"A fiatal lányok a füvön fekszenek."

Translation:The young girls are lying on the grass.

October 30, 2016

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Would "little girls" in place of "young" make sense? I know that "little" usually carries the context of small in size, but occasionally within English it also conveys "little" in terms of age. Thanks!


Hungarian has the same option; you can say kis lány (or write it as a compound word, kislány) and it corresponds just about exactly to "little girl" in English. Since that corresponds so well to "little girl", I would usually prefer to translate fiatal lány as directly as possible, with "young girl".


Thanks for clarifying!


Is there an important enough distinction between "on the grass" and "in the grass" that "in the grass" should be marked wrong? Or should I report it?


I (American English) would say that lying 'on' the grass is standard. I would reserve 'in' the grass for something like 'The duck hunters hid themselves in the grass along the shore'.

In other words, the grass has to be tall enough (magas!) to cover you before I'd use 'in'.


Calling these suffixes "cases" is unnecessarily scary. Cases are for Indo-European languages, and are far more complicate than these, but Hungarian belongs to another family.

In Hungarian, PREpositions are attached after the words, instead of before, therefore they could be called POST-POSITIONS (or "postposition suffixes"). That is all.

Using Latin expressions to describe these post-positions just makes thing sound more difficult. It also feels a bit weird to me, since Hungarian is completely unrelated to Latin.

"Inessive" comes from "in esse", Latin for "to be in". "Superessive" comes from "super esse", Latin for "to be on". "Adessive" comes from "ad esse", Latin for "to be next to".


Well, you've got to call them something in English. I suppose Hungarian has its own terminology not based on Latin.

Regarding the difference between postpositions and (postpositional) suffixes: Is it just a spelling convention that distinguishes one from the other? That is, the former are written as separate words, whereas the latter are attached as suffixes. In the spoken language, there would not seem to be much difference between the two.

Or is there some basic grammatical difference? If not, why is a distinction made?


We agree on that: the only difference between postpositions and postposition suffixes is that the suffixes are attached (I confirmed with my wife, who is Hungarian).

My point is: there is a basic grammatical difference between Hungarian postposition suffixes and cases in Indo-European languages. My knowledge of case-based languages is limited to Latin, ancient Greek, German and a bit of Czech. May I ask you about Swedish? It should be close to German.


There is one more consequence to the difference between suffixes (attached) and postpositions (separate): suffixes generally come in different flavours and have to follow the vowel harmony of the parent word. Postpositions always stay the same.

And there's no need (it's even wrong) to call them "postpositional suffixes". Suffixes always attach to the end of the word. Postpositions come after.


Perhaps calling them "positional suffixes" is appropriate, but I am not sure if all those "rag" suffixes are related to position, per se,


A case in linguistics is when a noun takes a certain grammatical function in the sentence. When a noun is the one acted upon by a verb, like in "I see a dog", here "dog" is in the accusative case, even in English. English does not mark accusative on nouns. But Polish and Hungarian does. Polish: "pies"→"psa", Hungarian: "kutya"→"kutyát". Both are accusative, and I don't see why Hungarian would be called anything different.

Similarly, "I gave the dog some food", here "dog" is in the dative case, even in English. English does not mark dative on nouns. But Polish and Hungarian does. Polish: "pies"→"psu", Hungarian: "kutya"→"kutyának".

You're just getting worked up about some linguistical terms. These terms does not determine the complexity of the language. As said, English also has accusative and dative, it just goes unmarked. As someone interested in languages, I prefer when terms are consistent, and doesn't change. A noun is always a noun regardless of language, and you're not going to call it a "substantive" just because it's German, and say that "German nouns are more complex than English nouns, so using 'noun' is giving a false sense of simplicity".

The neutral term for preposition is "adposition".

Also, "case" works the best for Hungarian, since your idea of "postpositional suffix" ignores accusative, dative and some more. So you'll still have to use "case" for these forms, which already covers all the postpositional suffixes, so just call them all cases.

Don't have this idea that cases must mean it's complicated. Don't add things to a word that does not have that meaning, and don't tell other people that languages with cases must have complicated noun forms. This is not true.


Does fekszik here mean they are going to sleep or just plain lying down (or both)?


There's nothing about sleeping in the Hungarian sentence we are given here.

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