Translation:The airplane flies here from the place, to which these people are moving.
This is a terribly awkward and nonsensical sentence in English. All those extra words that are required in Hungarian just don't need to be there in English. And if they are there, then they should at least be literal translations: The airplane flies from there to here, to where these people are moving.
This is going to be one of those long and tedious sections of having to memorize awkward and useless English sentences just to be able to move thru it, isn't it? Sigh.
the thing is, for proper back translation (english to hungarian) all those extra and weird words need to be there.
That's a valid argument in one way. But in real life, English sentences are not worded in such a way that makes it easier to translate them to Hungarian properly. We should also be learning to translate English as it's really spoken. Some of the lessons could be specifically designed for the literal translations, with all the extra "flies to here from the place" types of phrases, and others using natural English. Those could come a little later in the course when we've gotten a better idea of how to construct all those phrases having to do with movement and direction, etc.
A while ago I took a class in traditional Hungarian folk songs. The teacher would translate every line of each song in two ways - first, literally, so we would understand the meaning and function of each word in the original sentence. Then she'd give us a translation that sounded like natural English, which captured the poetic sensibility of the original words, even if some English words had to be added and some Hungarian words omitted, and of course, the word order changed. :) It was very educational!
:-) That sounds very interesting. Do you know, if something similar is available on you tube or somewhere else? Are you able to sing the songs now by yourself?
Umm, no they don't... The extra words will naturally appear and disappear as you are translating between the two languages... They do not need to be added in, in an unnatural way to do the translation or have the exercise be correct.
As the word order changes, it becomes clear that the words need to be added or removed
This is really awful. Can anyone tell me if it actually results in learning? My guess is that if it does, it does so inefficiently. Is this how duolingo works? In Hungarian, is this the best way to express what is meant here?
I think this is not a problem with Duolingo, but with the stark differences between Hungarian and English grammar. I am German and from my point of view the Hungarian sentence is pretty straightforward.
I think yes and no...
It clues me in to how Hungarian sentences are formed - but using English words (a phenomenon often known here as "Hunglish" i.e. English words, Hungarian grammar)....
However, it doesn't teach how to translate natural English sentences into Hungarian.
This can be done - and I would disagree with RyangonIV's assertion that it's purely due to grammatical differences.
This course is still in beta, and Hungarian is not exactly the world's most common language - so it will take time for sentences to be written in English in a more natural form.
One of the problems here is that this course uses pretty awful sentences, which don't have much of a natural meaning. English relies a lot on common knowledge to get its point across, much more so than Hungarian. (Simple example: "going to the zoo". You can never be sure where exactly you end up when using "to", but usually it means that you enter the zoo. With Hungarian that's less ambiguous - either "az állatkertbe menni" or "az állatkerthez menni".)
Let me try a more natural English translation of this sentence, "Onnan repül ide a repülőgép, ahova ezek az emberek költöznek":
"The plane is flying here from where these people are moving to."
Does it sound good? I think it's more wholesome than the preferred translation of "The airplane flies here from the place, to which these people are moving." But I wouldn't call it "good", mainly because you might not really grasp its meaning when you read it for the first time.
Thinking about it, this might be an issue because the English language likes to break down large sentence structures. In this particular case you can see a mixing of main clause and dependent clause in the sentence I'm suggesting. The pronoun "where" is fulfilling a double role, which makes grasping the meaning quite difficult. In the main clause it's part of "from where", establishing the starting point of the plane. Then in the dependent clause it is again part of a construction, "where...to", talking about the goal point of the moving people.
In Hungarian this is very unproblematic, since the sentence is well-structured. The clauses are clearly separated (commas are super useful), and the words have unambiguous dependencies.
"Onnan repül ide a repülőgép" - "The plane flies here from [the place we're going to define in a second]."
"... ahova ezek az emberek költöznek" - "[The place is defined as] the place to which these people are moving".
This problem of th English double-dependence might be migitated by adding a "there" in the main clause, which moves "where" entirely into the dependent clause, but that makes the sentence a little less natural and/or stylish: "The plane is flying from there, where these people are moving to."
Do you have a better suggestion for a more natural English sentence?
Another issue I have with some natural English sentences is their level of usefulness in translations, especially if you want to translate from English to Hungarian. Say you have the sentence "The boy waiting at the bus stop is talking to that girl." A good Hungarian translation for that is:
A fiú, aki a buszmegállóban vár, azzal a lánnyal beszél.
