amelyik and amely

Discussion in 'Magyar (Hungarian)' started by 123xyz, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    Is there a difference between the pronouns "amelyik" and "amely" when used as relative pronouns? I think that the first one is use for non-restrictive clauses and the second for restrictive clauses, but I am not sure.

    Based on some examples on the Internet, they appear to be identical.

    Thank you in advance
  2. vesteralen27 New Member

    México Sinaloa
    español mexicano
    I think amelyik is plural, and amely is singular, but i really dont know to much about that, barely i have started to learn hungarian.
  3. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    Hi vesteralen27,

    "amelyik" is not the plural of "amely"; in Hungarian, the plural suffix is (as far as I can think now) never "-ik", but rather "-ek", "-ok", "-ak", or "-ök". The pronoun "amelyik" would have a plural form "amelyikek" and the pronoun "amely" has a plural form "amelyek". The "-ik" ending in "amelyik" is I daresay related to the ending in ordinal numbers and pronominal words like "egyik" and "másik". I would also kindly ask you not to attempt to reply if your knowledge of the topic (and Hungarian in general, though that may not be indicative for every situation) is minimal.


    What is it that you propose should be deleted? :confused:
  4. Olivier0 Senior Member

    français - France
    Amelyik is definite, amely is undefinite. This appears as definite/undefinite (aka subjective/objective) conjugation in the verb after amelyiket/amelyet.
    The reason why such -ik words, like indeed az egyik ... a másik "one ... the other one", are definite in meaning (literally "the ...") and in conjugation, is that in fact it is an old form of the 3rd. person plural personal suffix (cf. today -ük): "which of them" -> lit. "the which", "one of them" -> lit. "the one", etc.
    -- Olivier
  5. francisgranada Senior Member

    Here is an article (in Hungarian) about the todays usage/distribution of ami, amely, amelyik.
  6. francisgranada Senior Member

    In fact, today they seem (almost) identical also to me, maybe amely is a bit "bookish". In other words, the distinction that the ending -ik suggests, nowadays seems to be practically irrelevant in this case.
  7. Olivier0 Senior Member

    français - France
    Yes, the only difference given at the beginning of the article you give (which explains all the rest of the article) is that amely is a conservative literary style, ami is a neuter style, and amelyik is a casual style (fesztelen).
    Should we write ami always and ignore people telling us to use amely in writing?
    -- Olivier
  8. francisgranada Senior Member

    Hard to say, but probably not ... There are cases when amely seems to be more adequate than ami. There is an example also in the above mentioned article: Elolvasta a levelet, ami felháborított, which is not the same as Elolvasta a levelet, amely felháborított (the author of the article explains that in this case ami is not a relative pronoun, but this doesn't help too much from the practical point of view).

    But if your question is whether amely can be ignored and to use only ami and amelyik to cover all the "necessities" (regardless if in written or spoken language), then I should probably say yes:

    Elolvasta a levelet, amely felháborított >> Elolvasta a levelet, amelyik felháborított
    Ez az a ház, amelyben lakom >> Ez az a ház, amiben lakom (the house, where I live)
    Ez az a ház, amelyben lakom >> Ez az a ház, amelyikben lakom (the house in which I live, i.e. there are more houses and I live in "one" of them ...)

    (Maybe I am wrong, but for me amely today covers, at least partially, both the function of ami and amelyik)

    Another question is the stylistical aspect. The word amely simply exists, even if "overused" by journalists etc..., so it's hard to ignore it (whatever be the etymology/history of it). Thus, in the written form, somehow, amely seems to be preferable (more elegant?) in some cases ...

    (we could probably find some analogy also in the Romance languages, e.g. in Italian: che versus il quale/cui).
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  9. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    I have read the article but I didn't quite understand everything.
    So if there two pronouns are basically identical, are these two sentences are identical in Hungarian:

    1. The glassware that he bought yesterday (not some other glassware) was shattered during the earthquake.
    2. The glassware, which he bought yesterday (additional explanation of the glassware), was shattered during the earthquake.

    Would I use "amelyiket" to translate both sentences? Since you provided the example "ez az a ház, amiben lakom" as different from the example "ez az a ház, amelyikben lakom", the first providing additional information about the house and the second one specifying which house exactly, i.e. the first being non-restrictive and the second restrictive (if I understood correctly), is this difference conveyed using "ami" versus "amelyik"? Would I use "amelyik" in my first example and "ami" in my second? I was under the impression that "ami", according to the standard rules, is used to refer to entire clauses or unspecificied antecedents only, although it is largely used to refer to specific inanimate antecedents as well. However, I thought the latter usage could be avoided by using "amely(ik)" only. However, if "ami" is used in contrast to "amely(ik)" to indicate restrictiveness, that could not be so.
  10. gorilla Member

    Hungarian - Hungary
    In the written standard ami is only used when referring to the whole preceding clause. In everyday speech, however, amely is not used and ami takes its role as well. Every time I write "amely", think of it as "amely (and in everyday speech ami)".

