Olvashatnékom van

It is quite a unique feature in the Hungarian language. I have no knowledge about whether other languages are able to use this construction or not. It is something we should call a Hungarianism. Use this grammar solution and you sound more like a Hungarian. That’s all.

Our example for the explanation is taken from the title. So here it is:

Base verb + suffix for possibility/permission + -nék + possessive ending
olvas + -hat + -nék + -om

a)    If the base verb is a back (deep)-vowel word, it takes the back-vowel suffix for possibility/permission -hat: olvashat. If the base verb is a front (high)-vowel word, it takes the high-vowel suffix for possibility/permission -het.

b)    Then the verb equipped with -hat or -het takes the first person suffix for conditional mood, indefinite conjugation -nék: olvashatnék. Remember this suffix is the same for both front- and back-vowel verbs: aludhatnék, élhetnék, ülhetnék…

c)    After adding -nék, we attach a possessive ending according to who is doing the action. So we choose number (singular or plural) and person (first, second, third).

d)    BE CAREFUL WITH THE POSSESSIVE ENDINGS. Just because the last element the possessive ending is attached to is -nék, it does not mean that vowel harmony goes hand in hand with it. Whether the possessive endings are front or back-vowel is decided based on the type of the base verb. Olvas is back-vowel, so it takes the possessive ending -om.

The j of the third person possessive endings is omitted: -a, -e, -uk, -ĂĽk. A table for better understanding:

TYPE OF VERB

BASE VERB

WITH -HAT, -HET AND   -NÉK

POSSESSIVE ENDINGS

Back-Vowel olvashatnék olvashatnék -om
olvashatnék -od
olvashatnék -a
olvashatnék -unk
olvashatnék -otok
olvashatnék -uk
Front-vowel tévézhetnék
főzhetnék
tévézhetnék
főzhetnék
-em
-em
tévézhetnék
főzhetnék
-ed
-ed
tévézhetnék
főzhetnék
-e
-e
tévézhetnék
főzhetnék
-ĂĽnk
-ĂĽnk
tévézhetnék
főzhetnék
-etek
-etek
tévézhetnék
főzhetnék
-ĂĽk
-ĂĽk

Then we add the verb ’to be’: van. In this case, van is in correlation with a word equipped with a possessive ending. That means: van should be equivalent to ’to have’ in English. From a contextual point of view it is. However, English has its own construction: to feel like.

Olvashatnékom van. – I feel like reading.
Ehetnékem van. – I feel like eating.

-Miért iszol egész nap? -Mert ihatnékom van.
-Why are you drinking all day? -Because I feel like drinking.

-Már két órája csak ültök. -Tudjuk. -Ezért van most állhatnékunk.
-All you’ve been doing for two hours now is sitting. -We know. That’s why we feel like standing right now.

-Mit csinálnak? -Semmit. Nézhetnékük van. Megérkeztek a pom-pom lányok. -Hirtelen nekem is nézhetnékem támadt.
-What are they doing? -Nothing. They feel like watching. The cheerleaders have arrived. -Suddenly I feel like watching, too.

Note that this construction cannot be used if a noun follows the verb. You can’t say:

Nézhetnékem van a lányokat.

In this case, you say:

Kedvem van nézni a lányokat.
I’m in the mood for watching the girls.