"The little boy runs away from the chair, onto which an ugly big hairy spider is climbing up."

Translation:Attól a széktől fut el a kisfiú, amelyikre felmászik egy csúnya nagy szőrös pók.

August 23, 2016

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I mean... can you blame the kid?


Why is "attól a széktől," required as opposed to just "a széktöl," when the translation is just "from the chair," and not "from that chair?"


It's the Hungarian way :)

In English, relative clauses usually come right behind the noun, so their position shows that the noun is being modified.

In Hungarian, they usually use a signal word such as ott "there" or az "that" to show that you are talking about a specific place or thing, and the specifier (the relative clause) later than completes the specification of the place or thing. We usually don't translate those into English.


Just to throw in some confusion... while you are definitely being taught this rather emphasized structure here, this is certainly not the only way. This sentence just strongly emphasizes that one chair. Out of the many chairs, the one that the boy runs away from is this specific one.

But we don't always need to do that, do we? What if there is only one chair in the room? The English sentence still stands. Dare I say, it fits that situation much better. Especially with the comma in there.

But the Hungarian sentence will change. It will more closely resemble the English structure. The noun (szék) will move back to the end of the first clause, and the relative clause will have another, less specific relative pronoun (I think that's what they are called, right?) So, here it is, one chair, one boy, one big hairy spider:

"A kisfiú elfut a széktől, amelyre felmászik [or, to be more progressive: mászik fel] egy csúnya nagy szőrös pók."

There you have it.

I will try to find the discussion about "amely" vs "amelyik", it may come in handy here...

Here it is:



If a bear climbing up onto a roof in the second clause can grab focus, why not a big ugly hairy spider climbing up onto a chair?

In English, there is a convention that "big" precedes "ugly", so this sentence presents a trap. Is there a corresponding convention in Hungarian?


I don't think there is an expressed convention, at least not one that people are consciously aware of. Some things just sound normal while others might sound weird. "Nagy csúnya" and "csúnya nagy" both sound acceptable.
Linguists will tell you that there is indeed a usual order of adjectives, for example, going from vague to more specific, etc., but, again, this is more like an observation, not something that people are aware or are consciously taught.

As for the spider grabbing the focus, sure, why not, it is totally possible.


Does hungarian have a strict order for adjectives to go in like english, and if so, what is it? In english, for example, it sounds MUCH bettee to say "the big ugly hairy spider," as opposed to "the ugly big hairy spider." Its one of those weird rules you just naturally learn though, not one taught in schools usually.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/us/amp/british-grammar/adjectives-order <-- this link has an example of the english adjective order.


There is a natural order but, like English, it is not taught in school, more like learnt instinctively. (And probably no one could tell you what it is, only if some order sounded weird or not.) I have recently seen an essay, maybe a thesis, analyzing this very thing. It was more like describing the existing phenomenon, not establishing a rule.


would "Arról a székról fut el a kisfiú, amelyikre felmászik egy csùnya nagy szőrös pók" be okay? does it have to be the 'tól" to be correct in this instance?


"Székről". It would mean that he is on top of the chair, possibly assuming a running position. Which could be weird, since we usually sit on a chair and, if we want to run, we first stand up then run away.
So, it sounds funny. But there could be circumstances where it would work.


So there is a distinction between 'ból' 'tól' and "ról'?


Of course there is. If there were not, then they would all be the same word (or, rather, suffix): "ból", "ból" and "ból". Or "tól", "tól" and "tól". Or, I don't know, maybe "ról", "ról" and "ról". And then all three would mean the same thing.
But since they are different suffixes, it is only natural that they mean different things.
If you come out of the house, that is "ból": "kijössz a házból".
If you were next to the house and now come away from it, that is "tól": "eljössz a háztól".
If the chimney falls off the house, that is "ról": "leesik a házról".

If we talk about the house, that is also "ról": "a házról beszélünk".


I really do not mean any offence here, I'm just curious: how could you get to that point of the course without learning about the difference between these suffixes?


A kisfiú attól a széktől fut el, amelyikre egy csúnya, nagy, szőrös pók mászik fel. - accepted


This eyesore delivers the best argument for adjective order flexibilty and/or alignment with the English.


How can I find out the difference between arról and attól?

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