Why is there an aki? Where does the -val suffix in "azzal a lánnyal" come from when "to" usually translates to something else? Even though the Hungarian and the English sentences mean the same thing, they are expressing it differently due to their grammatical or stylistic needs.
When it comes to EN -> HU translations, I'm very much in favour of nudging the learner by using an English sentence which comes close to the grammar of the intended Hungarian sentence. Just changing the English sentence to "The boy who is waiting at the bus stop is talking with that girl" does a lot to help with this. It makes translation easier, even if the English sentence doesn't look polished to a mirror sheen.
Not that things like this are executed well in this course. But I like seeing sentences that are easier to translate even if they're not top-notch natural or stylish.
either "az állatkertbe menni" or "az állatkerthez menni".
RyagonIV, would you translate these two phrases to English? How are they different? I should probably know this by now, but I haven't internalized the nuance, so to me they both mean "going to the zoo" in English.
Does the Hungarian sentence sound like something anyone would actually say? (I don't know the answer, I'm asking.) I don't need an example of a scenario, I can imagine one, but I'm wondering if a native speaker would phrase it this way.
IMO, "the boy who is waiting at the bus stop is talking with that girl" is not really unnatural in English. The "who is" was probably once required, grammatically, but has since been dropped. It's now implied. I've studied a couple of other languages where the "who is" can't be implied, it must be part of the sentence.
And I like your idea of substituting "talking to " with "talking with," which is less commonly used in English, but doesn't sound really unnatural - maybe a tad formal. Using "with" would prompt me to remember the -val suffix.
A similar issue happens when you say something like, "the car with the broken headlight." The ultra-correct way to say that is "the car that has the broken headlight," but most English speakers don't say that anymore. However, that's not true in either Spanish or French, and it seems, in Hungarian either. Dependent clauses need to be clearly marked. I think it's harder for English speakers to remember this because it's no longer required in English.
(Speaking as an American English speaker. YMMV. :) )
The really big problem with these sentences in Duolingo is that because we can enter whatever text we choose in a response (except for the multiple choice questions), it means that a large variety of potential but correct responses is possible. If every single one of those possible responses isn't entered into the Duo database, then when someone happens to phrase their (correct) translation in that specific way, it will be marked wrong. Multiple choice is a lot more accurate, because it's not dependent on an unpredictable response from the user, but to really learn, you have to be able to translate from scratch as well. This is probably an issue with most of the language courses on Duo.
The suffixes -ba, -ban, -ból care about the space inside an object. The suffixes -hoz, -nál, -tól care about the outside surface or immediate surrounding of the object. So "az állatkertbe menni" means "going to the zoo, ending up inside", and "az állatkerthez menni" means "going to the zoo, but not entering it".
For the original Hungarian sentence, the actual situation is pretty far out there, but if you ever wanted to say something like that, the sentence structure sounds pretty okay, perhaps a bit more on the written-language side. (At least to me. Still not a native.)
A somewhat more likely sentence could be "Ahol az a busz megy, oda költözöm jövő hónapban" - "You see where that bus is (currently) driving? I'm going to move there next month." It has basically the same structure as the original sentence.
I wasn't implying that my English suggestion with the bus-awaiting boy was unnatural, just not top-notch stylish. I simply wanted to show an example of how to make sentences more useful for practicing translation. :)
Also I'm not sure what's not "ultra-correct" about "the car with the broken headlight". Is it because headlights are an integral part of a car, so the accompanying "with" would be wrong? But yes, this would seem like a very pedantic thing to argue about. :´D
And voilà, Hungarian makes a difference between integral things and instrumental things, at least when it comes to adjectives. Integral adjectives get a -ú/-ű suffix, and instrumental adjectives end on -s (with the respective buffer vowel). So for instance you can have a "feketehajú, fehérkalapos nő" - "black-haired, white-hatted woman". The hair belongs to her, and the hat is an accessory.
And yes, your last point is another thing why creating a Hungarian-English course is so difficult: there are a lot of ways you can translate a sentence, in both directions. The flexible word order in Hungarian doesn't do much to help there.
One of the problems here is that this course uses pretty awful sentences, which don't have much of a natural meaning.
