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  5. "What is the Hungarian langua…

"What is the Hungarian language like?"

Translation:Millainen kieli unkari on?

June 25, 2020



Why does kieli go before unkari?


Because the literal translation of the Finnish sentence is "What kind of language Hungarian is?". So millainen and kieli belong together here.

Another possibility for translating the English into Finnish would be "Millainen unkarin kieli on?". I think this is actually slightly closer to the English than the given translation.


I tried your latter suggestion and it wasn't accepted


I thought so, based on other examples of the use of millainen on this very course.


Is it necessary here to specify "kieli unkari"? I was under the assumption "unkari" meant "the Hungarian language" and so "Millainen unkari on" would ask what the Hungarian language is like. Maybe that asks what Hungary is like?


Millainen Unkari on? means What is Hungary like?

Millainen unkari on? means What is Hungarian like?

But as you can see, there is no difference between these two when spoken. So unless you are having a discussion strictly about countries or strictly about languages and it is crystal clear to your discussion partner which one you mean, you need to specify "kieli" or "maa" in your question.

As always with Duolingo's context free sentences, it's good to try to stick to whatever translation is close to the original. So since the English here specifies language, that's another reason not to drop the word kieli.


I can see your point, but the fact that Duolingo includes a lot of sample phrases like "Suomi, suomi, suomalainen"/"Finland, the Finnish language, a Finnish person" does confuse the matter from a Duolingo user's perspective. Especially as Finnish generally likes to discard redundant words.


If you were talking about the language, you could use the partitive.

Millaista unkari on?


It's inconsistent. "Korea" translates to 'the korean language' earlier in lesson 2, and so does "Miksi Suomi" translate to 'Why the Finnish language". This kieli unkari / unkari kieli is an anomaly and it caught me by surprise too.


"Maybe that asks what Hungary is like?" - yes, I think so. Though I'm just a student of Finnish too so hopefully a native speaker sees this and enlightens us.


@cjohnson: I think the answer clearly is No. First, look at the English sentence, and then consider your question: "What is the Hungarian like?" Wouldn't that always imply to refer to a person? And second, "millainen" clearly inquires about a noun, like "kieli" clearly is. But "unkari" isn't a noun, nor is "Hungarian." (Sept 2020)


The hints for this sentence are confusing as (insert appropriate expletive). The English sentence to be translated is "what is the Hungarian language like?" The Finnish answer is more properly rendered, "what kind of language is Hungarian."


Doesn't the finnish sentence mean rather : what kind of language is Hungarian?

  • 1896

It does. Very vexing.


Kieli shouldn't be in the answer at all. The translation of "hungarian language" is unkari


No, in finnish you need to specify that you are talking about the language by adding "kieli".

If I said: "unkari on kaunis" I'm saying: "hungary is beautiful", but if I want to talk about the language I say: "unkari on kaunis kieli". The word is same for the language and for the country itself.


However, you can say for example "Englanti on vaikeaa" which means English (language) is hard, even without the word kieli.


Ah, you are right there. If I wanted to say hungarian is beautiful language, I'd say: "Unkari on kaunista".

Unkari on kaunis = Hungary is beautiful

Unkari on kaunista = Hungarian is beautiful.

Learning finnish really is a pain in the butt, ain't it? :D


That is actually very interesting. Can you clarify what the -ta ending does?


I'm not too good on finnish grammar (I'm just a native speaker :D), but I believe this is a partitive case for atelic verb. I hope someone with deeper knowledge can come and confirm this and elaborate. Partitive case is very unique characteristic for finnish and isn't really found in any other than finnic languages.


Yes, but French has partitive articles everywhere.

I think this makes a lot of sense because Hungary is countable, but Hungarian is not. Thanks!


It's just a variant of the partitive case. Some words have a -tA ending instead of -A, some have both (in which case using one or the other creates a certain nuance, e.g often -tA sounds more rural and old-fashioned).

musta, pirtelö, sinä - mustaa, pirtelöä, sinua

kaunis, hän - kaunista, häntä

valkoinen, hevonen - valkoista, hevosta

komea - komeaa/komeata

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