mi/ami ki/aki

Discussion in 'Magyar (Hungarian)' started by jiris, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. jiris Senior Member

    English – American
    Is there a difference between the meaning or use of these variants? I've noticed several intances when looking up words such as what/when/how/which etc. where there is a variant in which an "a" is added at the beginning of the word. Could someone explain what this is?

    Many thanks!
  2. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    There wouldn't be a difference in the English translation (though especially for the second group).
    Roughly the first could be a question word (mi/ki) the second its conjunctive "equivalent" (ami/aki) introducing a subsentence giving extra information about a thing or a person.

    Mi van a dobozban? What is in the box? - Ami a dobozban van, nem rád tartozik. What(ever) is in the box is none of your business.

    Ki van itt? Who is here? - Egy ember, aki nem beszél franciául. A man who doesn't speak French.
  3. jiris Senior Member

    English – American
    Ok great! Thanks –– is this the case across the board then?
    E.g. –– Hol van a doboz? Where is the box?
    Ahol van a doboz, nem rád tartozik. Where(ever) the box is, it's none of your business.

  4. Zsanna

    Zsanna ModErrata

    Hungarian - Hungary
    Yes, almost...!:) The idea is that, in any case.

    In your example, we would rather say: (Az) Hogy hol van a doboz, nem rád tartozik. (Please, don't ask why!)

    But: Meglátogatta a várost, ahol korábban lakott. He visited the town where he had lived (earlier).
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  5. jiris Senior Member

    English – American
    Okay thanks!
  6. francisgranada Senior Member

    I don't know if the following explanation is useful or not ...

    Mi, hogy, ki, hol ... are interrogative pronouns, while the forms with a- (ami, ahogy, aki, ahol ..) are relative pronouns. This "a" comes from "az", so for example "ahol" literally means "the where".

    An example:
    - Hol lakik Péter? (Where does Peter live?)
    - Ahol született (Where he was born, i.e. In/at the place where he was born)

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