"A turisták köré oroszlánok és tigrisek futnak."

Translation:Lions and tigers are running around the tourists.

September 8, 2016

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I feel like this is a stupid question (but since I mostly use duolingo on my phone I miss most of the lessons) -- how do we know that the verb goes with "oroszlánok és tigisek" and not with "A turisták"? Is it because of the position of "köré"? Thanks!


This is a pretty smart question, don't worry. :D
Yes, it has to do with the position of köré. Like so many words in Hungarian it's a postposition, which means it goes behind the noun it refers to, unlike in English where we use prepositions. So "a turisták köré" means "(to) around the tourists". Having that preposition also means that a turisták cannot be the subject of the sentence. The subject is always in nominative case, so it has no rag-suffixes (-ban, -on, -tól, -t, and so on) or postpositions. Aaand finally, the subject of a sentence is what is doing the thing the verb describes.
So "A turisták köré oroszlánok és tigrisek futnak" can only mean "(To) around the tourists, lions and tigers are running." If you want wild tourists surrounding your big kitties instead, you could say "A turisták oroszlánok és tigrisek köré futnak."


Thanks! I appreciate your help -- very clarifying.


What does "rág" mean in "rág-suffixes?" I see that it refers to the many types of suffixes a noun can have, I'm just wondering where the word rág comes from and what it means exactly.


Augh. I misspelled there. Rág means "to chew". The name of the suffix group is rag, with a short a. (Edited my comment accordingly.)
Etymologically, rag seems to derive from ragad - "to stick", and groups up those suffixes that give the nouns their respective function in the sentence. The ragok are the reason the word order can be so free in Hungarian, because the grammatic load of the noun is defined by those suffixes - whether it's the direct object (-t), the surrounding of the subject (-ban / -on / -nál), the company (-val), and so on.
The important visual thing about the ragok is that they're always the very last suffix a noun can have, and each noun has only one of these. (Or none, if the noun is the subject of the sentence, or accompanied by a postposition.)

There are three types of suffixes in Hungarian, namely képző ("forming"), jel ("sign, mark"), and rag.

Képzők change the meaning of the word. There are lots of these suffixes in the language, and most of them let you switch between word classes: -ás/-és turns verbs into nouns (fut - to run; a futás - the run), -talan/-telen/-tlan/-tlen turns nouns or verbs into adjectives and negates the meaning (hang - sound; hangtalan - soundless), -an/-en/-on/-ön turns adjectives into adverbs (nagy - big; nagyon - very), -ság/-ség turns nouns into priniciples (barát - friend; barátság - friendship). You can have as many képzők as you need in your word, which can occasionally bring it to ridiculous lengths.

Jelek on the other hand describe the further details of our noun. The most common jelek are the possessive markers, and the plural suffix -k. You usually have one or two of these in your noun, and the jelek follow right after the kepzők, and are followed by the rag.

As an example, let's consider the sentence "A tagságodról beszéltünk" - "We were talking about your membership":

  • tag - member, this is the word root
  • tagság - membership, -ság is a képző, it changes the meaning of the root
  • tagságod - your membership, the jel -od tells us who is the owner of that membership
  • tagságodról - about your membership, -ról is the rag of the noun, describing its grammatical function. Here it means "about".


This is wonderful, thank you!! I didn't know about these categories of endings, but it does explain a few things that I did know about but didn't know why, such as why the accusative suffix always comes after the plural suffix. I suppose saying the suffixes in the wrong order makes a person sound like a foreigner? Or maybe a very young child? :)

Thank you also for the wikipedia link. That had a wealth of information, especially about other courses and books at the end.


Hai, I forgot to reply. :D
Putting the suffixes in the wrong order can range from "cute mistake" to "everything is messed up". Consider the book for example:

  • a könyveket - the books (acc.) | jel -ek + rag -et
  • a könvyetek - your book | jel -etek
  • a könyveitek - your books | jel -ei + jel -tek
  • a könyveiket - their books (acc.) | jel -ei + jel -k + rag -et

I think that order comes naturally, at least after a while of learning. First you want to emulate the exact meaning of the word with képzők, then the further constraints in the shape of jelek, and then you express what to do with that object within the sentence with the ragok. Confusing this is as if you tried to say in English "It is my in house." It just doesn't work and messes things up.


Yes, it is precisely because of the position of köré. A turisták köré is one adverbial phrase that describes where the action is happening; it can't be the subject of sentence. You should think of a postposition like köré as glued really tightly to the word that comes right before it, turning the whole thing into an inseparable grammatical unit. WIth postpositions that describe location like this, it will correspond to an adverbial phrase of place in English.


Thank you -- super helpful, and so prompt!


Because the lions and the tigers are running, but not the.tourists :)


The safari brochure neglected to mention this.


Is köré the 'cousin' of között ?


Well, not exactly - I guess it depends on how you define "cousin". Között is part of a typical "location triad" like you get with most locational suffixes and postpositions:

Az emberek közé mentem. - I went (in) among the people. (to where? az emberek közé)

Most az emberek között állok. - Now I am standing among the people. (where? az emberek között)

Nehány perc mulva elmegyek az emberek közül. In a few minutes, I'll go away from (among) the people. (where from? az emberek közül)

Those three form a family, all about position among or between some things.

Köré really belongs to a different trio of positional words that have to do with position around a thing (or things). It is a direct relative of kör, the word for "circle."


Thanks, this was a really great description! Lingot to you!

So, in the example sentence (with köré) the lions and tigers are in the process of surrounding the tourists, right?

Taking this a step (or a few minutes) further, when they finished the process of surrounding them: Az oroszlánok és a tigrisek a turisták körött vannak. Now the tourists are surrounded, right?

Let's hope they are well fed...

how does körül fit into the picture here? It seems like it means "away from the state of encirclement", in the same way as '-ból' means "away from the state of being inside" (just that körül is a postposition and -ból a suffix, obviously)

Did I get it right?


No. Között means between.

Közé is the 'cousin' of között

Köré = valakit körül vesz eg The tigers are running circles ( around ) the tourists- A tigrisek körbe veszik a turistákat.:


Helpful links here.

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