"No, it does not come here, but it flies here."

Translation:Nem, nem idejön, hanem iderepül.

August 31, 2016

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I wanted to make up some theory, but I'll just ask: why does "ide" stick to the verb(s) in this sentence? (I've learned something like "when there is "nem", the verbal prefix follows the verb", but apparently it's more complicated than that.)


Yes, another issue is at play here. The emphasis! The emphasis is on the verbs. Not verb A but verb B is what the sentence says. When the verb is in focus, it does not get split, it stays intact. Compare it with "Nem ide repülök, hanem oda". Not "to here" but "to there" - the emphasis is on the location.


But isn't the emphasis here on the non-"ide" part of the verb? Wouldn't it be better (or at least correct) to split it as such?


Well, the whole verb, together with the preverb, is emphasized. But you are correct, since the preverbs are the same, the distinction is on the verb root. But we have to be careful with the splitting, since the meaning of the sentence can change.

The easiest way is leaving everything intact but stressing the verb root when speaking the sentence:

" ... nem ideJÖN, hanem ideREPÜL."

Another way is to drop the preverbs completely:

" ... nem jön, hanem repül."

Now comes splitting. It is a problem. Because if we split but leave the preverbs in the same position, then it becomes

" ... nem ide ... , hanem ide ... "

If we split the verbs and put the preverbs behind the verbs, then the sentence changes again. Instead of a specific negation and contrast, it becomes more like two independent statements, one positive, one negative, not really contrasting one another.

So, there is one (or two) more thing we can do. Split the verb, and extract the preverb, placing it outside the active zone, on neutral territory. Either in front or in the back:
" ... ide nem jön, hanem repül."
" ... nem jön, hanem repül ide."

These are more or less equivalent with the unsplit version.


this sentence makes no logical sense in either language.


We often say (and do) things that make no sense, logical or otherwise. And language has to accommodate such a need. :)

I can only assume that "jön" tries to imply the usual, land-based mode of transportation (walk), thereby acting as an opposite to flying.
Hungarian does not have a commonly used verb for walking ("sétál" means a leasurely walk), hence the problem. Most of the "walk" = "sétál" translations in this course are misleading, wrong. Hungarian prefers using the verbs "jön" and "megy", without specifying the mode, most of the time. So, many of these translations about walking are awkward.
If we wanted to specify walking, the translation would be either incorrect or grammatically very different:
"... does not walk here but flies here":
- "nem idesétál, hanem iderepül" - incorrect, because it may not be a stroll
- " ... nem gyalog jön ide, hanem iderepül" - grammatically different. This one can have several variations.
You could say "idegyalogol", but this verb is just not used like "walk" is used in English. There is a significant difference in usage.

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