"Excuse me, where can I find a good hotel here?"
Translation:Elnézést, hol találok itt jó szállodát?
English is a bit freer with "can" in situations such as "I can't find my keys" or "I can see a man in the window" -- "can" here does not really express permission or acquired knowledge (I can swim = I have been taught how to swim, but I can't find my keys does not mean that you have never been taught how to find keys).
So the translation is not 1:1.
OK, but as a Hungarian learner who knows English I would see your answer the other way round. You explained to me when and how 'can' is used in English, but I know that. What I seemingly don't know is when to use 'tudni' in Hungarian.
So I interpret your answer like this (please correct me if I'm wrong):
Hungarian is more restrictive than English in this respect. While 'can' in English can reflect whether or not you are able to do something right now, the Hungarian 'tudni' reflects having been taught, having received permission or having acquired knowledge about something. And as you don't need permission or having been taught how to look for keys you don't use 'tudni'.
Did I understand this correctly? Thanks for your response!!!
I'm afraid I cannot tell you the range of meaning of tudni as I'm still learning myself, but I hope someone will be by eventually to help!
If you are still interested:
The word 'know' can mean 'can' in some cases in Hungarian but not at all the cases:
'I can swim' - 'Tudok úszni'
I CAN learn many languages on Duolingo'- 'A Duolingon sok nyelvet tanulHATok'
So the world 'tudni' as an auxiliary word can mean 'can' as able to do something while the '-hat, -het' (you have to watch out vowel harmony for example 'BeszélHETek') can mean 'can' as having the possibility for something (there are no circumstances that can prevent this thing)
'Tudok úszni' - I can swim as I am able to swim
'Úszhatok' I can swim as I am not injured
'where can I find?' 'Hol találHATok?' is the natural Hungarian translation. So the official solution of this sentence is not word-by-word ( and it's not the biggest problem, as a native I succeeded to pass this sentence for the 4th try beacuse it only approves one not perfect translation :D)
So it is like the focus is not on my ability to find something but the possibility to find something beacuse I am asking it without knowing the direction (so I am confused and I expect help from someone else)
Edit: I should do some google searches first: http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/hat-het-tud-can.2318993/
As a non-native speaker living in Hungary I've made out this loose rule:
'Elnézést' is more like 'excuse me': getting attention, sneezing,...
'bocsánat' is stronger and resembles 'I am sorry'. It's when you want to apologize for something that just happened. It's for accidentally elbowing people in a full tram and such things.
Again, I'm not a native speaker, this is just a pattern I have observed in how people use it. However, in most situations they are interchangeable. I stick to this rule and never got weird glances, so I keep using it, even if it makes a distinction where there is none.
Maybe this could be the case some time ago but I don't feel too much difference now. For example I always say 'Elnézést (a késésért)' 'Sorry (for the late)' when I am late from a lecture. Another difference can be that 'Elnézést' is a bit more formal. You tend to use 'Bocsánat' 'bocsi' when you are with your friends. 'Elnézést' is rather sarcastic in that case: you say 'sorry' but the others can feel that you think 'but it is your fault and not mine' or 'why do you bother of this little mistake of mine so much'.
And vica versa: 'bocsánat' is rarely used when you speak to an older person or a teacher.
What you describe fits exactly to how I use "excuse me" (more formal, can seem VERY sarcastic when used between friends) and "sorry" (which might seem inappropriate in some situations). But I agree. Those are definitely very loose rules. It's just the pattern I picked up living in Budapest (right now, 2016). Thanks for the feedback!