"Zsuzsa kocsmája zárva van, de az üzlete nyitva."

Translation:Zsuzsa's pub is closed, but her store is open.

June 4, 2017

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As I understand it, there are two ways to say "Zsuzsa's pub":

Zsuzsa kocsmája Zsuzsanak a kocsmája

If you add an article before the owned object, then you need the dative ending on the owner's name.

In this case, there is no article and no dative. But in the second part of the sentence, there is an article. Doesn't that conflict with the lack of the dative? If not, what is the rule that makes the two compatible?


Excellent observation!
Well, you see, in the second part of the sentence, we do not have a possessor. That is when the article comes in. In "Zsuzsa kocsmája", "Zsuzsa" makes it kind of definite. We are talking about a specific pub. When we omit the possessor, we replace it with a definite artice, to keep the definite sense going.

The full version, "Zsuzsának a kocsmája", takes this even further. We are allowed to break up this structure, insert stuff in the middle, and keep both the definite sense and the possessive relationship alive:

"Zsuzsának Budapesten, a Duna mellett van a kocsmája." - Zsuzsa's pub is in Budapest, next to the Danube.


So the possessor in the first part of the sentence doesn't "count" any more in the second part? Even though "üzlete" is a possessive form? Or is that not the issue? I'm not sure why making it definite is important - could a misunderstanding result without it? Is it that the listener might think that "üzlete" is referring to someone else's store? I know grammar rules don't always have a logical explanation, in which case you just have to accept it, but if there is one here, I'm curious what it is.


No, it is not like that. The possessor still "counts", that is why it is indeed not there in the second part (there is no "ő"). But the definite article is kind of part of the possessive structure, therefore it remains.
I am still trying to formulate an actual "rule" in my head, but maybe we can get by without one. The thing is, the simple "my whatever", "your whatever" structure does have a definite article in Hungarian. So the question is not as much "Why is it there?" but rather ("hanem") "Why is it not there when it is not there?".

"my car" - "az én autóm" / "az autóm"
"your car" - "a te autód" / "az autód"
"his/her car" - "az ő autója" / "az autója"
"our car" - "a mi autónk" / "az autónk"
"your car" - "a ti autótok" / "az autótok"
"their car" - "az ő autójuk" / "az autójuk"

So, this is the norm. The personal pronoun can be omitted, the definite article can not.

If we replace the personal pronoun as the possessor with an actual noun, English and Hungarian will come much closer. Of course, we can only do it in the third person:

"the man's car" - "a férfi autója"
"the women's car" - "a nők autója"

We could say Hungarian is just a bit more consistent in using the definite article. :)

And when we have a proper noun as the possessor, the article can disappear:

"Zsuzsa's pub" - "Zsuzsa kocsmája"

For full disclosure, Hungarian can add a definite article even here:

"Ez (a) Zsuzsa kocsmája" - let's call this a colloquial usage. Oh, but English can do it sometimes, as well, can it not? "the Queen's birthday", etc. Anyway...

Anyway, there are lots of scenarios here, which can complicate matters if we want to understand them all at once. I think I can see the "rule" now. We are specifically talking about the situation above, where the possessor is the personal pronoun:

"az ő üzlete"

In this specific case, that is, when the possessor is a personal pronoun, the definite article can not be omitted. The personal pronoun can.

Except colloquially, in some incomplete sentences, such as:
"Te bajod." - Your problem.
That is "Az a te bajod." - "That is your problem."

If, against all warnings, we still decide to omit the definite article, or replace it with an indefinite article, the situation will morph into a "have" relationship:

"Hol van a (te) kutyád?" - Where is your dog?
"Hol van kutyád?" - Where do you have dogs (or: a dog)?
"Hol van egy kutyád?" - Where do you have a dog?

"Otthon van a(z én) kutyám." - My dog is at home.
"Otthon van kutyám." - I have dogs (or: a dog) at home.
"Otthon van egy kutyám." - I have a dog at home.

Oh, and I forgot about the full version: "Zsuzsának a kocsmája". Well, maybe this is best understood if we equate it with the other possessive structure in English:

"Zsuzsa kocsmája" - "Zsuzsa's pub"
"Zsuzsának a kocsmája" - "the pub of Zsuzsa"


Köszönöm szépen - from one grammar geek to another. :)


Nagyon szivesen! Next question? :)

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