    The case with amelyik is weirder. We usually don't learn rules about it in school, and it's not something native speakers ever think about (in contrast to amely vs. ami, which is often discussed and sometimes even leads to hypercorrection).
    The distinction is not like in English (restricting vs. adding more information). Generally amelyik emphasizes that there is a fixed collection of objects and one is considered among those. But "amelyik" can sometimes also be used as a substitute for amely, so much that the verb will even be in indefinite conjugation:

    XY a címe a Muravidéki Múzeum legújabb kiállításának, amelyiket ma este hatkor nyitnak meg (instead of nyitják) - XY is the title of Museum of Prekmurje's newest exhibition, which will be opened today at 6.
    Many such examples exist: amelyiket ma hozott, amelyiket nekem készítettek, amelyiket ma ...-nak nevezünk... For more about this indefinite/definite confusion, see (I found that indefinite conjugation only happens if there are words separating the amelyiket and the verb.)
    This usage has the advantage that "amelyik" is not too formal (it is in everyday use) but not too colloquial either (no fear of being corrected by some smart guy).

    There is also another complication: Mostly if another kind of intention or emphasis is used then the word order also changes. So they will not only differ in the word amelyik/amely in the case of real difference:
    A földrengésben összetört a pohár, amit tegnap vett. (In written standard: amelyet)
    A földrengésben a három pohár közül az tört össze, amelyiket tegnap vette. - Out of the three glasses, the one that shattered is the one that he bought yesterday.
  11. Akitlosz Senior Member

    No. The plural forms are amelyek and amelyikek.
  12. Akitlosz Senior Member

    Amelyik is definitive amely is indefinitive.

    A kocsi, amelyik piros. = The car, which one is red.
    Egy kocsi, amely piros. = A car, which is red.
  13. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    From what I understood from everyone's replies so far, it does appear that "amelyik" is non-restrictive and "amely" restrictive, even though everyone says that's not what the distinction is about :confused:.


    What do you mean by "definitive" and "indefinitive"? The former uses a definite conjugation and the latter an indefinite conjugation, but how does that affect its meaning/function? Are you saying that "amelyik" is used to refer back to antecedents which are preceded by the definite article and "amely" to antecedents which are not preceded by the definite article? If so, I wonder why no one mentioned that as being the reason before. Also, I don't think the sentence "the car, which one is red" makes sense in English.
  14. gorilla Member

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Have you read my reply? I put quite a lot of effort in it (which doesn't necessarily mean it's useful, of course).
    I try to be more precise now.

    1. I think you use the terms restrictive and non-restrictive exactly the other way around in your glassware example.
    Restrictive: I refuse to live in a tower block which was built by this company.
    Non-restrictive: I refuse to live in a tower block, which is the most popular type of housing in my city.

    2. The amely-amelyik distinction is different from the English restrictive and non-restrictive senses.
    They are orthogonal in the sense that all four combinations are possible:

    Restrictive amely (1) | Non-restrictive amely (2)
    Restrictive amelyik (3) | Non-restrictive amelyik (4)

    (Remember that amely becomes ami in colloquial speech but to keep it concise I don't always write "amely/ami".)

    Case 1: A könyv, amelyet Péter nekem adott, nagyon érdekes. = The book that Peter gave me is interesting.
    Case 2: A szomszéd ház, amely száz éve épült, rég felújításra szorul. = The neighboring house, which was build a hundred years ago, needs renovation since a long time.
    Case 3: Az a csapat nyer, amelyik több gólt lő. = That team wins which scores more goals (More freely translated in English: "The team that scores more goals wins")
    Case 4: A gepárd gyorsabb a lónál, amelyik viszont nagyobbat tud rúgni. = The cheetah is faster than the horse, which, however, can kick harder.

    3. Non-restrictive clauses are not as common in Hungarian as in English. They append additional information to the sentence that is independent of the main message. This can often be more naturally expressed by putting that thing to a different neighboring sentence (or create a new one) or to phrase it as an adjectival structure. But non-restrictive sentences also exist, as Case 2&4 above illustrate.

    4. Non-restrictive/restrictive distinction is also demonstrable in Hungarian, but this is different from the amely/amelyik distinction. (In restrictive sentences it is possible or sometimes mandatory to put "Az a ..." or "Egy olyan ..." in the place of "a" az "egy" articles. (e.g. in case 2 "Az a könyv, amelyet ..." is also possible, while "Az a szomszéd ház, amely" would mean a different thing (it would become restrictive).

    5. I try to formulate some rule of thumb:
    Amelyik makes you think of the object being among other ones of the same kind. What do I mean with this? For example comparison, referring back to some previously mentioned other thing.
    Amely does not emphasize this, it simply considers that thing it its own right, it stands alone in our mental picture.

    For example only amelyik is possible:

    Amelyik járművön van klíma, ott bekapcsolják. = On the vehicles which have air conditioning it will be turned on.
    The whole sentence is about the distinction that there are multiple kinds of vehicles: the air conditioning is turned on on theose vehicles that have it, but there are some other vehicles as well.

