Translation:The day before yesterday or the day after tomorrow?
Okay are these words able to be broken up to be understood or are they standalone words?
They are standalone words. If you use the parts separately as in tegnap előtt, that means ‘before yesterday’. If you say tegnapelőtt, that means ‘the day before yesterday’. The same is true for holnap után vs. holnapután where the former means ‘after tomorrow’ and the latter means ‘the day after tomorrow’.
And to think in Hebrew this sentence has three words and seven syllables:
- שלשום או מחרתים
- shilshóm o mokhrotáyim
Why is their no article 'the' in the Hungarian sentence, but it is expected in the English sentence?
Because English and Hungarian are different languages :)
The words in Hungarian work (grammatically) similarly to "tomorrow" and "yesterday" in English, which do not need an article, either.
For whatever reason, English has no single word for the "the day after tomorrow" and "the day before yesterday" and needs to use a phrase; this phrase then includes "the". We always say "I will come the day after tomorrow" and not "I will come day after tomorrow".
So English needs the "the" because this is the way English phrases those days.
Hungarian does not need "the" (or the Hungarian equivalent a) because Hungarian does not use such a phrase -- they have a single-word adverb instead.
In German we also use to say "vorgestern" (the day before yesterday) and "übermorgen" (the day after tomorrow) instead of "der Tag vor (dem) gestern" or "der Tag nach (dem) morgen".
Though German and English have same roots, they are often very different :-)
When learning English the blown up way for saying this baffled me. English has (or had) the alternative week numbering with sennight and fortnight, but nothing to elegantly modify/extend yesterday and tomorrow. Just foyesterday & aftomorrow would sound perfect to me.
You might want to check wiktionary for: overmorrow (the day after tomorrow) and ereyesterday (the day before yesterday). They're archaic and not used anymore.
lol, thx, I actually did stumble upon them in the meantime
A pity they are not used anymore. Sure "two days ago" or "in two days" works fine (better), but those long clumsy phrases sound like they should be archaic.
In some parts of the southern US, we actually do (sometimes) drop the "the" and just say "day after tommorow" or "day before yesterday." Especially at the start of sentences: "Day before yesterday, i was struggling with Hungarian, and day after tomorrow i will be too."
I know it isn't correct english (very little of southern vernacular is) but its worth pointing out.