On this, we strongly agree.
English relies a lot on common knowledge to get its point across, much more so than Hungarian.
Hmm... I think this is true for all languages - including Hungarian. Hungarian has a lot of idioms, and ways of saying things that even if you know all the words, you still don't understand unless you've had prior exposure. So I think this point is a matter of opinion.
(Simple example: "going to the zoo". You can never be sure where exactly you end up when using "to", but usually it means that you enter the zoo. With Hungarian that's less ambiguous - either "az állatkertbe menni" or "az állatkerthez menni".)
Ahh... OK! Well, Hungarian uses surfaces and direction differently to how English does. To be clear "We are going to the zoo" means "Az állatkertbe megyünk". There is not the ambiguity you infer there is. If we were going up to but not into the zoo, we would be more specific, and use greater context too. (Although I'm pretty sure you would also give a greater context if you were going to use the -hez suffix.) For example, in English you may say "We are going to meet X outside of the Zoo.". You could say, "We are going to the zoo gates." or even "We are going to outside of the zoo.". (Note: Many of these ways of saying are highly localised.) There are simpler ways of saying this. Context is important.
In other words, there are just as specific ways to say things in English. English is very flexible, and it is easy enough to get your meaning across in English using it poorly. If you don't know how to say something concisely with a high degree of precision in English, then it is not the fault of the language.
Whilst you advocate using the English translations grammar to match the Hungarian sentence, this demonstrates a praiseworthy quality of English, but unfortunately does not assist English speakers in learning Hungarian - a language already notable for is difficulty compared to other European languages.
As learning Hungarian this way, you actually have to mangle English grammar away from what is natural, it means the lessons end up getting wasted. If you teach an English speaker using natural English translations when they naturally think that way they automatically start to remember the more complex grammar lessons.
However, as English speakers don't think that way, there is no correlation between their natural thought and what they have just learnt. This just makes lessons frustrating and is part of the problem of a number of parts of this course. In other words, outside of practising on Duolingo, it is not helpful to the English speaker.
Just because the grammar may be quite different, doesn't mean you shouldn't teach it in a natural manner. Hungarophones and Anglophones thought modalities are quite different, and these differences shouldn't be shied away from. Leaving those differences in helps to encourage that mode shift.
"Context" is what I meant with "common knowledge" here. I probably should have used that word. I was referring to the common knowledge between speaker and listener. Natural English sentences are often somewhat more vague, especially when it comes to directions, where nonspoken or earlier mentioned context makes the meaning more precise. In contrast, Hungarian sentences sometimes don't even have the option to be that vague.
- Did you go to the zoo? (You wanted to meet up with Derek there, across the street.)
- Did you go to the zoo? (You and your friend went out. Where did you go?)
- Did you go to the zoo? (You wanted to see the animals.)
Same sentence in three different contexts. This context influences how this sentence would be translated into Hungarian:
- Átmentél az állatkerthez?
- Az állatkertbe mentetek?
- Elmentél az állatkertbe?
It's not that English doesn't have the option to be more precise in a single sentence, it just chooses not to if there is enough context. English likes keeping it short and neat.
As for modifying the English translation to match the grammar of the Hungarian sentence more closely, I can see your point. We probably have just different learning differences. Personally, I prefer to minimise the vocabulary load when learning a new language, so I try make the grammar of the language I know match to the grammar of the new language. So instead of matching "találkozik vkivel" with "to meet someone", I analyse the words more closely:
- talál - to find
- -kozik - (reflexive)
- vkivel - with somebody
Instead of learning the whole phrase, I learn these three parts and match them with "to find oneself with someone", and I can reuse those parts for many other constructions. Now, "to find oneself with someone" is unidiomatic in English, but I think "to meet with someone" is a good compromise to use as a translation.
This is not saying that my method is inherently better, but I prefer it this way instead of learning endless lists of fixed phrases. Which method you use shouldn't matter in the end, but for a beginner's course, where you're still doing a lot of guessing, I think it is helpful if the translations are a little more self-explanatory. :)
Natural English sentences are often somewhat more vague
That statement shows a limited understanding of the English language. (Note the meta-ness of the sentence which you made vaguer by adding extra words to it!) ;)
However, regarding directions - yes, as we've both said Hungarian is obsessed with thinking about surfaces and on that we agree!
