Word Order – Double Question


So this time it’s about DOUBLE QUESTION. At least in Hungarian. Take a look at this to understand what I mean:

Mit mondtál, hova megy?
Where did you say he’s going?

First let’s translate the Hungarian sentence literally:

What did you say, where is he going? 

As you see there are two question words Mit? (What?) and Hova? (Where?), while the English sentence is satisfied with one question word Where?

That would be the rule: If you ask what a person said/heard… about a second person and you’re interested in what the second person does, you need two question words in Hungarian. The first question is usually: Mit? Hogy? Note that Mit? is accusative case.

More examples with literal translations:

Mit mondtak, mikor érkezünk meg?
When did they say we’ll arrive?
What did they say, when will we arrive?

Mit gondolsz, ki vagy te?
Who do you think you are?
What do you think, who are you?

Mit hallottál, hogyan halt meg a nő?
How did you hear the woman died?
What did you hear, how did the woman die?

Hogy mondtátok, mit követtem el?
What did you say I committed?
How/What did you say, what did I commit?

Mit hittél, honnan került elő?
Where did you think he came up from?
What did you believe, where did he come up from?

Mit mondott, milyen színű a ház?
What color did he say the house is?
What did he say, what color is the house?

Mit képzeltél, melyik felnőtt bárba engednek be?
Which adult bar did you think they’ll let you in?
What did you think, which adult bar will they let you in?

Mit láttak, kinek adta a tolvaj a szajrét?
Who did they see the thief gave the swag to?
What did they see, who did the thief give the swag?

Of course, a language always offers mor possibilities to express something in a different way. The sentences above can be said like this with no double question:

Mikorra mondták, hogy megérkezünk?
Kinek gondolod magad?
Hogy hallottad, hogy a nő meghalt?
Mit mondtatok, hogy elkövettem?
Honnan hitted, hogy előkerült?
Milyen színűnek mondta a házat?
Melyik felnőtt bárba képzelte, hogy beengedik?
Kinek láttad, hogy a tolvaj átadja a szajrét?

If you take my advice, you should use Kinek gondolod magad? without hesitation. However, even if the other sentences are valid, the ones with double questions sound more like Hungarian. Just like English sentences with one question sound more like English, if you see what I mean.

All right. The next topic will be NEGATION. See ya! 🙂

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