Uses of való + infinitive

ausermilar

Member
Portuguese
Hello!

I've often heard and read the adjective való after infinitives (ennivaló, tudnivaló, utaznivaló, kidobnivaló, stb.) and I'd like to know whether I can build and write freely these compound words vit "való". Can I write, for instance, "megédesitnivaló, sóznivaló, írnivaló, kitórólnivaló", and so on?

Thanks.
 
  • Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Hello,

    I think the answer could be a "yes" but with caution.;)
    The major problem is to decide whether to write it as one word or not. As a first approach, you should know whether your "new word" is a noun (or at least one having a meaning on its own, in this case you have to write it in one word) or part of an expression (as a sort of an adjective, in this case, való should be separate from the infinitive). When in doubt, you may find the right form in a Helyesírási Kéziszótár.
    Some examples:
    ennivaló (=food, or a very nice e.g. child: "aranyos"), but enni való tök, nem takarmány (a pumpkin for human consumption, not for animals)
    tudnivaló (= something to be known) but tudni való, hogy ez miért van így (it is important/necessary to know why it is like this)
    kidobnivaló (= one or a group of objects that need to be thrown away) but nincs kidobni való pénze (= he doesn't have money to be thrown away)
    írnivaló (= a tool you can write with) but írni való lecke (a written homework)

    So, in your examples, there are some that I would rather write in two words because I cannot think of one idea/object behind them (immediately): megédesíteni való (sütemény, kávé...), sózni való (hús, leves...), kitörölni való (betű, ...).
    But, eventually, one can imagine e.g. a pile of meat that needs salting (a sóznivalókat a tálra tettem = I put those needing salt on the plate) so it really depends on whether we can come up with a good example or not. (Sorry, no clearer recepy for this case.)

    Finally, "utaznivaló" (or even utazni való): I cannot think of an example with this, so I'd say it doesn't work. (This indicates that maybe the verb should be transitive, i.e. you should be able to use it with an object. Utazni valamit - does not exist.)
     

    javamonkey

    Member
    English - US
    "-való/való" is a suffix or additional word that is very commonly used with some words but cannot be used with other words at all and
    in some cases it's possible but not commonly said.
    Some very common ones: imádnivaló, utálnivaló, kukába való, these examples still retain the seperate meanings of the first part and the "való" suffix or additional word which means it's apt or destined for that purpose or destination.

    However, some of them have become independent nouns. Ennivaló, innivaló, tudnivaló, olvasnivaló does not actually only mean it's apt or destined to be eaten, drunk or known, or read. It technically does, but "ennivaló" has been converted to mean just "food", for example, and not "something that is appropriate to eat". These are not the same concept, the word "food" has a lot more uses than "something that's apt to eat". Like a mother will tell her kids "I made you some food" but she's unlikely to say "I made you something that's appropriate to eat".

    The other words above respectively mean: "some kind of drink", "useful information" and "reading material".

    As Zsanna described you just cannot use való with some words, like you can't say utaznivaló, or idegeskednivaló. While there might be no logic why not, you just can't. In other cases even with exact synonyms, there might be one that's very commonly used, while another form will be rarely used and some people would not even use it because it would sound unusual to them, like compare "imádnivaló" (very common) to "szeretnivaló" (much less common) or "utálnivaló" (very common) to "gyülölnivaló" (rare).

    There are numerous use cases for való, like physical destinations, "Európába való", "oda való", "a falra való", "a pokolba való", etc.
    Then physical acts done on objects: "Letörni való", "szétszedni való", "leszerelni való", etc. In these cases it's always appropriate, whatever destination or physical act you are referring to.
    However once you're outside the meaning scenarios where való can always be used, it's not so clear anymore, so best to listen to Hungarians
    which ones they actually use and when. That said if you want to amuse Hungarians feel free to add "való" to anything because they'll understand what you're trying to say and find it hilarious.
     
