the use of Ön

  • Kraus

    Senior Member
    Italian, Italy
    Ön = You, Ö = he.

    Ön is used only out of politeness. You have to keep it in phrases like "Ön külföldi?", where the verb is absent.
     

    Kraus

    Senior Member
    Italian, Italy
    Waiting to hear from the natives, I think one can always omit the pronoun because the verb ending indicates itself the subject of the sentence; the pronoun is useful to emphasize the the author of the action.
     

    cajzl

    Senior Member
    Czech
    Ön = You (sing.)
    Önök = You (plur.)
    Ő = he/she

    Mit olvas Ön?
    Mit olvasnak Önök?

    Mit olvas? is indeed ambiguos.
    What are You reading? - What is he/she reading?

    Similarly in German:

    Was machen sie hier? - Was machen Sie hier? (the same pronunciation, but different spelling: sie/Sie)
    What are they doing here? - What are You doing here?
     

    cajzl

    Senior Member
    Czech
    I should always say:

    Mit parancsol?
    Mit csinál?
    Mit mondott?
    Mondhatná meg nekem, ...
    Legyen olyan szíves, ...

    without the pronoun Ön.
     

    heaa

    Member
    Hungary, Hungarian
    Hi!

    In most contexts, it is obvious if you are speaking to somebody or about somebody. Therefore, you can nearly always omit 'ön' or 'ő'.
    Also, as Kraus said, you have to keep the pronoun if the form of the verb "lenni" (to be) is invisible:

    'Ön külföldi?'

    If you are using the "friendlier", less formal form of the second person singular (te), you can't omit the verb "lenni", but you can omit 'te':

    Te külföldi vagy?
    Külföldi vagy? (it sounds more natural)

    In sentences that contain a verb, I would say it almost always sounds more natural if you leave out the pronoun, as the verb ending and the context together should make everything clear. The pronoun is usually used as a means of emphasizing the subject:

    Megetted a fagyit? (Have you eaten the ice-cream?)
    Te etted meg a fagyit? (Is it you who has eaten the ice-cream?)

    However, you should always use the pronoun with 'is' (=also):

    Ti is a buszra vártok?
    Ön is angolt tanul?

    I hope I didn't put it more complicated than it is...
     

    ronanpoirier

    Senior Member
    Brazil - Portuguese
    But is "ön/önok" widely used in Hungary?
    My friend said that even if you treat an older person by "ön/önok" you'd get a weird face from them. :)
     

    cajzl

    Senior Member
    Czech
    An what about maga (sing.) and maguk (plur.)?

    I know "Maga csúnya!", which means "You, ugly (nasty)!" (in a familiar tone, of course).
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Nice!:) Is that meant to be so or is it the similar tendency that some say we have in BE: to become excessively formal and polite when we actually want to be rude?
    This is the moment ("Maga csúnya!") when a context would be really useful...
    What comes to my mind first is a black and white film from the 30s when a black lipped, very artificially wavy (but obviously blonde) haired actress would say that sulkingly to the gentleman who said something going against the expectations of our black lipped lady. (About a possibly unimportant thing.)
    In other words: it is out of date and it'd make you smile.

    The formal aspect is not stressed at all (at that time women didn't say "te" to men - who weren't younger members of their family - very easily in general) and it is not even rude... (at least in the above mentioned context)!
    But a slight change in the context or the way of talking and it all can be different. (= A complicated subject that probably better examined case by case if you want to go for sure.)

    *****

    Good link, CapnPrep!:)

    In general (and as a first approach) I'd say that the best is to avoid using any of the personal pronouns including maga/maguk, ön/önök in a conversation. (The moment it comes to written language, it'll become a bit more difficult, you'll have to know when it could be misunderstood without putting it in.)

    I certainly agree with the aspect that maga/maguk may sound unsophisticated or even rural (apart from outdated as above): e.g. if somebody lower in the hierarchy used it talking to someone above him: a student to a teacher, an employee to his boss, a patient to the doctor, etc. (Although even in some cases outside this: e.g. a tourist in a tourist office.)
    (On the other hand, it may sound arrogant/derogatory in a reverse situation as well.)

