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  5. "Melyik bútorra ül a béka, a …

"Melyik bútorra ül a béka, a fotelre vagy a polcra?"

Translation:Which piece of furniture is the frog sitting down on, the armchair or the shelf?

October 1, 2016



The "down" make this sentence unnatural... better is "Which furniture does the frog sit on, the armchair or the shelf?"


But that makes it sound so static. :(


... yet it is correct!

The solution I was given is not natural, and just weird in English.


How about "Which furniture does the frog go sit on, the armchair or the shelf?"


The problem is, English scentences such as this may be an adequate representation of the Hungarian text that help us to understand Hungarian grammar and sentence structure, but it is well nigh impossible to guess the correct answer. So we have to memorize bad English in order to answer correctly.


In my experience, this is the case for just about every language. There are certain things that just don't sound right when translated literally. It's not that bad in, say, French-to-English or Spanish-to-English because there are a lot more sentences that DO translate literally and there are regular rules for sentences that don't (e.g. "qu'est-ce que" always means "what", "il y a" always means "there is", etc.) For those types of sentences duolingo usually accepts both the literal translation and the best English one, and it's not too taxing on the developers. The problem I'm seeing with Hungarian is that there are FAR MORE sentences that make improper English when translated literally, and the developers seem to be straining to incorporate all possible correct translations. The flaw, I think, is in the design of the duolingo courses themselves. The most effective way to learn Hungarian would probably be to learn the "bad English" literal translation to understand how Hungarian uses its prepositions, as well as the correct English translation to understand what the sentence is actually saying for every sentence. One translation per one sentence can't accomplish this, and with the course being incomplete at this time it really just leads to confusion.


Yeah - there's a problem since English doesn't capture the sense of motion that the Hungarian does. I think in those cases, the stilted English is better, even though it bugs me.


If they want the answer to be "sitting down" they need "le" in the Hungarian. Otherwise, there is no way to guess in the English translation if it is "sitting on" or "sitting down on".


Down could be left out, did someone ever see a frog sitting up? Movement is already implied in the continuous tense (action in course, not terminated).


Kolosz, the progressive form "is sitting" does not imply a movement. "I have been sitting here all day" does not imply a movement. If you place your butt somewhere, you'll usually say "to sit down".


Why not ül le?


Um, we just went through a whole thing about how one sits in, not on, armchairs (be, not re)


Maybe frogs can sit on armchairs although I wouldn't say that's the issue. Just as English permits flexibility about whether we sit in or on any kind of chair, so does Hungarian. Here, we're being told that it's on the armchair although there will be many instances where it's in and we'll see be rather than re.


The translation in the model answer isn't how we speak in English. We don't need piece of furniture and we don't need down. Which furniture does the frog sit on, the armchair or the shelf? That's enough and it isn't necessarily static as suggested. The act of sitting is conveyed. If we use present continuous, which furniture is the frog sitting on etc, then it's static.


From a Hungarian view, 'sit on' can mean two things. It can be a long-term static condition (German: wo, Russian: где), or a target of a movement (German: wohin, Russian: куда). Unfortunately, English language lacks a word like "to-where". If I want to be sure to express the second one, I have to use "onto", because it is exactly what I wish to say.


------- to-where ? is not "whither " ? . . .

albeit not used any more . . .

Big 12 jul 20

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