    Last edited:

    AndrasBP

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    As Zsanna described you just cannot use való with some words, like you can't say utaznivaló, or idegeskednivaló.
    For some curious reason, you can say "idegeskednivaló", even though "idegeskedni" is not a transitive verb. The word is mostly used in negative possessive structures such as:

    Jánosnak nincs idegeskednivalója. = János has nothing to feel anxious/nervous about.

    In a similar fashion, we also use "félnivaló", "aggódnivaló" and "örülnivaló".

    Anikónak nincs félnivalója. = Anikó has nothing to be afraid of.

    Not all examples are negative:
    Van aggódnivalónk? = Do we have anything to worry about?
    Bőven van aggódnivalóm. = I have plenty of things to worry about.
    Azt szeretném, hogy minden napra legyen valami örülnivalód. = I want you to have something to be happy about every day.
     

    javamonkey

    Member
    English - US
    For some curious reason, you can say "idegeskednivaló", even though "idegeskedni" is not a transitive verb. The word is mostly used in negative possessive structures such as:

    Jánosnak nincs idegeskednivalója. = János has nothing to feel anxious/nervous about.
    This is funny and shows the nature of some of these, because personally I would never say idegeskednivaló
    and if someone says that I would be thinking does that word exist or if I didn't know the person saying it was a native
    Hungarian I would assume they just made that word up.
    You can google these words to see how frequent they are.
    I checked "idegeskednivaló" and it has around 1200 instances online, while "idegeskedni való" has 758 instances.
    in contrast "imádnivaló" has over 8 million.
    Interestingly even "utaznivaló" turns up 192 hits, and sometimes you can actually get away with it,
    like this example obviously written by a Hungarian and it actually does not sound bad in this unusual context, because they're
    semantically combining three different concepts and then adding való to the last concept which otherwise could not take it,
    "...Meg arra a fontos tényre, hogy még rettentően sok tennivalóm, és örömteli szórakozni és utaznivaló van előttem. "
    and you can also see a few Hungarians using it as if the word existed.
    So does it actually exist? No, because it has to meet a certain threshold of usage for it to be considered a word and this clearly does not. It's just creative affixation.
     
    Last edited:

    ausermilar

    Member
    Portuguese
    Thanks for the answers. I see that taking a look at the Helyesírási Kéziszótár and common sense are the best solutions.
     

    francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I think that in case of transitive verbs the focus is on the (expressed or supposed) object, while in case of intransitive verbs the focus is put on a situation or on circumstances. E.g. :

    Ez egy sóznivaló leves.
    Ma utaznivaló időnk van.

    So I tend to think that from the grammatical point of view, -való (or való, written separately) today can be used with most (or all of?) the verbs . It's another question that some of the combinations are not (yet) commonly used or sound unusual or may sound even weird.

    (It's bit like the creation of compound words. E.g. we have háztető, but I've never heard about házpohár. Neverthless, no grammatical rule impedes the creation of such word, if the term házpohár becomes useful or meaningful.)

    Probably I've never used in my life words like idegeskednivaló, utaznivaló, szórakozni való ...., but I can clearly understand their meaning and the reason of their usage. At the same time I can imagine that the usage with intransitive verbs is secondary, in the sense that it developped later ("recently") , because it is still less common and less usual (at least for me).
     

    javamonkey

    Member
    English - US
    So I tend to think that from the grammatical point of view, -való (or való, written separately) today can be used with most (or all of?) the verbs . It's another question that some of the combinations are not (yet) commonly used or sound unusual or may sound even weird.
    Definitely not all because some verbs like modal auxiliaries have no meaning in themselves they require further context, like "tilos(ni?)való", "muszáj(ni?)való", but the modal verbs are very special class, so I agree with you. The való is an interesting suffix because in theory you have unlimited possibilities, but in real life you're limited. The English "-able" suffix is actually very similar but is much more limited.
     
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