https://www.duolingo.com/vvsey

How to say "Yes" in Hungarian

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There are several ways to say "Yes" in Hungarian.

Obviously, "yes" = "igen", no need to talk more about that.

But there are other ways, along the lines of "I do", ie. when giving an affirmative answer to a question. Needless to say, talking about yes-no questions here.

It is relatively simple. When we get a question containing a verb, we can give an affirmative answer by simply repeating the verb. If the verb refers to us, then we adjust the conjugation to the first person.
The simplests case is, of course, when the verb is "van".
A few examples:

Q: "Van kutyád?" - Do you have (a) dog(s)?
A: "Van" - I do.

Q: "Hozott a postás levelet?" - Did the postman bring any letters?
A: "Hozott." - He did.

Q: "Kérsz palacsintát?" - Do you want palacsinta?
A: "Kérek." - I do.

Q: "Voltál fogorvosnál?" - Have you been to the dentist?
A: "Voltam." - I have.

Etc. We can always stick an "igen" in front of the answer, it is optional:
"Igen, van.", "Igen, hozott.", "Igen, kérek.", "Igen, voltam."

Now, the fun part is when the verb has a preverb. In that case, we can simply reply with only the preverb:

Q: "Megetted a vacsorát?" - Have you finished the dinner?
A: "Meg." - I have.

Q: "Eljössz velem moziba?" - Will you come with me to the movies?
A: "El." - Sure, I will.

Q: "Felhívsz?" - Will you call me?
A: "Fel." - Sure / I will.

Q: "Megkaptad a csomagot?" - Have you received the package?
A: "Meg." - I have.

Now, when there is no verb in the question, we can either say "Igen" or just repeat the predicate:

Q: "Piros az autód?" - Is your car red?
A: "Piros." / "Igen." / "Igen, piros."

Now I have to correct myself, because the "van" case above only applies when it is an "existential" question. That is, "Do you have..." or "Is there..."
When it is anything else, typically, a question about location, then we can answer by repeating the location:

Q: "Otthon vagy?" - Are you at home?
A: "Otthon." - Yes.

Q: "Nálad van az órám?" - Do you have my watch?
A: "Nálam." - I do.

Q: "Kint van a kutya?" - Is the dog outside?
A: "Kint." - Yes.

There are probably several more interesting ways of giving an affirmative answer, but these are what came to my mind just now. Feel free to add any others you know or encounter.

Oh, we can, quite informally, reinforce our positive answer, by adding a "hát" at the end:

Q: "Eljössz velem moziba?" - Will you come to the movies with me?
A: "El hát!" - But of course I will!

Q: "Megetted a vacsorát?" - Have you finished the dinner?
A: "Meg hát." - Of course I have.

More advanced learners can also stick "Naná, hogy ..." at the beginning of their answer:

Q: "Kérsz sört?" - Do you want beer?
A: "Naná, hogy kérek!" - Of course I do. I definitely do.

This is, coincidentally, how Rain Man talked in the Hungarian dubbed version:
"Definitely not." - "Naná, hogy nem."

Note: there is not much use trying to find out what "naná" or "hát" means. They may have an actual meaning, or they may not. Nobody really cares.

10 months ago

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Martybet
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Who are you vvsey? You have been a great help to many people as we struggle through the Duolingo Hungarian course. Are you a Hungarian/English language teacher? Thanks anyway

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vvsey
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No, not a teacher at all. Just a concerned individual. :)
Thank you for the kind words, I am very happy if my comments are of any help.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/weitzhandler

You're worth a ton more, but I gave you two lingots. You're amazing, thanks for sharing!

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HirundoPrima
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And then there is "persze".

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Apu56
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One of my favorites.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HirundoPrima
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Jó látni, hogy nem én vagyok az egyetlen, aki a magyar zászlós aranybaglyot használja profilképnek.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Én is. :)

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vvsey
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I wonder if this "persze" has any relation to the Latin "per se". "Per se" is used in English meaning something like "in and of itself". "Persze" in Hungarian means "of course". I don't know the original Latin meaning, but such a deviation would not be impossible.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Interesting. After all, Magyar has a lot of loan words from multiple languages including Turkish and German and the Romans were in the Hungary marveling at the thermal waters in the Buda area in the first century BCE - calling it Aquincum.

Latin "per se" translates to "by itself" or "in itself" and is mostly used as a legal term, such as " Negligence per se, may not be prosecutable unless it is criminal negligence."

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Abo50
Plus
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Colloquial:

  • Kérsz egy kortyot?
  • Aha. Kösz.

  • Gyere már!

  • Jó, jövök!
10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jzsuzsi
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Wait, my joke got deleted?

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vvsey
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Hmmm... that is creepy. Well, it may have been considered inappropriate but, still, some kind of notification would be... civilised.
Btw, I do get emails on new comments added to some discussions and sometimes I go there and the comment is nowhere to be found. It happened more than once recently. Hopefully it is just some glitch in the system, to be fixed very soon.
Course contributors do have the means to delete comments in sentence discussions, maybe they also do in these sentence-independent ones.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Did you give vvsey a lingot after posting your response? That is a bug that I have found which can delete the post prior to giving the lingot. I have reported it long ago. Too bad. Try again?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vvsey
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I think it was a whole branch that got deleted. Course contributors can police the discussions if they want to. I have seen heavy use of that power in other courses. This joke is somewhat inappropriate, so maybe that is what happened.
Btw, you should not give lingots or up/down vote anything WHILE you are writing your comment. Such an action will likely refresh the page and your comment will be lost. Is that what happened to you?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I suppose so. I finished the comment and perhaps the post was not completely recorded at DUO when I clicked on the Lingot

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kara.tahta
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The first one is very similar to Turkish.

Van kutyád? = Köpeğin var mı?

Van. = Var.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vvsey
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Yes, there are several similarities between Turkish and Hungarian.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

Vvsey, thank you for your generosity in explaining more than we get here at DUO.

I would say that the Magyar "naná" and "hát" are filler words. "hat" can translate as "well" similar to "also" in German. This is spelled the same as English "also" but the English word means "too" and is not used as a filler

Lately many people in America start answers to a question with "So" - a filler word related to the German "also," (but in German it is closer to "hát")

"Naná" is a little different, a stronger agreement than "igen" like in your example with "Kérsz sört?" "You bet!"

Some other American English filler words are: um, er, like, you know ....

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vvsey
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Zsuzsi97194, you are right, "hát" is a filler word, or shall we say a multi-purpose word. It can mean so many things that it is difficult to translate. It can mean "well", "so", "in that case", "you bet" (that was a good one, thanks!) and so many others. Here is a great link with a list of possible meanings:
https://wikiszotar.hu/ertelmezo-szotar/H%C3%A1t

Yes, "hát" can also mean "you bet", just like "naná".

"Naná, hogy kérek!" is more or less equal to "Kérek hát!"

But this is only one possible use of "hát", whereas it is the main (or only) one of "naná".

I think the best way to deal with words like these is to observe how and where they are used and not worry too much about what they mean. Probably every language has them, we can't really explain them, we could live without them, yet they play an important role in the language.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zsuzsi97194

I don’t think one could be a spy in a non-native country if one didn’t know to use learn use filler words, idioms and shared cultural knowledge. :)

8 months ago
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