"Do you have...? (singular)" --- 3rd person or 2nd person?

Discussion in 'Magyar (Hungarian)' started by jiris, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. jiris Junior Member

    English – American
    If I want to ask a shopkeeper if they have something, and want to be polite, do I use the 3rd person form of the possessive as I would with a verb? Or must I use the 2nd person form?

    E.g. Do you have a bag?

    Van táskája?


    Van táskád?
  2. gorilla Junior Member

    Hungarian - Hungary
    There is no difference between conjugation and possessive in this regard. The formal/polite way is the 3rd person in all cases. Although I'm not sure I'd say "Van táskája?", rather something like "Táska kapható Önöknél?" (kapható = available/buyable/for sale)
  3. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    The question is whether you want to use the informal or the formal way of addressing the person, what register you want to use, etc. (3rd person = formal, 2nd person= informal)
    That also depends on your age and the shop assistant's age, whether you know him/her, whether you want to give the impression of being somebody relatively well educated/polite or not, etc.

    And finally, there is the aspect gorilla mentions: do you want some ready to use, "survival" expression or ideas about how it can be asked "properly".

    Without knowing all that, I would say a) you've found a simple but correct translation for the English sentence (first formal, second informal) but b) translating the English word by word does not express whether you want just a free bag (if they have any) or you would be ready to buy one if it was possible (because you need one).
    In either case, you could say:

    Kérek egy táskát (/szatyrot). - I would like a bag/carrier bag (please). (Fairly short and direct but easy.) or
    Kaphatnék egy táskát (/szatyrot)? - Could I have a bag/carrier bag (please)? (More polite.)
  4. jiris Junior Member

    English – American
    Thanks for your responses –– I was mainly wondering as to whether the 3rd person possesive is used when addessing a 2nd person subject in order to be polite.

    When it comes to the actual question, I'm mainly trying to ask if there are free plastic bags available, and I figure that asking this is tantamount to asking for one.

    I also just generally need to know, when entering a shop, how to ask if they have whatever it is I'm looking to buy. It seems that using the verb kapható is a good way to do this. I have not gotten to the adessive case yet, but I will return to it when I do––

    Thank you
  5. francisgranada Senior Member

    The 3rd person is de facto an indirect form (like in Spanish or Italian), thus both the verb and the appropriate pronouns have to be used in the 3rd person.

    As to the Van táskája?, I think this expression is equally "polite" or "impolite" as the English Do you have a bag? I.e. it's usage depends on the concrete circumstances etc ...

    I think this could be a question for a separate (interesting) thread ....
  6. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    The closest and best literal translation is gorilla's version: Táska kapható? Kapható itt táska?
    It would be possible to say it more colloquially: Táskák vannak? or Táska? Van?
    Zsanna's versions mean you expect they sell bags.
  7. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    It's true, Encolpius, but the answer "Sorry, we don't have any!" is still possible and the structure "kérek egy ...-t" can be used for anything when you would like to have/ need something.

    P.S. Actually, no. You can ask for anything free like this, too!

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