"Elnézést, hol van itt lift?"

Translation:Excuse me, where is an elevator here?

September 27, 2016

This discussion is locked.


why not "a lift"? I translated where is an elevator here (not very good though), because there was no definite article in the Hungarian sentence.


This question comes up often. I think it is a quirk of English and not Hungarian.

Casual English adds a definite article to elevator (referring to "the elevator" or "the elevators") as if all elevators in a single building/location are the same object. "An elevator" means one of many elevators not specific to the current location.

So one would say: "I am waiting for the elevator" when standing in front of three elevators, and say "I am in an elevator" if talking on a mobile phone to someone not in the building. But one might also say "I am in the elevator in this building" when talking on the phone to someone in the same building (to be specific about the group of elevators), or say "I like to ride the elevator in this building" even if there are many elevators.

The definite article is also used for other kinds of travel which are all identical ("I am going to go on the boat", "I am going to go on the train", "I am going to take the bus") when there are many identical boats, trains, or buses and you will travel on one of them, and it doesn't matter which specific one.

Also, this is in casual english only. Formally, definite/indefinite articles apply to "elevator" the standard way.


Why not "lift" for the English? That is what it is called in England.


This question comes up a lot. Officially, the course is in American English (I believe all English Duolingo courses use American, both to teach English other languages)

Now, I am not opposed to adding British spelling and vocabulary as alternative translations. And I think they should, within reason. You can report your answers as "should be accepted"

But I also see why they don't prioritize this. When the course is in beta and still has lots of bugs. It's a lot of work to just add all the American acceptable translations. And why stop at British, we might add Canadian, Australian, South African, Indian, etc variants too.


There are plenty of British English alternatives already in the translations. Surely the writers of the course must realise that 'lift' is the Hungarian word because it is a loan word from English.


Why the definite article in the English?


-------- 'cause "where's elevator " isn't english . . .

Big 19 sep 18


I heard the sentence a few times and I am always under the impression that the speaker said: "...hol van egy lift"


-------- report that, "...the audio does not sound correct ... " . . .

Big 21 mar 20


Stilted English translation: how about "where is there an elevator here?"


I agree the English is stilted, but that seems worse to me. I'd have said, "where is an elevator in here?" (or ". . . around here" but Google Translate gives that as ". . . errefelé . . .")


Consider the two questions "Is there an elevator here" and "Is an elevator here". There is a subtle distinction between them. The first question enquires as to whether there is an elevator at all in this place, whereas the second question is asking about whether one of the elevators is here as opposed to somewhere else. In the second question it is implied that there are elevators and the person is looking for any one of them hopefully in this place. In the first question, there might not be any elevator. The question "Where is an elevator here?" sounds strange and implies that an elevator is here and the person is looking for it. The question "Where is there an elevator here?" is the more usual form. It does not imply as much that there is definitely an elevator here.

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