Butterfly = lepke, pillangó

< Previous | Next >

franknagy

Senior Member
Do you feel a different usage territory of the two Hungarian words for butterfly =
1) lepke,
2) pillangó ?

Is one them colloquial and the other official and used mainly stoned proverbs like the synonyms of dog
A) kutya,
B eb ?
 
  • francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    According to how I learned to use these words in my childhood, pillangó is rather a coloured and "beautiful" butterfly, while lepke is a generic term for all the species, but preferably used to indicate the white or yellowish "simple" ones (including éjjeli lepke).

    (For me, none of them is colloquial nor bookish or used only in "special" cases like proverbs or so ...)
     
    Last edited:

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    According to the dictionary, pillangó is a tájnyelvi (dialectal - if I'm right with the translation) or irodalmi (high register) word, meanwhile nothing like this is mentioned after lepke.
    I understand the high register (it sounds much nicer) but what is dialectal about it... I don't know.

    Also, it is mentioned in connection with pillangó that it is a "daytime" insect. (I suppose it means that it is active, visible during the day.) That could exlain francis's immediate association with éjjeli lepke. (Although there is also éjjeli pillangó but that is the name for prostitutes. Not the same species! :))
     

    franknagy

    Senior Member
    The word szender is not generally known. Biologist use it for hairy night butterflies.
    The sport argot use both words:
    1) lepkesúly = flyweight (boxer),
    2) pillangóúszás = overarm stroke.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    According to the dictionary, pillangó is a tájnyelvi (dialectal - if I'm right with the translation) or irodalmi (high register) word ...
    This is really surprising for me ... But let's turn back to the original question
    Do you feel a different usage territory of the two Hungarian words for butterfly ...?
    I.e. how do you (concretely, as native Hungarians) use the terms lepke and pillangó in practice, independently on what the dictionaries suggest?
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Yes, we should turn back to the original question:
    "Do you feel a different usage territory of the two Hungarian words for butterfly =
    1) lepke,
    2) pillangó ?"
    If I understand it well, frank is asking exactly about what the dictionary gave as a possible tájnyelvi usage of pillangó (given that lepke doesn't seem to have one).
    Although, it may not be the case given his post #4. (I just hope the aim is not to establish a list of words which we cannot do here.)
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Zsanna and Frank, could you tell me, please, how do you (personally, in practice) use these two words?
    (I am curious about whether my spontaneous way of using the mentioned words is "unique" or rather common ...)
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I use both but it is difficult to define exactly when I use which.
    (I try to follow an order of frequency.)
    I surely use lepke either when it is really in the name of the insect (like in éjjeli lepke, bagoly lepke etc.) or when there is no reason to "sound nice" (the insect is not pretty or the situation doesn't require a "nice term"). (A little bit like I'd use macska instead of cica - but that is also very personal so may not help much.)

    So, from this, it is easier to see when I use pillangó: 1. when I don't have to give the exact name of the insect 2. when I want to or have to use a special, almost endearing term. (E.g. because I want to attract the attention to a beautiful thing or, speaking to a child, I want to use a nicer term to attract his/her attention to the natural beauty of the insect.)
    If I wrote poetry or books (especially one that is emotionally charged or elevated), I would also use pillangó probably more often than lepke.

    But I don't think these reasons have anything to do with our local language use.
     

    tomtombp

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I agree with everything above and think pillango is the higher register version of lepke the same way as eb is to kutya. I wouldn't use either eb or pillango in everyday conversation. On the other hand lepke and kutya would sound too ordinary in a poem.
     
    Last edited:

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    This is a bit surprising to me. As to "eb" I agree, but "pillangó" is a common/normal word for me.
    (However, it's also true that during the last many years I haven't seen any beautiful daytime butterfly in my surroundings ... )
     
    Last edited by a moderator:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top