1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Hungarian
  4. >
  5. "Azoknak a madaraknak hosszú …

"Azoknak a madaraknak hosszú és színes tolluk van."

Translation:Those birds have long and colorful feathers.

October 22, 2016

16 Comments


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

So toll means feather... which became quill... which became pen - right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bastette54

I wish I'd thought of that! I wrote that those birds had a long and colorful pen. I was thinking maybe they found it on the ground and were playing with it like a toy. If birds even do that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Patricia460976

Just like in Spanish, "pluma" is one of the words for pen.


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

What's even better, some languages make a distinction between fountain pens and ballpoint pens.


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

This is cruel! All these exercises drilling "toll" as "pen" and then you hit us with the original sense of the word! Well played. I'll probably remember this now. ;)

(In addition, I hadn't realised 'til now that the Latin root of "pen" also means feather.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bastette54

I'm confused about the word "tolluk." Is this a plural form? I've seen -ok, -ek, -ök, and -ak as plural endings, but I've never seen -uk (unless the singular word ends in 'u'). Or is it possessive for third-person plural? Or a combination of the two? I thought multiple third-person owners of multiple objects had endings like -aim or -eim?


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

It's the ending for singular items owned by a third person plural. As in "those birds have long and colorful feather". See here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17593757

If it were multiple feathers, it would be tollaik.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bastette54

So this is saying that each bird has only one colorful feather? Or are you using the word "feather" as an uncountable plural? I've never heard that word used that way in English, but maybe "toll" is used that way in Hungarian?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

I doubt that the Hungarian means that each bird has only one long and colorful feather. Rather, I suspect, this is yet another example of Hungarian using a singular object where English would use a plural object.


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

When there's no article or numeral given, a singular noun can be interpreted as one or many. :)

Here you can think of toll like "fur" or "hair" in English. A mass noun describing an animal's hide. Or how about "plumage"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GyrgyFnyes1

Akkor azt kellene fordíttatni: "Azoknak a madaraknak hosszú és színes tollaik vannak."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

In this exercise, we are given the Hungarian first, so there is no question of "translating" from English into Hungarian.

In any case, as to why singular rather than plural in the Hungarian ("tolluk" rather than "tollaik"), see RyagonIV's comments elsewhere on this page.


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

Yes, why not vannak?


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

The subject in this sentence, tolluk, is a singular noun, so it uses van. The plural variant would be tollaik.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

Kathy, were you responding to GyrgyFnyes1's comment? He uses "vannak", but he also uses the plural form "tollaik" instead of the singular form "tolluk", which is what DL uses along with singular "van".

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