Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hungarian cases

Ok, Hungarian cases

Here's a video about remembering the Czech case endings

Here's what Benny has to say about Czech cases:

"When I was told that there were 7 cases for each word with a different option for singular and plural, I was worried that I would have to learn 14 “words” for each individual word. This is not the case. All we need to do is change the end of the word. It does take a bit of getting used to that you have to remember if you are changing that last o to an a and which case to use etc. but if you do enough exercises... This is something that you can get used to! In fact, it soon becomes quite natural!"

and this is what he has to say about Hungarian cases:

"One of the first things you will hear when someone is describing Hungarian to you is that it has “over twenty cases” (exact number depends on the source). This is pure hogwash. [Noun case] is just a fancy name for “the preposition gets attached to the end of the word”. So while in Czech, any case requires you to know (or at least extrapolate) up to fourteen possible combinations per word (which luckily follow patterns) for each case, Hungarian just has two or three, which are almost always totally obvious.

You could call it the “dative”, but it’s actually the “to/for”... Hungarian you just add “-nek” or “-nak” to the end. Which one you use only depends on the vowels in the word.

So Csillának adtam egy könyvet is I gave a book to Csilla. “In” Budapest is written as Budapesten. These “cases” don’t influence articles or adjectives and are a short list to learn, which you’d have to learn anyway in other languages as prepositions.

It takes some getting used to when you attach them to the end of the word rather than the beginning, and the only other trick is that if you use a demonstrative (“this” or “that”) it also gets attached to the word this/that. But that’s about it!"

"There is a terminology problem with Western approaches to Hungarian grammar. There are actually only three cases in Hungarian--nominative, accusative, and possessive. All the other things which some old-fashioned grammarians call "cases" are not cases at all but suffixed postpositions. For example, let's look at the noun kutya 'dog'. The nominative is kutya, the accusative is kutyát, and the first person singular possessive is kutyám. These are the three cases.

There are quite a few suffixed postpositions. For example, kutyában 'in the dog', kutyából 'out of the dog', kutyába 'into the dog', kutyán 'on the dog', kutyára 'onto the dog', kutyáról 'off of the dog', kutyának 'to the dog', kutyánál 'at the dog', kutyához 'toward the dog', kutyától 'away from the dog', etc. These are the things that old-fashioned grammars called "cases"."


Hungarian reference gives this list of cases/postpositions
-t - accusative - direct object of verbs
-nak/nek- dative - indirect object of verbs (for, to)
-ba/be- illative - into, to
-ban/ben - inessive - in, inside
-ból/ből - elative - out of, from
-hoz/hez/höz - allative - towards, to
-nál/nél - adessive - at, by
-tól/től - ablative - away from
-ra/re- sublative - onto, to
-n- superessive - on, in
-ról/ről - delative - from, from off; about
-val/vel - instrumental - with
-ért - causal-final - for, because of
-ig - terminative - until
-kor - temporal - age, -time, -hood, era
-vá/vé - translative - turning into
-féle - kinds of

I find it easier to understand the meaning of prepositions and cases when I go through another language I know, like Finnish, my mother tongue, or English.

I have also noticed that my husband finds it easier to learn the cases if he understand the Latin grammar names, because that explains when the case is being used, and gives him some help in translating the case to concepts he understands.
So -

* Nominative is "nominating" - naming. It's the "name" of the word, the basic form, the one mentioned in every dictionary.

* Accusative
is "accusing" - pointing to the origin or cause.
Accusative is the case of object.

"I pick an apple"

The apple is the object and would therefore be in accusative case in languages that has accusative case.

* Dative is "dating" - a little like accusative, as it indicates the indirect object of a verb.
I think it's easy to remember from German "für mich" - or in English "to me". When ever you would use "me" if I was the person, "indirect object" of the action - "He gave the apple to me" - you use dative.

