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"The apples of those little boys are red, who wait in the garden."

Translation:Azoknak a kisfiúknak az almái pirosak, akik a kertben várnak.

August 30, 2016



In my opinion, this section was also way too hard for a new learner, and impossible for me to finish without copy and paste because there are just too many things in each sentence to get wrong.


Agreed. It's not well designed, not well placed in the course, and for the time being not very well implemented even for what it is. It's an unfortunate roadblock. Some of the sentences have such an explosion of different possibilities in the translations that getting to a point of accepting nearly all reasonable ones will be... an ambitious goal.


Why is it "almái" and not "almáik"? "kisfiúk" is plural..


Basically the reasoning is that since the possessor (kisfiúk) is already plural, it's not entirely necessary to put the plural suffix on the apples as well. I think that both almái and almáik are correct here, but you'll hear the former version more often.

When the possessor is not explicitly in the sentence, and the suffix is the only thing that is denoting possession, then the distinction between the 3rd person singular and 3rd person plural possessive endings is essential.


The "almáik" version is actually incorrect here, in my opinion. You only use the "-k" if there is no possessor mentioned or if the possessor is "they", the pronoun. Which becomes "ő" in this case. Not "ők". So,

  • az almáik - their apples - no possessor mentioned
  • a kisfiúk almái - the boys' apples - possessor mentioned
  • az ő almáik - their apples - possessor is the plural 3rd pronoun (minus the plural "-k").


I agree with everything that you're saying there but I feel like I've seen both versions when the possessor is marked with -nak/-nek.

So while I would never write (or expect to see) *A kisfiúk almáik [wrong]

But I'm pretty sure I've seen both A kisfiúknak az almái and A kisfiúknak az almáik in practice (like we're given here). Like you, I was taught the first version, but it seems like the second version also gets used by native speakers. Am I totally wrong about that?


Not totally wrong but wrong, I think. It may be used incorrectly in real life, as many things in language are. And you may also be thinking of a slightly different situation, like this:
"A kisfiúknak pirosak az almáik."
Here, the possessor-possessed construction is broken up, so, "almáik" behaves as though it is alone.

Also, think of the possessor-possessed in its simpler form, without "-nak az":

"A kisfiúk almái".

Clearly, you can't say "almáik" here. Nor can you when adding "pirosak" at the end:

"A kisfiúk almái pirosak".

But if you want to force "pirosak" in the middle, then the structure is broken up and you are forced to use "-nak az" to indicate the relation over a broken structure. So that just underlines the fact that "almáik" stands alone and therefore gets the "-k" in:

"A kisfiúknak pirosak az almáik".


Thank you, mizinamo. Yes, predicate sounds good. And while English may say that a complete sentence requires a subject and a verb, Hungarian grammar says that a complete sentence requires an "alany" (subject) and an "állítmány" (predicate). Because, very frequently, the predicate is not a verb. The predicate can be an "ige" (verb) or a "névszó" ("nominal") or a combination thereof, an "összetett állítmány" (compound predicate).

verb - ige:
Az alma érik. - The apple is ripening.

nominal - névszó:
Az alma piros. - The apple is red.

combination, compound predicate - "összetett állítmány":
Az alma piros volt. - The apple was red.

So, in
"A kisfiúknak pirosak az almáik",
the word "pirosak" is the predicate.

And now you can look at the "adjective before or after the noun" situation in a new light. When the adjective is before the noun ("piros almák"), it is, according to Hungarian grammar, a "jelző" (modifier), that does not take a suffix, stays singular, etc. But when the adjective is after the noun, standing on its own, ("Az almák pirosak."), it is not a modifier any more, no, it is the "állítmány", the predicate. And it gets conjugated.
And we may decide to move the predicate in front of the noun, this way:

"Pirosak az almák." - "Pirosak" is the predicate.

Very different from

"a piros almák" - "piros" is just a modifier, this is not a complete sentence.


This is not to be confused with

"A kisfiúk piros almái" or
"A kisfiúknak a piros almái",

where "piros" is merely an adjective (therefore singular) and does not break up the possessor-possessed structure. Whereas in

"A kisfiúknak pirosak az almáik"

"pirosak" is what we are stating. Hungarian has a word for this role in the sentence. It is the "állítmány". It is the "statement". It makes sense in Hungarian to have a word for this as it may or may not be a verb. I guess in English it is always "the verb". Please let me know if there is a better term for this in English.


From your description of állítmány, I would call it the "predicate".

In an English sentence, the predicate is usually a verb, but in Az alma piros, I would call piros the predicate as it tells us about the subject.

The Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predicate_(grammar) also has an interwiki link to https://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ll%C3%ADtm%C3%A1ny .


"A kisfiúknak pirosak az almáik."

Yes, this is the kind of thing I have noticed. When it's, as you say, "broken up." I would know to do that but I hadn't really formulated a rule around it, so thanks for making it explicit.


Could you say pirosak az almái instead of az almái pirosak?


You'd need to write pirosak az almáik in that case, but it's entirely possible.

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