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  5. "Nem, az orosz katonák nem a …

"Nem, az orosz katonák nem a régi városnál vannak."

Translation:No, the Russian soldiers are not at the old city.

September 1, 2016



I got the words correctly, but I don't know what it means. Does it mean that they are not next to/beside the city? That they have not yet reached the city? the they are not outside the city? Any clarification would be much appreciated!!


It is talking about the vicinity of the city. Definitely not inside the city. So, yes, you got it. Maybe some kind of a military base that is not near the old city.


Thanks for your reply!! However, the English version is so ambiguous that it's not very meaningful, and a native English speaker would need more context to make sense of what the writer/speaker is trying to convey. For example: Are the soldiers on the move and have not yet reached the city?

Once again here is a duolingo example where the vagueness of the example gets in the way of trying to do language learning, i.e. why learn a Hungarian sentence when the English translation is vague/ambiguous/meaningless? MUCH BETTER to have an unambiguous Hungarian sentence with a corresponding unambiguous English sentence for a beginning language learning experience, i.e. until one is getting into advance language learning.

  • Just my 2¢ ($0.02) ;-)


Your investment of 2¢ is well placed. :)

But let's try to clear up this ambiguity anyway. :)

"Nem, az orosz katonák nem a régi városnál vannak."

First of all, what are we negating here? The location! "Nem a régi városnál". That is, NOT AT THE OLD CITY. That is, somewhere else instead. For example, not at the old city but at the new seaside resort.

If we were trying to say that they haven't reached the city yet, then the verb would be negated, not the location. They have NOT REACHED the city yet. See, even in English, the verb is negated in this case, in a sense.
So, in Hungarian, that would be "NEM VANNAK". But of course that is impossible, it has to change to "NINCSENEK". And if we wanted to add "yet", as in "they are not there yet", it would be "még". The full sentence would look like this:
"Nem, az orosz katonák még nincsenek a régi városnál."

But, instead, we are negating the location here. So, the sentence is:
"Nem, az orosz katonák nem a régi városnál vannak."

Of course, we need context. Everybody needs context. What does this sentence mean?? We can only guess. They are most probably not inside the city. Because if they were, then the sentence would say so. There is a reason it does not.

So, they are outside. I mean, they are not outside the city, they are nowhere near the city. They are somewhere else completely. Maybe the Hungarian soldiers are at the old city.

And I can imagine some major military exercise where the soldiers make camp outside a settlement, and they are not going in the city so as not to disturb the civilian population.

And it may be a multinational exercise, and somebody may be looking for the Russian camp. Well, we now know that they are not at the old city.


Vvsey you post so many thoughtful explanations, it was about time I gave you a lingot. Well deserved!


Hi, your German translation of the sentence is a little problematic. (Finally my nativeness pays off a bit!)

  1. "Altstadt" is the historical core of the city, which is translated as óváros in Hungarian. "Regi város" is just "alte Stadt".
  2. It's -nál here, not -ban, so it will be "an" or "bei" in German, not "in".

The Hungarian sentence translates as "Nein, die russischen Soldaten sind nicht bei der alten Stadt." Pretty straightforward.

"Es gibt keine Soldaten in der alten Stadt" ("There are no soldiers in the old city") would look a bit different. You're not talking about the location of the soldiers anymore, but about their existence (within that location). In Hungarian that would be "Nincsenek katonák a régi városban."


Just to clarify, in English, if I say "The soldiers aren't by the city," people will generally assume they aren't in the city either. Can I assume the same in Hungarian, that saying this sentence when the soldiers are actually in the city would be seen as silly/pedantic?


Yes! If the soldiers were in the city, Hungarian would most probably say "városban" - in the city. There is a reason why this sentence does not say that, and that reason must be that they are not in the city. They proceeded as far as the city but they are stationed outside of the city.


The translation says ‘at the city’. Either this case is very confusing or the Tips & Notes explained it poorly, or both.


I wrote "...by the old city" and it was rejected in favor of "...at the old city." I know that -nál/-nél can mean "at" sometimes, but does that mean that "by" or "beside" are incorrect in those situations?


i wrote both by and near and it expected around


It would be better, if orosz katonák went home from our régi városok...


In another exercise "Az amerikai katonák" was translated as "American soldiers" and not "the American soldiers". Is that exercise wrong, or is this one, or is there something else different about "az orosz katonák"?


This is a very hungarian sentence.

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