Out of context, Hungarian sentences make as little sense as English. Hungarian is concerned with some things being very specific, and not at all with others. There are differences in word and concept boundaries. I suspect that many concept boundary differences are not present to you, as you are also from a Central European country. (Don't worry, I'm sure that there are plenty which you notice sharply - but I also notice that Central Europeans affix common Central European mindsets into how they use English.)
As someone living in Hungary with English as a native language - I find there are many concepts in Hungarian which are more specific than English, and I also find the reverse to be true.
Example of Hungarian being more specific:
- meggy and cseresznye
- both mean "cherry" in English
- the former being sour cherries, the latter sweet.
Example of English being more specific:
- strand is frequently translated as "beach" in English
- this is technically an incorrect translation.
- If you used "beach" outside of tengeri strand you'd be laughed at where I come from
- even then only certain tengeri strand types would be "correctly" translated.
- In fact, we already have a direct cognate in English - as the word originates from German - being "strand".
- I understand "strand" in English as having the same meaning as strand in Hungarian but many native English speakers would not.
- (Clearly I'm not talking about the meaning of strand as in a "strand of ribbon" or "strand of hair" but one of its homophones.)
- English speakers are very specific about the type of waterside place they are going to.
- Going to the pool vs the beach vs the riverbank vs the lakeside vs the dam bank, etc, are all considered very differently in the English speakers mind than in a Central Europeans and/or Hungarians mind.
These are just two very simple examples using nouns. There are plenty of other examples with verbs and nouns, and going both ways.
So, to say that Hungarian is more specific, well, I say "hearsay"! :) You will have to provide a far more detailed statistical analysis than that. :) I believe where you come from and how you use language may be biasing your view.
Duolingo does already have grammar and lesson information associated with lessons - they should be helpful in filling those gaps.
Teaching people to have to translate sentences through multiple stages before they understand what is going on - simply doesn't work for most people.
Other Duolingo Hungarian language studiers' comments consistently reflect this.
This is not to say that a more literal translation should not be accepted - it just should not be the default one listed. You clearly have a sharp, literal and analytical mind. Most people simply don't think like that. The user should have the option of using whatever works for them rather than having it imposed upon them.
I appreciate the effort put into this course, but some of these exercises are just awful and not productive because of the terrible English used in the translations. It should not be a chore to wade through. Some sections are not so bad, but some like this one need a rethink please.
the audio is much too fast to understand, especially for beginners to Hungarian. It is not a good lesson to make it an audio lesson without the words there to see, since it is such a new language to us. please make it a lesson where we can see the words and hear them at the same time.
As you can see from above, I agree with you and have for a long time. However, I can't say why, but this sentence sounds unusually musical to me, I like the sound of it. I frequently sing some of these sentences as a way of learning them, but only in private because, well, you know.
It would be much easier with: Onnan érkezik a repülö, ahova ezek az emberek költöznek. The plane arrives from there, where these people are moving to.
One thing that I think makes these sentences so awkward is the comma. I understand why it's there - they want to clearly mark the clauses. But it reads poorly to me with a pause there. I think it would sound a lot better even as it is, if just the comma is removed.
i hear only onna, instead of onnan. Is that just non-hungarian ear or is it wrong audio?
It's very faint, you are right. The pronounciation of onnan is a bit weird here, but the tone of the sentence gives it away. It's understandable for Hungarian ears, but maybe a bit difficult for beginners.
I wrote : "The airplane flies here from where these people are moving". Unfortunately it was not accepted. Could someone explain ?
I'd add a "to" at the end of your sentence to reflect the movement directed by ahova, but otherwise it's fine.
Unnecessarily convoluted. Why not: “The airplane flies here from where these people are moving.” ?
I would say "...from where these people are moving to", but yes, your variation is better. The DirCon lessons need serious work, and especially DirCon3 is currently not being worked on, while most other lessons do get translations added. It's a bit curious.
I will take a break as these sentences are in need of a massive overhaul. The wording in this lesson is often far too arbritrary and tedious to decipher. Back to French and Spanish for a week or two. Sziasztok haverok. De ez tul sok!
Here only "from the place to which" is accepted. Just a few sentences before " from the place to which" was rejected. They wanted only " from where"
Is it wrong to translate : the airplane is flying here from where these people are moving to"?