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

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

August 15, 2016

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BetsyLowe

Why is "lemásznak" split?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iRBiS

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

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~


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/smurr22

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BigWayne19

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

It still sounds strange, though. :I


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Richard604037

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jzsuzsi
Mod
  • 777

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Richard604037

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.

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