Allative in Hungarian

Discussion in 'Magyar (Hungarian)' started by Ateesh6800, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. Ateesh6800 Senior Member

    With reference to a question posted by mstr in this thread concerning Hungarian noun "cases", specifically, the "allative case", here's my initial response. The question was:
    "Are there uses for the <...> allative case which carries figurative meanings?"
    The allative set (triplet) of noun suffixes is -hoz/-hez/-höz.

    Besides the basic spatial meaning:
    "odamegyek a falhoz": "I walk (up) to the wall",

    it also has figurative uses:
    "beszél valakihez": to talk to someone,
    where the relation is not strictly spatial but reflects a more abstract direction (here, the direction of communication).

    It is also used as the obligatory case that goes with certain verbs in set phrases:

    hasonlít valakihez/valamihez
    to be similar to someone/something

    hasonlít valamit valamihez
    to compare something to someone/something


    Jól megy a sálad a szoknyádhoz!
    Literally: 'Your shawl goes well to your skirt.'
    Meaning: Your shawl matches your skirt nicely!

    There is a long list of expressions where the allative is used.

    Does any native Hungarian speaker have any more figurative uses to add?
  2. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    You mentioned falhoz and that reminded me of the figurative use of
    falhoz állít valakit (pl.a kérdésével) - put somebody up against the wall (e.g. with a question).
    It may not be an innocent coincidence that the English corresponds so well to the Hungarian term... :)

    In any case, I think even when used figuratively, this suffix stays fairly close to its original (even if largely interpreted) meaning of "towards".

    In its basic meaning I would add that it could be "static" as well as "dynamic" in the sense that it could be accompanied with a movement from point A to point B
    (like in your spatial example - he walks towards/up to the wall)

    or may not involve an actual movement of the person/thing who/which carries out the action but even then there is a "direction" expressed from point A towards point B. (like in your figurative example - he speaks to someone).

    My above mentioned figurative usage could still fit this little "rule".

    I think it would be interesting to know whether we could find such a figurative meaning where the above mentioned schema wouldn't work.
  3. francisgranada Senior Member

    The basic meaning is less evident in

    érteni valamihez

    Another example (perhaps, a little bit nearer to the basic meaning):

    hozzálátni valamihez
  4. mstr New Member

    Sure. How does that explain the figurative uses in situations such as these?

    Országosan ötezer nézőt kell elérni ahhoz.

    Az összefüggések alkotó alkalmazásához kíván segítséget adni.

    Ezekhez a közösségekhez gyorsabban találnak meg.
  5. Ateesh6800 Senior Member

    "Országosan ötezer nézőt kell elérni ahhoz, hogy..."

    Let's see...

    "[Sentence 1 <with kell, szükséges, etc.>] ahhoz, hogy [Sentence 2 <in the imperative>]."

    This is a conjunctive set phrase and it means:

    "In order to [Sentence 2 <in the infinitive>], [Sentence 1 <with have to, is needed/necessary, etc.>]."
    If you explain why "(in order) to + infinitive" represents the objective or the goal or the purpose in a compound sentence in English, I'll explain why "ahhoz, hogy" represents the same in Hungarian. :D There must be a reason as both to and -hoz/-hez/-höz signify a direction; in this case it is a figurative direction connecting the condition with/to the purpose.
    This is how it works. You take two basic sentences:

    [S1] Száz forint kell. ("100 forints are needed." <indicative>)
    [S2] Veszel egy gömb fagyit. ("You buy one scoop/ball of icecream." <indicative>)

    [S1] will be the condition, [S2] will be the objective/purpose.

    We'll express this idea:

    "For you to buy one scoop/ball of ice cream, 100 forints are/will be needed."


    "100 forints are/will be needed for you to buy one scoop/ball of ice cream."

    (Which simply means: "You'll need 100 forints to buy one scoop/ball of ice cream.")

    So we use this structure:

    [S1 <indicative>] ahhoz, hogy [S2 <imperative>].
    "Száz forint kell ahhoz, hogy vegyél egy gömb fagyit."

    A similar sentence:

    [S1] "Országosan ötezer nézőt kell elérni. <indicative>"
    [S2] "A sorozatot folytatják. <indicative>"

    "Országosan ötezer nézőt kell elérni ahhoz, hogy a sorozatot folytassák."

