Hogyan, hogyan nem...

Discussion in 'Magyar (Hungarian)' started by NagyKiss, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. NagyKiss Senior Member


    How is this translated - "Hogyan, hogyan nem..."?

    Sample sentence: "Hogyan, hogyan nem, ez a tuskó egy szép napon egy öreg asztalosmester műhelyébe került."

    I assume this is a set phrase like "Hol volt, hol nem volt".

    Best regards!
  2. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Hello NagyKiss and welcome to our forum!:)

    I don't know if there is a real equivalent but I can imagine the following possibilities:
    In one way or another/In some mysterious way, this log ended up in...

    But it also depends on what sort of text you have (a tale for kids, or something "serious" for adults...), what style you are looking for, etc.
  3. NagyKiss Senior Member

    Az a mese, mégpedig Pinokkió:)
  4. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    In that case, you can "colour" it by chosing the second version.

    Also, there could be "what with one thing and another" as another possibility. (But it's really a native speaker who could tell which final sentence sounds better.)
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  5. Akitlosz Senior Member

    Hogyan, hogyan nem = Mit ad isten / How, how not = What god gives

    There are a phrase, if someting happened, but we don't know, or not important who and how did it.
    Not absolutely important to translate.
  6. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    As far as its meaning, it is true that it doesn't mean much - so if you think it's not important to translate because of this, I understand.
    However, it has a role in the sentence: to create an atmosphere and that needs to be "translated" (one way or another... and in the long run...) if we are talking about translating properly.
    But we are not.
    NagyKiss just wants to understand what the expression means - if I guess it right having known him a bit better now.:)

    So, in that view, I would say that the author wants to indicate to its readers that he is not going to tell them how that log ended up exactly (in its details) in the cabin either because he doesn't know it himself or because it would be too long to tell or not interesting enough.

    So it serves to bridge a gap in the story (= the description of how the log ended up there) in a friendly, story-telling way (fitting not only tales for kids but other popular story telling style, too). (N.B. There may even be some magic involved when it's used.)
  7. francisgranada Senior Member

    Agreeing with Zsanna, I'd like to add that this phrase expresses also the "inexpectedness" or "suddenness" of what happened. I think it can be used also in a "normal speech" (not only in tales) when "dramatizing" some situation. For example "Hogy, hogy nem, egyszer csak Zsanna is megjent a szobában."

    (hogy, hogy nem is less "old fashioned" than hogyan, hogyan nem )
  8. tomtombp Senior Member

  9. tomtombp Senior Member

    I agree that "hogy, hogy nem" is less old fashioned but still I wouldn't use it in everyday speech unless I wanted to create a "strong" story/tale-telling effect/atmosphere.

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