    Ön (/önök) is used much too often to my taste nowadays.
    It sounds very artificial to me.
    Artificially polite, artificially personal and certainly redundant from the point of view of grammar.

    It is difficult to think of an example when it would be a mistake to omit either (maga or ön).
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    ... It is difficult to think of an example when it would be a mistake to omit either (maga or ön).

    Of course I agree what has been written before, maga-maguk is rural. I do remember situations when it is not possible to omit the pronoun. In the past tense. I thought of the Önök kérték (a popular TV show). Kérték is impossible. But it is soemthing rather idiomatic, like: Te akartad. Ön akarta. Maga akarta. In English It was you who wanted it...
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    The title of the telly programme is a very good example!:)
    However, the accentuated forms are "special".
    Of course you will insert a word that has an accent on it. (It is the same with the previously mentioned maga is/ön is.)
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    The title of the telly programme is a very good example!:)
    However, the accentuated forms are "special".
    Of course you will insert a word that has an accent on it. (It is the same with the previously mentioned maga is/ön is.)

    Végtére is, Zsanna, Ön a szakember. :) [Eventually, Zsanna, you are the expert.] Végtére is, Zsanna, a szekember. :)
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    In general (and as a first approach) I'd say that the best is to avoid using any of the personal pronouns including maga/maguk, ön/önök in a conversation. (The moment it comes to written language, it'll become a bit more difficult, you'll have to know when it could be misunderstood without putting it in.)
    I think it would be difficult to do this even in spoken language, except in very short conversations… For example, if you want to tell someone "I've heard a lot about you," I guess there's no way to avoid saying "you" somehow. What would be the best choice in this case?
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I think it would be difficult to do this even in spoken language, except in very short conversations… For example, if you want to tell someone "I've heard a lot about you," I guess there's no way to avoid saying "you" somehow. What would be the best choice in this case?

    Yes, but then it is not Ön/Önök or maga/maguk, but Önről/magáról. :)
     

    F456

    New Member
    Great Britain, English
    Joining this thread long after the last comment was added to it in May 2010...

    To summarize, what is one to do and what do native Hungarians do when a pronoun is unavoidable and, to quote the article 'T-V distinction' in Wikipedia, maga/maguk are a bit old-fashioned and can be impolite while ön/önök are formal and official?
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I'm afraid it is difficult to summarize otherwise than it was done above...
    But here are my suggestions:

    1. Try to avoid using either of them.

    2. When accentuated (or a suffix follows it), you can't* so you'll have to decide according to the situation (e.g. maga=to someone "lower", ön= to someone "higher" in the hierarchy), register you wish/have to use (everyday conversation, business, media or other, official context, etc.).

    3. When in doubt, use ön if you wish to sound polite. It may be too polite for the situation, out of place (because of it, or otherwise) or artificial (not natural or sincere) but at least you don't hurt the other person.
    If you are not worried about it (e.g. because the difference in hierarchy is really obvious to your benefit), you can use maga but, in any case, be ready to deal with/being able to interpret the consequences. (If you are not fluent, try it only if you feel adventurous and you think it could be useful for your learning experience. I don't think Hungarians would be hurt really if they got maga from you "unduly".) (Although I'm not familiar with what would happen in a drunken crowd of a rural pub.:D)

    * To decide about this is only partly the question of grammar (e.g. "it is you who..."), it can be idiomatic (which may or may not coincide with your own language's rule/logic) e.g. You idiot! = Maga idióta! (Never with ön because of the derigatory use.) You can say "Ön egy idióta!" but it is not at all idiomatic, the ön is sarcastic (the whole sentence sounds funny because of it: you don't say idiot to whom you'd say ön) and it is very difficult to imagine a real situation in which you need to say this exactly.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    e.g. You idiot! = Maga idióta! (Never with ön because of the derigatory use.) You can say "Ön egy idióta!" but it is not at all idiomatic ....
    Sorry, but I don't agree. In my opinion "Ön egy idióta!" is perfectly idiomatic.

