"Do you jump here or there?"

Translation:Ide ugrasz vagy oda?

2 years ago



Is "ugrik" just a very irregular verb? I expected "ugrol" since it's an -ik verb. Also, the 3rd person plural is "ugranak," but the 2nd person plural is "ugrotok." Why are there different linking vowels? I guess "why" is the wrong word here, I'm sure there's no answer. A better question might be, is there a history behind this? Are there other verbs that do this?

2 years ago


Ugrik is mostly regular, but I know with all the moving parts of hungarian conjugation, it's hard to see. Let's look closely:

  1. Is there a definite object? No, so we use indefinite conjugation.
  2. Is it an -ik verb? Yes, and we are not in 1st and 3rd person singular, so we remove the -ik
  3. Does it end in a "hiss" sound (eg. -s,-sz,-z,-dz)? No, so we apply the -sz ending instead of the -ol ending in 2nd person singular.
  4. Ugrnak and ugrtok are missing vowel sounds in grn and grt, to pronounce with r. This is a little irregular, because usually there's not a missing vowel. But you cannot pronounce a consonant by itself, and hungarian being very phonetic, you have to write which vowel you insert.

The sound needs to "harmonize" with the rest of the word, and in this case we take it from the ending. Why? Maybe a native speaker can explain #4 better than I can.

To expand on #3: only s type endings get the conjugation -ol: te olvasol = you read. Because otherwise it would be te olvassz. It has nothing to do with -ik ending.

2 years ago


Thank you for such a detailed response. I do know a lot of the things you mentioned, but I forgot that you only use -ol/-el for you-singular when there's a hissy sound at the end of the stem.

You said that if it's neither the 1st or 3rd person singular, you remove the -ik ending. Don't you also do that for 1st person? In fact, don't you remove it for all of the conjugations except 3rd-person singular?

What I was asking about regarding ugranak and ugrotok was, why is the linking vowel an 'a' for 3rd-plural, and an 'o' for you-plural? Vowel harmony alone wouldn't seem to explain that, because a's and o's are both back vowels, so they would go with other back vowels, including each other. Maybe other verbs do this, too, and I just haven't noticed. I think this is the first time I've seen "ugrotok," but I've seen "ugranak" a lot in this course, so I was surprised that the you-plural form wasn't "ugratok."

2 years ago


Vowel harmony, unfortunately, is more complex than the front word/back word simplification we're all taught initially. I hope some native speaker can come and clarify, but here is what I think:

The clearest distinction between vowels, here, is front/back, but vowels also have roundedness and open/closedness (these are all references to the position of the lips and tongue), and vowel harmony is all about compatibility among these.

u is closed and o is middle, whereas a is open (remember: the dentist makes you go aaaaah), and so closed-middle-middle is somewhat "more natural" than closed-open-middle - particularly for a short word.

Now, is this the reason why we say ugrotok vs ugranak? I don't know. But it makes sense in my mind, because other suffixes sometimes require similar choice of vowel sound (see: the accusative suffixes -t, -at, -ot, -et, -öt and also the possessives -atok, -otok, locatives -ott and -att, ordinals -adik and -odik)

But, open/closed harmony is not anywhere as strict as front/back harmony, which is why it's not taught as a rule. (also it's very difficult to apply: see hatot, nyolcat, nyolcadik instead of hatat, nyolcot, nyolcodik) Actually it is not even a rule at all. Even roundedness is more important than open/closed.

So linking vowel is usually considered an irregularity, something to be memorized. Still, I think it is a good "rule of thumb" to use, if you would otherwise have to guess what the linking vowel is. The principle is, if I have to create some linking vowel from nowhere, might as well make it flow into the suffix.

Even then, o is usually the safer back vowel to use as a linking vowel.

I am probably mostly wrong about this theory, though. :)

Let's just say that ugrik is irregular then, because a linking vowel in front of -tok and -nak is so rarely needed.

Also, I was referring to the fact that -ik verbs have a different 1st person singular conjugation than otherwise - but you're right that you remove the -ik in that case as well (I could have phrased that better)

Actually, it seems like ugrik might also be irregular in the sense that the 1st person singular is ugrok (and ugrom is reserved for definite conjugation; called a pseudo-ik verb) along with having variant forms ugortok and ugornak. So you might be right about ugrik being rather irregular, in the end, even though it is not on "the list" of irregular verbs.

2 years ago

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Wow, this is a great conversation! And great job, both of you.
But let me introduce an alternative explanation, for the "ugrotok" vs. "ugratok" debate.
There is another possibillity here: that the other form is already taken. It is used for something else already. :)

Yes, "ugratok" is also a valid word. But it is the first person singular indefinite of "ugratni". "Ugratni" means "to make sg/sy jump". I can make my horse jump, I can jump up the curb with my bicycle, etc. It can be used both transitively and intransitively. It is also the idiomatic verb for pulling someone's leg.
So, "ugratok" is taken. Sorry. :)

Let's see if there are similar verbs. I am looking for "-ik" verbs with two consonants between the syllables. We need the two consonants, otherwise there would be no connecting vowel. A few verbs come to mind: "játszik", "botlik", "kotlik", ... wow, it is not easy to come up with a good example.
Anyway, the suffix "-at"/"-tat"/"-et"/"-tet" is taken for another role. It is the "műveltető képző". That is, it creates another verb that will make the other person do the action. That is the causative. For example:
"csinálni" - to do
"csinálTATni" - to make (sy) do
So, that is why the "a" sound is not good for a connecting sound, and "o" is preferred.
"játszani" - to play
"játszotok" - you (plural) play
"játszatok" - I make (sy) play

There is still, and also, a lot of irregularity at play here, which I would rather not go into because it would take a whole book. But "ugrik", I guess, can still be considered somewhat irregular. For one thing, it exists in two versions: "ugrani" and "ugorni". Different forms are used in different situations/persons/etc. For example, in the imperative, you would say "ugorj".
There are a few verbs like that. "Feküdni" comes to mind immediately.
Én fekszem, te fekszel, ő fekszik, etc. But you can say any of "fekszenek", "feküszek", "feküdnek" for the third person plural (and other persons, too, this is just an example). And the imperative is "feküdj". There are several similar verbs.

For "ugrol", well, that is wrong, but I have heard people say it. "Ugrol" and "játszasz", brrrr... but they do exist in the spoken language. Let's call them dialectal. Not recommended!

Also, the first person singular could be both "ugrom" and "ugrok". Neither sound too bad.

Was there anything else that needed answering?

2 years ago
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