Translation:The good children play in the squares, not in the streets or on the sidewalks.
This is a terrible translation again. To be consistent, I translated with "on" everywhere because I am now assuming that if I use "in" instead of "on", even if I am correct, my answer will be rejected.
Agreed. One of the effects of this course is to destroy our English. I find myself writing "Not to under him" just because I know that's what's expected.
The translation given is incorrect. In English we would say, "playing in the squares" and not "on them". I suggest: "The good children play in the squares and not in the streets or sidewalks."
So to clarify, the -en in this context means 'on the squares' in terms of literally making contact with the surface of the squares while they play? So would terekben mean 'in the squares' as in within the parameter of the square, maybe as someone looking down from above would see? I'm having trouble distinguishing these subtle changes in meaning in similar case endings.
Téren is what you would translate as 'in the square' in English. Hungarian uses the surface suffix because squares are usually pretty flat things and you tend to remain at the surface of those. Térben would mean you're (partly) buried in the ground.
Not to be too nitpicky, but the exercise does not have an accent over ter, whereas RyagonIV uses this accent in his discussion. Why the discrepancy?
Tér is one of the nouns that shorten their vowel when used with certain suffixes. Specifically -t (accusative), -k (plural), and any of the possessive suffixes. So you get:
- teret, terek, terem, tered, tere... , tereim, tereid, terei...
With most other suffixes attached, the vowel remains long:
- téren, térhez, térért, térnek, and so on.
There are plenty of words that do this, for example:
- bogár - bogarak - beetle
- név - a nevem - name
- kéz - kezet - hand
- levél - levelek - letter
Together with the words that lose a vowel (tükör - tükrök - mirror), the v-stem words (ló - lovak - horse) and the very few weirdos (teher - terhet - burden) they form the group of "stem-changing words".
If the definite article in the beginning can be omitted, making it a generalised statement (Good children..), could the rest of them also be omitted (...play in squares, not on streets or on sidewalks)?