    My very simplified opinion is the following: maga is more familiar (=a little bit less polite) then Ön. So e.g. speaking with my neighbours I'd use maga, while in case of unknown persons I'd prefer Ön.

    (of course, if my neighbour is my friend or so, I use "te" and the 2nd pers. sg. in verbs)
     
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    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    We may mean different things by "idiomatic", Francis. I would say that "Ön egy idióta!" is a normal, grammatically correct sentence in Hungarian albeit rare.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    We may mean different things by "idiomatic", Francis. I would say that "Ön egy idióta!" is a normal, grammatically correct sentence in Hungarian albeit rare.
    All what I wanted to say is that the choice between maga and Ön, absolutely does not depend on the content of what one says. E.g. speaking to a minister one could perfectly and "idiomatically"say "Uram, Ön egy idióta!". When speaking to a neighbour, the same "constatation" :) would sound rather e.g. "Kovács, maga egy idióta!"

    (Whether it is rare or not, it depends on the situation and not on the idiomaticity, in my opinion.)
     
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    Torontal

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I personally never use maga (only as a reflexive pronoun), because i feel it too impolite, but it might vary by location, maybe in some places is doesn't sound "rude". Ön is perfectly fine in any formal situation.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I personally never use maga (only as a reflexive pronoun), because i feel it too impolite, but it might vary by location, maybe in some places is doesn't sound "rude". Ön is perfectly fine in any formal situation.
    Yes, the trend is to avoid maga and to use only Ön in any formal situation. This is maybe due also to the fact that today it is easier or more common to "tegeződni" then in past. See e.g. the aristocratic families: the husband and the wife in the past used to address each other rather maga, not te.
     

    Torontal

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Yes, the trend is to avoid maga and to use only Ön in any formal situation. This is maybe due also to the fact that today it is easier or more common to "tegeződni" then in past. See e.g. the aristocratic families: the husband and the wife in the past used to address each other rather maga, not te.
    OFF
    I find it quite fascinating what used to be the different dimensions and "norms" of tegeződés-magázódás. In one hand as you mentioned, couples could use magázódás with each other, it also used to be common to address older family members that way (my mother for example still magázta her grandparents). But especially pre-1945 it had different meanings too. People in the same (upper) class could use tegeződés with each other ("kérlek alássan") even if they just met, but they used magázódás with those who were of lower class, this way expressing that those didn't belong to their social circle. So it was about inclusion vs. exclusion in that context. On the other hand it could also express hierarchic relationships, when lets say a cseléd had to use magázódás with the employer, but the employer used tegeződés when addressing the servant. The notorious "csendőr-pertu" worked the same way, the lower class defendant had to use magázódás, but the gendarmerie used tegeződés when addressed him/her.
     
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    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    my mother for example still magázta her grandparents
    My father still tessékelte his parents ....

    People in the same (upper) class could use tegeződés with each other ("kérlek alásan")
    Yes, but I think it was not automatic. First they had to összetegeződni (offered by the elder of them). So if e.g. count Széchenyi met count Batthány for the fist time in his life, he did not address him automatically "te".

    when lets say a cseléd had to use magázódás with the employer, but the employer used tegeződés when addressing the servant ....

    It was a bit more complicated, I think. A cseléd could hardly address e.g. a count using "maga". He rather had to tessékelni his "lord" or to address him indirectly. E.g."Tessék ide jönni!" or "Méltóságos uram, jöjjön ide!" or somethong like this.

    The "lord" or the employer could use "maga" or "te" (surely not Ön) addressing the servants or employés. I think it depended on the age or position, etc. of the servant or employé.

    Similar things happened also at the bigenning of my own carreer (during the "real socialism"): our chief tegezett minket, fiatal alkalmazottakat, de mi magáztuk őt.

    On the other hand it could also express hierarchic relationships ....
    Of course. It is valid for other languages, too, even if expressed in different formal way.

    (I did not live in those times, so I may have also mistaken ... )
     
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