    Another key thing here is that the amelyik-clause can be in the beginning of the sentence. Amely is normally not used in the beginning. (Amely járművön... just sounds wrong)

    Only amely is possible (*see point 6):

    Ez olyan bűn, amelyet nem lehet elfelejteni. = This is (such) a sin that can not be forgotten.
    The key thing here is that we already have our sin by having a "this", we don't talk about choosing it out of a set of alternatives.

    Vásároltam egy cipőt 26.000 Ft-ért, amely 8 nap után tönkrement. = I bought a shoe for 26000 forints, which broke after 8 days.
    We already have the shoe, we don't contrast it to other shoes.

    But again amelyik if we go on to say:

    Utána vettem egy másikat, amelyik már tovább bírta. = Then I bought another one, which lasted longer.
    Here we already have a group for the new shoe to join, they are considered to be together with the other shoe that lasted only 8 days and we emphasize this.

    Both are possible:

    Mit tud a világ arról az országról, amely(ik)ben élsz? - What does the world know about the country, in which you live.
    There is a slight difference in the feeling, but the meaning is basically the same.

    6. Confusion alert! Try to understand the things I wrote above before proceeding.

    Amelyik can sometimes be used as a substitute for amely!
    In these cases, if the amelyik is in accusative (amelyiket), the conjugation is indefinite just like with amely. Normally amelyiket is followed by definite conjugation if used in the sense that I described above. But clearly sometimes people use amelyik in an amely-like way. az a család, amelyiket egyszer a strandon láttunk... = Like the family which we once saw on the beach.
    Milyen lehetett annak a fának az élete, amelyiket egyszer kivágtak? = How could have been the life of the tree that was once cut down?
    (Google for "amelyiket egyszer" or "amelyiket tegnap" and see many such examples)

    I suppose the reason behind this is that "amely" sounds too formal so in everyday speech people avoid it. If "ami" doesn't work, for example it's has a too inanimate feeling to be used for a family, then without better option, we find the best approximation and use "amelyik". Also amelyik has no negative connotations like "ami", so it can be used safely to avoid the too formal "amely" but at the same time avoid criticism from people who like to show off how they know Hungarian better than you and would say that ami is incorrect in that place.

    7. The meta-language analysis of natives ("please, list the types of cases when this word is better to use than that word") is not always reliable and we can lose our intuition after overanalyzing a phenomenon in our own language (an effect related to a psychological effect called semantic satiation). To combat this, I googled a lot of examples.

    8. We do not have explicit knowledge about the difference of amely and amelyik, since this is not common knowledge as opposed to the distinction between amely and ami. We use amely and amelyik instinctively and the best we can do is tell our feelings about the meaning difference.

    9. The most unbiased way to tell the two words apart (or to analyze any phenomenon in an unbiased way), is to look at a lot of examples and try to spot tendencies. Formulate a hypothesis and test them on new examples. Try mine and see if it works.

    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  15. Akitlosz Senior Member

    If the noun is definitive - the car - then the conjuctive is amelyik.
    If the noun is indefinitive - a car - then the conjuctive is amely.

    But this is not so important.. Many people mix it up. It's not easy the negotiation in long, complex sentences, but not so important. The message is understandable. It is possible to formulate it some other and way.

    Az autó, amelyik piros = a piros autó
    The car, which is red = the red car
  16. 123xyz

    123xyz Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia

    I have read both your replies but I'm afraid I haven't been much enlightened as to the proper usage of the two relative pronouns - I just have a somewhat less vague idea now. I understand that you say that "amelyik" is used to refer to a specific entity singled out from a group whereas "amely" implies no such singling out of the antecedent - I though that this referring to a specific entity overlapped with the definition of restrictive, but now it appears that they are different things. However, I don't think I can really discern when the antecedent is being singled out and when not, so I wouldn't really know when to use which pronoun even if I keep that rule in mind. For example, in the example with the shoes breaking after a very short time, I don't really understand how those shoes are not being singled out from shoes in general whereas in the second example with the shoes lasting more, they are being singled out. Perhaps it has something to do with the specific words like "másik". Thank you for the explanations either way; they have provided insight.

    The explanation that "amelyik" refers to antecedents preceded by a definite article seems much simpler, though.

    I hope I will be able to use the pronouns more correctly after this discussion, though I am still confused. Different forumers are giving me different replies and I'm not sure what to put together with what.:)
  17. gorilla Member

    Hungarian - Hungary
    You don't need to worry about it. There is no simple rule that could give you precisely when to use which (If you take a descriptive stance. Prescriptivists can always just tell you a simple rule and then dismiss the counterexamples as being "incorrect" usage).
    It is not a grammatical issue, but rather style, intention and emphasis. Just read and use the language a lot and you will develop a feeling for these subtle things. Until that, just say whichever you want, you will be understood.
  18. vesteralen27 New Member

    México Sinaloa
    español mexicano
    Youare right, the “i” never is used like a linking vowel to form theplural. I had not taken this into account. Thanks, Regards¡¡¡

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