    "Five thousand viewers must be reached nationally in order for the series to be continued."
    (Context: when they broadcast three pilot episodes on TV or when they pur a show on stage, they measure the number of people who watch them, and if the number is high enough, the series or the show will continue; if not, it will stop.)
    In this case (an in many cases) the imperative (folytatják => folytassák; veszel => vegyél etc.) works very similarly to the subjuntivo in Spanish and to the infinitive of purpose in English.

    Does this help?

  6. Ateesh6800 Senior Member

    segítséget ad/nyújt valamihez (where "valami" is a noun formed from an action/verb such as, e.g., alkalmaz => alkalmazás)

    This is a construction (a set phrase) simply meaning "to provide/offer/give/extend help in doing something".

    But let's simplify. We have this very basic phrase that goes with the infinitive (just like in English):

    (1) segít csinálni valamit = to help do something

    segít nyelvet tanulni = to help learn a language

    These are basic expressions where the complement of the verb segít (help) is the infinitive.

    (2) If you want to express yourself in a bit more complicated or sophisticated way, you can use a more complex/complicated structure (in the vein of provide assistence in doing something instead of help do something) such as:

    segítséget ad/nyújt a nyelvtanulásban
    segítséget ad/nyújt a nyelvtanuláshoz

    The two versions are similar to provide assistance in doing sg (verb + -ás/-és + -ban/-ben) and help (to) do sg (verb + -ás/-és + -hoz/-hez/-höz).

    So I would simply say that in the set phrases discussed above -hoz/-hez/-höz is one of the options and it expresses figuratively that the assistance helps you get closer to your goal/objective.

  7. Ateesh6800 Senior Member

    This is a fragment that cannot be interpreted on its own. Please quote full sentence.

  8. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    1.+2 It may just be the question of a personal point of view but for me it is easy to replace a spatial concept of direction with that of aim in this sentence (i.e. "we are here and our aim is there and we have to approach it")

    3. As Ateesh has already indicated it, this sentence cannot be safely interpreted in this form (in fact it is difficult even to understand) but I suspect that it is a purely spatial use of the suffix and not a figurative.

    However, francis's example "érteni valamihez" is more of a hard nut.
    It is surely more figurative than anything else, although it is possible that in its origins it had some spatial meaning.
  9. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    A little summary of the allative could also be found here.
  10. DylanM98 New Member

    I've seen the allative case used like this, "AHHOZ semmi köze annak" what is the rule for using "-hoz/-hez" like this?
  11. Olivier0 Senior Member

    français - France
    There is not really a general rule, each word uses for its complements some cases that you have to learn when you learn the word.
    Here -hoz (hez, höz) is what is needed in van köze vmihez "has to do with sth", perhaps with the same logic as in közel vmihez "close to sth", közeledik vmihez "approach sth", etc.
    -- Olivier
  12. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    I agree with Olivier, I would just like to remind you that English native speakers usually don't know the abbreviations sth/sg (= something) sb/sy (= somebody) and it is against the forum rules to use them (e.g. in English Only).

    Mod note: Here, in the Hungarian Forum I wouldn't consider them against the rules as long as people who have learnt English as a foreign language use them - we would still have to take into consideration native speakers and not use the abbreviations they are likely not to know/use.
  13. DylanM98 New Member

    The thing is I've seen it used as with in many cases, such as "az autóhoz kapod is pálinkát" you will recieve whiskey with the car. So there must be something to go by to use "-hoz/-hez" in these cases
  14. Olivier0 Senior Member

    français - France
    I would see a different use of -hoz in such a case (eg. bort is kapsz hozzá "you also get wine with it").
    Dictionaries detail many different uses of -hoz or hozzá, but to be simple like in an etymological dictionary, there are two main uses:
    - (going) near, to(wards): hozzá beszél "speaks to him/her",
    - in addition to: adj hozzá ötöt "add five, give five more".
    -- Olivier
  15. DylanM98 New Member

    Oh that second definition explains alot! Thank you so much! But under which definition would "ahhoz semmi köze annak" fall under?
  16. Olivier0 Senior Member

    français - France
    The first one: ahhoz "to that" semmi köze annak "(s)he has no relationship" = "(s)he has nothing to do with that", or even "that is none of his/her business" depending on context.
    -- Olivier
    PS. Encolpius: this meaning of köz may be the same as közösség, like in a köz (=közösség) érdekeit szolgálja.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013

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