* Genitive comes from the Latin word for "to beget" - like genes, genetic and gender. It "marks a noun as modifying another noun". Usually it is used to mark possession, but there are other uses for it too, expressed with the preposition "of" in English.
(doomsday (doom's day) - day of doom)

* Possessive is not really a noun case, but as English doesn't use genitive in any other way than to express possession, it is named possessive when speaking of English.  It's one of the few postpositions in English that are written together with the word. The ' here is not replacing part of another word like in it is -> it's but it's a case ending that has morphed. It used to be -es. , but a possessive suffix: apple's - John's

but again it shows very clearly in personal pronouns:
adjective possessive - noun possessive
my - mine
thy - thine
his/her - his/hers
our - ours
your - yours
their - theirs
this remains in words like it -> its and who/whom, which -> whose

* Vocative is a funny case. It expresses that you are talking to someone :-D
Compare "I don't know, John" and "I don't know John".
In first sentence, John would be in vocative in languages that uses vocative, in the second sentence it would be in Accusative.

* Locative

- Lative is a case which indicated motion to a location. It doesn't have anything to do with latent, but with la, which in Latin is to carry, to lift, to bring.
- Separative is a case which indicates motion from a location. In most languages the name ablative is used.

- Ablative - out of, from (ab-lative)
- Allative is the generally used term for lative case. - onto (ad-lative) indicating the target place of movement onto something
- Illative - into (in-lative) indicating the target place of movement into something
- Elative - out of (ex-lative, indicated the origin place of being carried or brought out of something)
- Sublative - under, below, onto, to (sub-lative) indicating the target place under surface, in Hungarian "under surface" is more freely interpreted
- Delative - from, from off; about (de-lative, indicating the origin place of something being removed

- Adessive - on (ad-essive, indicates the state of being on or at something or someone.)
- Inessive - in (in-essive, indicates the state of existing, being inside something)
- Superessive (super-essive) indicates location on top of, or on the surface of something (super - over, above, on top)

* Essive indicates the state of being, existing - "when being an X", "as an X". In Finnish you can use this as locative as well, for example 'kotona' is the essive of koti, home, and when I say "minä olen kotona" I don't mean I am being a home, but that I am at home.

* Translative (trans-lative) indicates a change in state of a noun (becoming X, changing to X, turning into X)

The ending is -vá / -vé after a vowel; assimilating to the final consonsant otherwise:
Lót felesége sóvá változott - "Lot's wife turned into salt"
fiává fogad "adopt to be one's son"
bolonddá tett engem "He made a fool out of me."

* Instrumental or instructive
indicates the noun being the instrument of doing, by which means, with what

* Commitative - comes from the Latin word comitātus "to escort, to accompany" (com-), but I have always thought of German "komm mitt" come with :-D
- when someone does something with someone - with his wife, with a hammer

* causal-final case expresses the meaning "for the purpose of, for the reason that"
It is formed by adding the ending suffix -ért to the end of the noun:
kenyér "bread" >kenyérért
elküldtem a boltba kenyérért - "I sent him to the store for bread"

* Terminative case is a case specifying limits of time and space - until, for, as long as, within...

The Hungarian language uses the '-ig' suffix.

a házig: "as far as the house"
hat óráig / hatig: "until six o'clock" or "for six hours" / "six hours long"
száz évig: "for a hundred years"

It is not always clear whether the thing in terminative case belongs to the interval in question or not.

A koncertig maradtam.: "I stayed until the concert (ended or started?)"
Mondj egy számot 1-től 10-ig!: "Say a number from 1 to 10."

* temporal case expresses time, age, era

In Hungarian language its suffix is -kor.

hétkor "at seven"
hét órakor "at seven o'clock"
éjfélkor "at midnight"
karácsonykor "at Christmas"

This is one of the few suffixes in Hungarian to which rules of vowel harmony do not apply - it's always -kor.

* Partitive case (from partitivus, the same root as party, part,
denotes "partialness", "without result", or "without specific identity". It is also used in contexts where a subgroup is selected from a larger group, or with numbers.

More about Hungarian noun cases and postpositions

1 comment:

  1. Check out the grammatical cases in Hungarian on my blog:::