köszön

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palabriscious

New Member
Deutsch
Sziasztok,

I am in doubt about the verbs to greet and to thank because they seem to be very similar, or even the same.

As for "to greet", the dictionary tells me "köszön" and also "köszönt". What is the difference here?
And "to thank" should be "megköszön", but the meg- prefix also disappears in sentences such as "Köszönöm szépen".

So are those verbs really the same and how do I use them properly?

I've also seen the sentence "Nincs mit köszönni" which obviously means, "There's nothing to thank for", but couldn't it also mean "There's nothing to greet"?
 
  • Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Hello palabriscious and welcome :)

    The various meanings of this word depend on the constructions used with it:
    1. köszön (or megköszön) vmit vkinek - to thank somebody for something (even when not expressed fully)
    E.g. Köszönöm (neked) (azt), hogy eljöttél. = Thank you for coming.

    2. köszön
    vkinek (with intransitive usage) - to greet somebody (again, mentioning the greeted person is not always expressed)
    E.g. Találkoztam vele, de nem köszönt (
    nekem). = I met him but he didn't greet me.

    3. köszönhet
    vmit vkinek - (this is fairly difficult to translate simply) can/may thank somebody for something, owe something to somebody...
    E.g. Csak a szerencséjé
    nek köszönheti (azt), hogy megúszta ép bőrrel. = He got away with it only because/owing to his good luck.

    Except for this last case (because of the -hat/-het suffix after the verb), the problem/difficulty is that the construction itself is not visible very often in a sentence. So much so, that often it sounds "heavy" if they appear in the sentence in everyday usage.
    The only help is that the verb is used without an object in the meaning of greet. If it is necessary, there is a possiblity to use an object with greet in Hungarian but, in that case, the verb köszönt (
    vkit) is used. There, however, there is another problem: there are at least two shades (a + b) in the meaning if the preverb "fel" is not used:
    E.g. a) Udvariasan köszöntötte, amikor találkoztak. = He greeted her politely, when they met. ("said hello")
    b) Kedvesen (
    fel)köszöntötte születésnapja alkalmából. = He greeted her kindly for her birthday. ("wished a happy birthday"/congratulate)

    You: I've also seen the sentence "Nincs mit köszönni" which obviously means, "There's nothing to thank for", but couldn't it also mean "There's nothing to greet"?
    No, because there is an object in the sentence (= "mit") which only goes with the meaning "to thank somebody for something".

    It is indeed a tricky problem for language learners. :oops:

    P.S. The usage of the preverbs meg or fel is not obligatory so it is only their presence that can help identifying the meaning. But, strictly speaking, their use is another question of Hungarian grammar...
     
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    palabriscious

    New Member
    Deutsch
    Köszönöm szépen, Zsanna :)

    Igazad van, ez az ige használata tényleg nagyon bonyolult, de nagyon köszönöm a hosszú és részletes válaszodat! Így már érthetőbbé vált számomra. Talán a legjobb módszer az lesz, hogy sok példamondatot magolok be, úgyhogy jobban érzem a különbségeket erre az igére vonatkozóan :)
     

    Lazar_Bgd

    Member
    Serbian - Serbia
    2. köszön vkinek (with intransitive usage) - to greet somebody (again, mentioning the greeted person is not always expressed)
    E.g. Találkoztam vele, de nem köszönt (
    nekem). = I met him but he didn't greet me.
    From the point of view of my language (and also English) this is also transitive, because there is an object (in Accusative), whereas in Hungarian it is expressed as indirect object (Dative). So, let's take this sentence as an example: Peter saw Mary but he didn't greet her.

    Would it be:

    Péter látta Marit, de nem köszönt (neki)
    or
    Péter látta Marit, de nem köszöntötte.
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Yes, everything depends on the angle you look at it. ;)

    Both sentences are OK but in the first sentence neki would appear (without, it sounds strange and one could even think that he didn't greet "me", this is why it is important to express who we mean).
    Just to remind you, in the second sentence, the verb is köszönt wich is a transitive verb.

    The idea of indirect object is not used in Hungarian grammar as far as I know (even if it is in other languages). See here or here (point 4.)
     
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