Brilliant wordplays of the Hungarian language

Brilliant wordplays of the Hungarian language

Facebook Tweet

Játsszunk a szavakkal! Néha nem is olyan könnyű a több jelentésű magyar szavakat angolra fordítani. Hogy miért? Nézd meg ezt a szórakoztató szójáték gyűjteményt, ebből kiderül.

The Hungarian language is fascinating and has its curiosities. The Hungarian grammar may seem like and endless challenge for foreigners. This collection of wordplays will give you an insight into the brilliant complexity of Hungarian.

A wordplay or play-on-words is defined as a literary technique and a form of wit in which the words that are used become the main subject of the work, primarily for the purpose of an intended effect or amusement.

The following Hungarian wordplays might cause some confusion due to the fact that they have several meanings.

1.  “Tiszta víz a ruhám, és ez a te lelkeden szárad” literally means “My clothes are soaking wet and this dries on your soul”. The expression “to dry on your soul” (te lelkeden szárad) means that something is your fault in Hungarian. So this way, the wordplay contrasts wet and dry.

2. “Mostanában a szép dús haj olyan ritka…” means “Nowadays nice, thick hair is so rare… . The word “ritka” has two meanings: rare and thin, so this wordplay contrasts thick and thin.

3.  “Az üzleti találkozómat egy evőeszközboltnál beszéltem meg. Kések” means “I’ve arranged my business meeting at a cutlery shop. I’m going to be late.” The Hungarian noun “kés” means knife, while the verb “késni” means to be late. So by saying “kések” I mean that I’m going to be late, but it literally means “knives” which goes perfectly well with a cutlery shop.

4. “A hóhért grimaszversenyre küldték. Eszméletlen fejeket tud vágni” literally means “The hangman was sent to a grimace competition. He can cut incredible heads” but it figuratively means that “he can pull incredible faces”. The Hungarian compound “fejet vág” has two meanings: to behead and to pull faces/grimace. This is why it is connected to a hangman in a quite bizarre way.

5. “Hogyan lehet egyszerűen repülőt hajtogatni? – Repülő, repülő, repülő…” could be literally translated to “How can you easily fold an airplane? – Airplane, airplane, airplane” but the trick here is the Hungarian verb “hajtogatni”. It means to fold and also to repeat, this is why the answer is “airplane, airplane, airplane…”.

6.  “Kannibál harcosok kínálják egymást: Kérsz egy katonát?” literally means “Cannibal warriors offering each other: Would you like a soldier?”, but the Hungarian noun “katona” has two meanings: soldier and a bite (of food). So they are actually offering food bites to each other.

7. “Egy tudóscsoport lázasan kutatja a malária ellenszerét” can literally be translated to “A research group is feverishly searching for the antidote of malaria”. However, the Hungarian adverb “lázasan” can also mean keenly, zealously besides feverishly which is, again, a bit bizarre connection to malaria.

8. “A magyar katonák a csatában hadilábon álltak” means “The Hungarian soldiers were at odds in the fight”. The literal translation of “hadiláb” would be something like “war-leg” which makes no sense in English, but it goes well with soldiers and fight. Otherwise, it means to be at daggers drawn with somebody.

9. “A focisták a 90. percben az utolsókat rúgták”  literally means “The football players were performing their last kicks in the 90th minute”, but it figuratively means “The football players were on their last legs in the 90th minute”. So the expression “utolsókat rúgja” (last kicks) means to be on one’s last legs in English.

source: dailynewshungary.com

Did you have fun? To make the most use of the expressions let’s contrast the different meanings of the Hungarian words in a table.

Hungarian expression

Definition

English expression

valami tiszta víz

very wet, usually because of rain or the weather

to be soaking wet

valaki lelkén szárad

it’s someone’s mistake/shortcoming

it is someone’s fault

ritka

1. not occurring very often

2. not too dense

1. rare

2. thin

kések

1. I’m not going to be there on time

2. plural of knife

1. I’m going to be late

2. knives

fejet vágni

1. to cut off a head

2. to grimace, to make strange faces

1. to behead

2. to pull faces

hajtogatni

1. to bend

2. to say again and again

1. to fold

2. to repeat

katona

1. a military person

2. a small portion of food

1. soldier

2. a bite of food

lázasan

1. in a feverish state

2. passionately

1. feverishly

2. keenly, zealously

hadilábon állni

to be angry and ready to fight or argue with each other

to be at daggers drawn with somebody.

utolsókat rúgni

1. to be almost finished with kicking

2. to be in a very bad shape

1. to kick the ball for the last time

2. to be on one’s last legs

Vocabulary

fascinating

csodálatos, lenyűgöző

curiosity

érdekesség, különlegesség

endless

végtelen

wordplay

szójáték

complexity

összetettség

literary

irodalmi

wit

humor, szellemesség

for the purpose of

valamilyen célból

amusement

szórakoztatás

confusion

zavar

due to

valami miatt

literally

szó szerint

to contrast

szembeállítani

rare

nem elterjedt, ritka

thin

ritka, gyér

cutlery

evőeszköz

hangman

hóhér

incredible

hihetetlen

figuratively

átvitt értelemben

to behead

lefejezni

to pull faces

képeket vágni, grimaszolni

to fold

hajtani, hajtogatni

to repeat

ismételni

warrior

harcos

feverishly

lázasan

antidote

ellenszer

keenly

buzgón

zealously

buzgón, lelkesen

to be at odds

hadilábon áll valakivel

to be at daggers drawn with sy

rosszban lenni, hadilábon állni

kick

rúgás

to be on one’s last legs

utolsókat rúgni, nagyon rosszul lenni/állni

Nehézségi szint:
minden szint
Tetszett a lecke? Oszd meg barátaiddal is!
Kapcsolódó anyagok

“Beszelni kicsi magyar…” A video about the difficulties of the Hungarian language

Nehéznek találod az angolt? Magyarul megtanulni még sokkal nehezebb! Nézd meg ezt a vicces videót a magyarul tanuló külföldiekről!
Tovább

Hungarian Inventions and Their Inventors

Jöjjön most egy rövid, de nagyon érdekes olvasmány a magyar találmányokról. 
Tovább

Rio De Janeiro’s Christ Statue to Light up in Hungarian Stripes

A Megváltó Krisztus szobor magyar színekben. Megtudhatod, hogy miért, ha elolvasod a cikket. A videóból többet is megtudhatsz a szoborról.
Tovább

Sweet Things: 13 classic Hungarian candies

Sport szelet és Balaton szelet, szőlőcukor és krumplicukor. Hogyan mutatnád be jellegzetes magyar édességeinket angolul? Olvass róluk itt!
Tovább