Place of prefix in relative clauses in imperative

Lazar_Bgd

Member
Serbian - Serbia
Dear All,

'A Practical Hungarian Grammar' by Akademiai Kiado says the following on page 82 (at the bottom): The prefix (igekötő) does not generally separate from the verb in statements but it separates in negations.

In this particular case they discuss the usage of imperative in final clauses (mellékmondatok) and they give two examples:

Azt akarom, hogy elmenj. I want you to leave. (lit.: I want that you leave).
Azt akarom, hogy ne menj el. I don't want you to leave. (lit.: I want that you don't leave.)


The second example is clear to me but I'm a bit confused about the first example and why the prefix does not separate. I understand that the focus there is on the verb itself but still, this is in the imperative mode...

Would it be wrong to say: 'Azt akarom, hogy menj el! ' and if so, how would this be different from their example?

Thank you!
 
  • AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Hello,

    I'm not sure I can formulate the rules but
    'Azt akarom, hogy menj el! '
    is definitely correct. I find it more emphatic, "more imperative" than "azt akarom, hogy elmenj", which is also possible.

    I would say that in most cases of similar sentences a separating prefix sounds more natural:

    Azt akarom, hogy csináld meg. = I want you to do it.
    Azt akarom, hogy olvasd el. = I want you to read it.
    Azt akarom, hogy hívd fel. = I want you to call him/her.
     

    Lazar_Bgd

    Member
    Serbian - Serbia
    Dear Andras,

    thanks a lot! No need for rules, I rely on your native speaker's opinion :)

    Best regards
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Hello Lazar_Bgd,

    I agree with AndrasBP and don't think, either, that there is an easy, ready to use rule here but there is certainly a very intriguing point: when there is a possibility to leave the preverb before the verb or to put it after, there is (also) a slight difference in the meaning which is not easy to explain.
    (Let alone the fact when this is possible and when it isn't...)
    (It is possible that it is connected to the difference between the imperative and the subjunctive modes that is not clear usually to native speakers. Even linguists have not arrived to a conclusion about it yet. But it may also depend on the verb and/or the situation it is used.)

    It is not really easy to tell the difference in your examples above but I make an attempt:

    Azt akarom, hogy elmenj. - Content: I tell you what I want (i.e. you leave). Situation: We may have discussed this already, but this is my conclusion. (I insist on what I said earlier but gently, there is not necessarily any emotion involved.) (Subjunctive.)

    Azt akarom, hogy menj el. - Content: same as above. Situation: It may be/is the first time that I am telling you this and I mean it! (There can be even a strong emotion behind such a sentence or just a stubborn insisting on: "this is what I want you to do".) (Imperative)
     
    Last edited:

    Lazar_Bgd

    Member
    Serbian - Serbia
    Dear Zsanna,

    Actually, this is quite understandable, I think. The second example (with the prefix after the verb) is almost like saying: "I am asking you to leave", i.e. , I am actually giving you an order rather than just stating what I want to happen.

    Thank you and best regards!
     

    javamonkey

    Member
    English - US
    As above, whether you separate it or combine it with the prefix, there's a difference in the nuance,
    so you can say it both ways but it's slightly different, depending on the meaning of the verb and prefix.

    It's hard to translate this nuance into English, and it's not very significant of a nuance, but it definitely exists.

    If you separate it you're emphasizing the prefix more, which in itself may have a meaning, like
    elmenni, the "el" actually means away.

    When you say "azt akarom, hogy menj el" that's like "I want you to go AWAY (as in get the hell out of this place to somewhere else)"
    Whereas "azt akarom, hogy elmenj" is more like "I want you to leave"

    (I think this has to do with the prefix being physically the last word you say, so that's why it gets the emphasis.)

    With "meg" as a prefix it's even harder to express in English,

    For example "azt akarom, hogy csináld meg" = "I want you to [just] do it [and get it done]"
    Whereas "azt akarom, hogy megcsináld" = "I want you to get this done [at some point]"

    (As András noted above the "csináld meg" sounds more natural because it's more often the form used with that verb, but you can say the other too.)

    In short, the separated version is less polite and more demanding in a context when you asking or demanding something.
    but in some cases the prefix indicates direction, or if you're not asking or demanding it doesn't matter.
    like,
    "azt akarom, hogy mássz fel a fára", in this case saying
    "azt akarom, hogy felmássz a fára" would not have this nuance of demanding since you're only emphasizing a direction, but with such directional prefixes the seperated form is preferred. Again, this nuance exists, but it's not a major thing, so it's not something to really worry about, of hurting someone's feelings because you said "csináld meg" instead of "megcsináld".

    The other thing is if you're issuing a direct command, you can not combine then
    Edd meg!
    Vedd fel!
    WRONG: Megedd! Felvedd!
    Now those forms could really offend someone.
     
    Last edited:

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I have a question as to the valid terminology, generally used today.

    Menj el! - for me in this case the form menj has the function of imperative ("felszólitó mód")
    Azt akarom, hogy elmenj. Azt akarom, hogy menj el. - for me in these cases the form menj has the function of subjunctive ("kötőmód")

    Am I wrong, in your opinion?
     

    javamonkey

    Member
    English - US
    Offend someone? What do you mean?
    "Megedd!" is just plain wrong, it's ungrammatical.
    Sorry that was unclearly written, I meant the correct direct command form "Edd meg!" could offend someone
    while saying "azt akarom, hogy edd meg" will not offend someone more than "Azt akarom, hogy megedd". But as you
    said in this case "Azt akarom, hogy megedd" sounds unnatural.
     

    javamonkey

    Member
    English - US
    I have a question as to the valid terminology, generally used today.

    Menj el! - for me in this case the form menj has the function of imperative ("felszólitó mód")
    Azt akarom, hogy elmenj. Azt akarom, hogy menj el. - for me in these cases the form menj has the function of subjunctive ("kötőmód")

    Am I wrong, in your opinion?
    You might have to ask a real linguist on that one (I don't know if any of the guys above are), but it's at least partially correct,
    If you read Wikipedia Kötőmód – Wikipédia
    • Menjetek el! – mondattanilag felszólító mód (az igekötő az ige után kerül);
    • Nem akarja, hogy elmenjetek. – mondattanilag kötőmód (az igekötő az ige előtt marad).
    But your question's slightly different because in one example you put the prefix after, so in this case it may turn
    into an unfinished expression of desire followed by felszólitó: azt akarom, hogy ... "Menj el!".
    I.e. "mit akarok?" ... "Menj el!".
    You can certainly turn it into an imperative explicitly by adding na... "Azt akarom, hogy ... na, menj el!"
    This "na" form, would clearly indicate you chose to break your thought and use a stronger form, but you can also break
    it just by intonation. Soft voice: "Azt akarom, hogy..." Hard voice: "Menj el!"
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top