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Discussion in 'Magyar (Hungarian)' started by eternica, May 2, 2013.

  1. eternica New Member

    English / Cantonese
    So, I know what all of these words mean:

    dehogy, dehogyis = of course not
    dehogynem, hogyne = of course

    However, I'm really curious if anyone can conjure up an explanation as to how these words came to be constructed. I'm asking this because the meanings of these words seem very counter-intuitive to an English native speaker like me.

    When I see "dehogyis", I think "de" + "hogy" + "is", which I interpret as (of course, I'm probably wrong) "but" + "that" + "(it's the case) also". This "sounds" like (along with "dehogy") it should be an affirmative word (probably because I know "de" or "de igen" to mean "yes" to a negative question), but it's a negative word.

    When I see "dehogynem", I think "de" + "hogy" + "nem", which literally is "but" + "that" + "it's not", which I would suppose to mean "of course not", but nope; this means "of course it is"! What in the world :confused:? I don't see the logic here. Similarly with "hogyne" ("that" + "not").

    My brain thinks that the meanings should be reversed! What in the world is this mystery of the Hungarians? Perhaps someone could make some logical sense out of this.
  2. francisgranada Senior Member

    "Dehogy" is literally rather "but how" (and not "but that") and "hogyne" is lit. "how not". So I think the logic behind could be something like this:

    - Jön Péter is? - Does Peter come as well?
    - Dehogy [jön], nincs ideje. - literally: "But how [does he come], he has no time".

    - Péter nem jön? - Peter doesn't come?
    - Hogyne [jönne], őt is meghívták. - literally: "How [would he] not [come], he has been also invited".

    In other words, in the past these words might be used in questions, written separately, and only later did they become what they are today (affirmation/negation). E.g.:
    - Jön Péter is?
    - De hogy jönne? Most nincs ideje. >> Dehogy, most nincs ideje.
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  3. Olivier0 Senior Member

    français - France
    I am not sure this is really how they have been formed, but I always thought that these de- "but" imply "but no":
    dehogy(is) = but no (to the fact that) it is (like this) = on the contrary, no
    dehogynem = but no (the the fact that) it is not (like this) = on the contrary, yes
    -- Olivier
  4. francisgranada Senior Member

    I am also not sure, but it seems to me probable.
    Maybe, but what is the explanation for this? Generally "de" does not imply "not". And we have also "hogyne" where there is no "de" ...
  5. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    I think it is right to suppose that the composing words make up the whole (especially because there are cases when the same words appear in the same order but written separately*), only you have to accept that once they are written in one word, the new word has its own meaning (and the breaking it up mainly helps just to memorise the word better).
    I can also see why there is a contradiction seemingly, compared to English. Nicely spotted!:) The clue is that in Hungarian there is double negation (which comes to a positive statement) meanwhile in English there isn't.

    I agree with francis: the "hogy" is the short of hogyan (=how) but I would translate into English one of his example sentences a bit differently:

    Dehogy, nincs ideje.
    => No [but how could he/how would it be possible?], he has no time.

    Even if "no" is not a good translation because dehogy is much more accentuated. "How could he possibly?" would express it better in terms of accent, register and emotion.

    Dehogyisnem/hogyne: affirms something positive because it answers a negative question using a negative form
    (double negation). Here, there is something like this behind the words: 'but how on earth could it be "no"/"not"?!' (I shouldn't really call it a translation, it is what is expressed.)

    I suppose this is where Olivier is right with "de" referring to (/introducing) something opposite of what has been said. (But this is the role of an "ellentétes kötőszó": to express that the opposite comes to the right of it compared to what was on its left. If on its left there was an affirmation then the opposite of that is negation and vice versa. This is why the "but no" could only be true on a "sentence level". If it meant: 'you thought all that was true? No,no - it is really the opposite'. As a conjunction it just indicates that the opposite is coming.)

    *E.g. De hogy is nem (= hogy lehetséges, hogy nem) láttam? But how it is (possible that) I didn't see it?
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
  6. francisgranada Senior Member

    I agree, of course (= hogyne/dehogyis nem/persze ... I'm starting to be confused :)...)

    However, my translations are not "true translations" but rather literal renderings as I wanted to concentrate to the following question (and possibly not to give a very complicated answer):

    P.S. I'd like to add that "of course" is not a translation of the expressions in question, but rather an approximative equivalent that works in some (perhaps, most of the) cases. But try to analyze the English expression "of course" whether it gives some sense if translated literally, e.g. in Hungarian :) ... (I don't want to be OT, so here I stop)
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  7. eternica New Member

    English / Cantonese
    Ah! Of course! I completely overlooked the other meaning of hogy. Silly me. It's just that when I see a word right before hogy, I usually think of its use as a conjunction, not the adverb "how". This makes so much sense now. Hungarian logic is truly ingenious.
  8. Akitlosz Senior Member

    "How" mean exactly in Hungarian hogyan, but the -an/-en endings very often fade from the end of the words. Unfortunately. :(

    Hogy(an) is an interrogative word, but hogy is a conjunction. We may never say hogyan instead of hogy (the conjuction.) We may always say hogyan instead of hogy (the interrogative word). But we say it rarely, unfortunately. :(

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