splitting or not splitting the verb is one of the biggest issues in this language. At least, it is if you've got a computer which is programmed to accept only a limited number of versions of how to go about saying something. Hungary itself is rather more forgiving and we can all be very thankful for that.


This is the same "obscure rule" as in this other sentence: Emberek szállnak le a villamosról kabátban és farmerben. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/21401176

So, if you have a (plural) noun with no article, split the preverb.


This was a point made by RyagonIV and I have, I think, taken it on board. At least, I have today but tomorrow who knows? I just keep going and spend half the time complaining and the other half thinking that the top of the mountain is just that bit nearer than it was and I should appreciate these foothills a little more.


How about másznak el? Seems like the critters could be crawling from the sides of the curtain onto the walls or from the top of the curtain onto the ceiling, not just down.

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