hat/het, tud - can

FRENFR

Senior Member
English
Hello,

I've been away quite a while now but I do have some questions which I will post over the next day or so.

Is is possible to provide a simple explanation for when to put 'hat/het' after the verb root (beszélhatni, for example) and when to use tud(om) beszélni.

This morning, despite winter tyres, I could not get grip and drive up the litle slope into my garage due to ice. Fortunately, a neighbour was present and so I could bash out "Egy kicsi problema. Nem tudom parkolni as autom" (right?). She knows I can't speak well but she led me to some salt and I was able to salt my path free :)

However, it got me thinking. Could I have said "nem parkolhatom"? I'm sure the answer is painfully obvious, but I currently cannot see why it's wrong (or isn't it?)

Isn't #hat# something to do with permission? The problem, I suppose, is that 'can' in English refers to both permission and ability. If so, then don't waste you time providing a huge response because that would make sense!

Thanks a lot,
:)
 
  • Olivier0

    Senior Member
    français - France
    Your sentence was basically right (there may be better ways to say it, but not concerning this point of grammar):
    - tud = basic meaning "know" for something concerning ability or being knowledgeable (know how to do it, eg. tudok vezetni = I can drive), hence "can" for other things too (eg. (el) tudok jönni = I can come),
    - -hat/het (parkolhat after back vowels, else beszélhet) = "possible to do", permission or possibility (no obstacle),
    - also szabad = "free", permission.
    So yes, I too would use tud and say something like Nem tudok bemenni a parkolóba.
    But I have a feeling that you could also say Nem mehetek be (perhaps with less focus on what you can do and more on what circumstances allow?), so let us wait for the opinion of the native Hungarians.
     
    Last edited:

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Hello FRENFR,

    In your example, it is obvious to me that the verb+ -hat/-het does not fit. There is a difference (like in English) between "can/to be able to" (= tud) and "may/to be allowed to" (verb+ -hat/-het).
    If you couldn't park because you weren't able to (the road was slippery) than it's only "tud" that can work between the two.

    Your sentences
    "Egy kicsi problema. Nem tudom parkolni as autom".
    may be better like this:
    Van egy kis gondom. (Probléma is not very nice, it's better to avoid.) Nem tudom beparkolni (az autóm) - or even better - beállni (a garázsba).
    The words in brackets are not necessary for the understanding.
     

    Ateesh6800

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Instead of rules, let me give you contexts, and then try to "milk the native speaker" (use your own language instinct to get a feel of things):

    Nem tudok telefonálni, mert...
    ... my arm is broken.
    ... I have no change/phone card/battery.
    ... I can't speak due to a throat problem.
    ... I don't have her number.
    ... I have just come from the jungle and noone has ever taught me how to use the phone.

    Nem telefonálhatok, mert:
    ... I know her husband is at home as well.
    ... my boss has some software that monitors calls and I can get caught making a private call.

    There are overlapping cases:

    Nem tudok ide parkolni, because there's a "No parking" sign right in front of the building.
    Nem parkolhatok ide, because there's a "No parking" sign right in front of the building.

    * * *

    "Egy kicsi problema."
    Van egy kis problémám. (I have a small problem.)

    "Nem tudom parkolni as autom.""
    Nem tudom leparkolni az autóm.
    "Leparkolni" vs "parkolni" is like "megenni" vs "enni": the version with "le" is a bit more perfective: "to eat it all" vs "to be eating it".

    Nem tudom leparkolni az autóm, mert...
    ... the slope is icy.
    ... my brake is bust.
    ... there isn't enough space.
    ... I can't turn my head because of my C-collar.

    (Itt) nem parkolhatok, mert...
    ... her husban will recognise my car.
    ... there's a "No parking" sign in front of the building.
    ... there will be a soccer match in the afternoon and there will be loads of hooligans raising hell in the street.

    There are overlaps:

    Nem tudom leparkolni az autóm, mert...
    ... there will be a soccer match in the afternoon and there will be loads of hooligans raising hell in the street.

    There may be a difference in the attitude of the speaker:

    (Itt) nem parkolhatok, mert there will be a soccer match in the afternoon and there will be loads of hooligans raising hell in the street.
    This could mean that there is a parking ban in effect (only implied):
    (Itt) nem parkolhatok, mert there will be a soccer match in the afternoon and there will be loads of hooligans raising hell in the street so the police has banned parking for 24 hours.
    Alternatively, it could express that I can't because it would not be reasonable...

    In this vein:

    Nem hívhatlak fel ötpercenként... I can't call you every five minutes (stop bitching about "you never call me") because I have my own life as well.
    Or:
    Nem hívhatlak fel ötpercenként... I can't call you every five minutes (my boss will fire me).

    Whereas:

    (Itt) nem tudom leparkolni az autóm, mert there will be a soccer match in the afternoon and there will be loads of hooligans raising hell in the street.
    In this case, the speaker presents the impossibility of parking there as though it were a physical impossibility. Of course he is able to, but the risk is as prohibitive for him as the icy slope.

    So yes, there are overlaps; just collect examples and you'll get the hang of it. :)
     

    Olivier0

    Senior Member
    français - France
    I found a list of uses of -hat/het, there seem to be overlaps indeed:
    - vki/vmi képes a cselekvésre, tud cselekedni (is able to do, can do)
    - vkinek/vminek módja, lehetősége van a cselekvésre (has the means / the possibility to do)
    - vkinek/vminek szabad, jogában van vmit cselekedni, megtenni (is free / has the right to do)
    - a cselekvés, történés esetleg, valószínűleg bekövetkezik, végbemegy (may happen, will probably happen / be done)
    - a cselekvés, történés bizonyosan folyamatban van, szükségszerűen végbemegy, bekövetkezik (is certainly on the way, will necessarily happen / be done)
    - szerény, udvarias kérés (modest, polite request)
    So a simple general rule seems to be hard to find.
     

    FRENFR

    Senior Member
    English
    Priceless responses as always. Thank you very much to all. If only there was a little tip box by the door! ;)

    All noted and being memorised along with everything else.
     
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