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"I never find good cooks."

Translation:Soha nem találok jó szakácsokat.

August 18, 2016

25 Comments


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

Ok, another word order question: Is "Jó szakácsokat soha nem találok" acceptable for this one?


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

Yes, that's fine.


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

Not really. It is very unnatural. Can be understood, but do not use it.


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

Coming back to this late, but I'm still interested -- is it possible to explain why that one sounds unnatural?


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

I was thinking for quite a long time how to describe why I feel it unnatural. I've even read some related grammar rules, but unfortunately I cannot really explain why it sounds unnatural for me.

I hardly ever use this word order in a situation like that. I would use the accepted answer ("Soha nem találok jó szakácsokat."). And to be frank I would use "sehol" (literally means nowhere) instead of "soha".

The closest I would say is "A jó szakácsokat sehol nem találom" (with a definite article, but it definitely emphasizes the subject, almost like: "they are the good cooks who I cannot find, I don't know where they went|are") and I used definite conjugation ("találom" instead of "találok").

After I've written this, I tend to feel I have more problem with the word "soha" than with the word order itself.

I'm terribly sorry, but I'm afraid I didn't make it clearer, quite the contrary...


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

I can imagine a context for it but it might sound uncommon in general. If I were to describe the structure, I'd go with: "Regarding good cooks, I can't find any." Most of the time, setting up an indefinite topic ("(any) good cooks") and then even finishing it with complete denial ("I can never find") is just unusual.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda38047

Coud one also use Soha Sem or Sosem in stead of Soha Nem? I thought I heard that a lot in Hungary, but not sure if I remember correctly.


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

Yes, those are good options, too. :)


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

Shouldn't soha sem... also work? I thought in a later lesson that sem was treated more or less interchangeably with nem when directly after another negative beginning with s-, like soha / semmi / senki.


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

"Soha sem" also works, yes. You're correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidRudel1

Is it always "soha nem"in these constructions. I thought I saw cases where the nem came later. I tried "Soha jó szakácsokat nem találok,"which was not accepted.


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

I'd like to know that, too. I used the same sentence, I just added én at the beginning.


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

It's generally not a good idea to put "soha" to the focus position, that is, in front.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/duYC4ZZA

Everything I've seen has "soha nem" as a unit. The negated item (usually a verb) goes imediately after "nem", much like the construction using "nincs". See comment: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/17189515.

You can put "Én" at the beginning but the emphasis is on the "Can't Never" so it is left out.


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

I can imagine it after the negated verb too - "Nem megyek haza soha" - "I (will) never go home", "hazamegy" being a prefixed verb here.


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

Why isn't this conjugated in the definite form, since "cooks" are a third person object?


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

The word definite should be a hint.

"cooks" are third person, but not definite third person.

"the cooks, those cooks, my cooks" etc. are definite -- they refer to a specific, definite group of cooks.

"cooks" is not definite.


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

Oh, that makes sense! Thank you!!


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

Is the choice of using definite conjugation in any way discretionary? I'd have thought "good cooks" are in a league of their own - after all you know if you have a bad one. Thus, are they not definite?


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

No, you don't get much discretion in the choice. There are pretty hard and fast grammatical rules that decide it.

Here's a summary I wrote up earlier: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17038425


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

Many thanks jsiehler for your ever-helpful notes.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/suni971767

Why it has to have the "nem" the sentence? Duolingo say that the translation of "never" is "soha nem" and "soha" but it requires the "nem". At least from an english perspective it has not too much sense to say "never not". Any help in here why is it important to include it?


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

Hungarian is all about double negatives. :)

If you have any negative pronoun, like soha - never, senki - nobody, semmi - nothing, semelyik - none, and so on, you need a form of nem somewhere to make them work within a sentence.

Just a rule you have to follow but can't really explain. Kinda like the auxiliary "do" in English, where you have to say "She does not read" instead of "She reads not", although the latter would make more sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Patricia460976

On the other hand a few hundred years ago you very well might have heard "she reads not" being said.


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

Okay, this sounds like a call... :)

I don't think it was the same kind of "by choice" rule in Hungarian - actually the phenomenon isn't particularly Hungarian, it exists in Romanian and Polish too, just to name languages I'm currently learning.
It's more like "negative pronouns" aren't quite "negative" (by Hungarian grammar convention, they aren't even called "negative" to my knowledge, from what I read, the same stands for Serbian). They are lack-pronouns or anti-pronouns or void-pronouns, just to propose some names. (Inb4 they aren't even called "pronouns" in English, they are just pro-words, pronominals, "pro-"adverbs, etc) What do they have in common? They don't imply negation, they semantically require negation. "Soha" is not a time when things can happen, "sehol" is not a location, etc.

I noticed something related to "does not" and "reads not" that might be relevant here. In English, "negative pronouns" are the most powerful words to express negation since they are the only words that mark what is being negated. So, they are like, worth to be considered "negation". They are a superior, particularly accurate kind of negation. In languages that mark negation by the position of the "not" word? It doesn't sound like a big feat and it might feel more like extending a negative sentence than applying negation to a part of speech.

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