1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Hungarian
  4. >
  5. "A postás Tóthéktól megy Szab…

"A postás Tóthéktól megy Szabóékhoz."

Translation:The postal worker goes from the Tóths to the Szabós.

October 11, 2016

14 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arcaeca

Interestingly, the Hungarian sentence refers to the families simply as plural nouns, but adds in "family" in the English sentence even though it's equally valid to refer to families as plural nouns in English: "The mailman goes from the Toths to the Szabos."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vvsey

It is not exactly plural nouns in Hungarian, it means "XYZ and company". When talking about a family, it means the family.
The true plural would be "Tóthok" and "Szabók". But that is not used to refer to families.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Krisbaudi

Does it mean, that it should be Toths and Szabos (like in German)? I wrote that too and it was marked wrong. But I cannot understand the meaning of your answer to Arcaeca. In German it means, that somebody is coming/going from/to the living place of somebody. (couple or bigger families) They don't have to be at home, like in the case of the postman.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vvsey

What I was trying to say is that the plural of "Tóth" is "Tóthok" and the plural of "Szabó" is "Szabók". As you can see above, it is not the plural form that is used. Instead, an "-ék" suffix is added. "TóthÉK" and "SzabóÉK". This suffix is always "-ék". When used with a family name, it usually refers to a family. In general, it can refer to any group of people, identified by one named person. For example, if I look out the window and see you coming with a group of your friends, I can say "Jönnek KrisbaudiÉK". It does not need to be your family.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

I currently find it very interesting that the names retain their back-vowel harmony despite the high-vowel grouping suffix there. :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vvsey

OK, I have to ask: what do you mean by that? :) That further added suffixes would also be back-vowel ones? But that is also the general rule for mixed-vowel words, especially when the vowel "é" is involved. So that is nothing special or exclusive to names. But still very interesting, I agree. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

Yes, I meant just what you say. And there we are again with the mixed-vowel things. And é. It doesn't come as a surprise, yeah, but it's the first time I encounter an é suffix as a non-rag suffix. So I didn't witness that kind of interaction before.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vvsey

Yes, it is probaby a first among those. As a "non-rag" I think it is a "képző". Or maybe a "jel", "többesjel", a specialized form of the plural "-k".
So, how about "Szabóékért"? For the Szabó's?
But of course you know that is a trick question. :)

You can also consider the "possessed" suffixes "-i" and "-ik". They will not change the harmony, either.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

I thought a bit about it, and -ék is most definitely a jel. You surely can construct something like a barátnőmék - my girlfriend and company, which wouldn't be possible with a képző.
In fact, it probably isn't even a separate suffix, but a mashup of the possessor -é and the plural -k, as in "those that belong to Tóth". Think so, too?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vvsey

That is an interesting idea. And it may just be true. No, I mean it is a separate suffix, but it may have originated from those two suffixes. It is hard to find something definitive on this topic, but one archaic text I just found seems to be suggesting the same. In "Nyelvtudományi pályamunkák", volume 1, by Pál Csató, he suggests that there is some possessiveness involved. This work is nearly 200 years old and archaic.
I just found another work specifically discussing this suffix. It is interesting.
"A heterogén többes szám" by Ákos Szolcsányi.
http://www.c3.hu/~nyelvor/period/1314/131406.pdf
There is a small summary at the end of the pdf, in English.

What I see from all this is that there is no definitive answer to the origin of "-ék", the "többesjel". But it is definitely a very interesting one.

Btw, the "-ék" suffix is "overloaded": it has at least one other use that is completely different from the above. And I think we can call this use a "képző". Just a few examples:
"Marad" (stay, remain) + "ék" - "maradék" (remainder).
Others are: festék, boríték, hasadék, származék, etc. These are typically derived from verbs.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Krisbaudi

I followed the whole interesting ék discussion and the links. Thank you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndrewTiho1

The same is in Russian, Ukrainian , etc.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arcaeca

Also, I wrote "mailman" in my answer and it was accepted! Finally!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/clairelanc3

My only mistake : I said " the postal clerk" because DL often rejects such words as postman or poli ceman...

Learn Hungarian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.