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Declension of titles

Posted: 2008-07-28, 23:29
by Psi-Lord
This is a topic I often think of, so it sounds kind of familiar, and I can only hope I haven’t asked about it before. :D

When it comes to languages possessing declensions, I always wonder how they treat titles of books, films, CDs etc. I mean, do they:

a) decline the title treating the words as they normally would if they weren’t a title,

b) use the words for ‘book’, ‘film’, ‘CD’ etc., make it obvious it’s their titles, and then decline such words themselves (and not the titles),

c) keep the titles invariable,

d) or do something else?

So, where does Hungarian stand? And might I have some translation examples as well?

TIA! :)

Re: Declension of titles

Posted: 2008-07-29, 10:19
by Levo
Hi Psi-Lord!

There is one movie title "Back to the future" which ends with a case: -be (into)
"Vissza a jövőbe"
When you want to say:
In the movie "into the future" most people say "A Vissza a jövőben" (-ben=in) so they decline it, but badly :) because if they already decline it, it had to be "Vissza a jövőbében". But it sounds so weird. I use this latter one though, but actually it is hard to find any correct way to express this grammatically correct.
Otherwise most people try to avoid declining titles using other grammatical forms, but I usually decline titles.

Re: Declension of titles

Posted: 2008-08-01, 0:04
by gorilla
You got right into it. One weakness of Hungarian.
I can't think of any good way... I think people should avoid such titles :D

But in theory, you should handle titles as new words using the default rules, and add the suffix accordingly.
For example there was a newspaper called Tükör (Mirror), but you have to say Tükört in accusative, instead of the normal "tükröt", which is used normally, when not in the title.

Similarly even if names are words that are somehow "exceptional" in normal usage, you use it as if it was not exceptional, the default rules apply.
E. g. president of Hungary is called Sólyom László, Sólyom being the surname, it means Hawk.
Normally if you want to put hawk, sólyom into accusative you say sólymot, but in case of the name, you say Sólyomot, as the name is treated as something "new".

But I still don't like this "Vissza a jövőbe" + -ben thing. No good solution there, weak point of the language.

Re: Declension of titles

Posted: 2008-08-02, 1:56
by Psi-Lord
Very curious (and interesting), guys. :) Köszönöm!

Re: Declension of titles

Posted: 2008-08-23, 13:58
by Bondi
Let me add my suggestions:

Written language: b)
Spoken language: a) (or c), if they sound too weird)


Written: Olvastad a Godot-ra várva című drámát?
(Have you read the drama ‘Waiting for Godot’?)

Spoken, colloquial: „Olvastad a Godot-ra várvát?” or „Olvastad azt, hogy Godot-ra várva?”
(Have you read ‘Waiting for Godot’?)

„Abban a filmben, hogy Vissza a jövőbe...”

Obviously, this construction can't be used in every situation, but helps a lot.

Re: Declension of titles

Posted: 2008-08-26, 12:58
by Kenny
Well, I personally would never put it that way (i.e. Abban a filmben, hogy ....) but it might be just me. It sounds...weird. I don't know if it's gramatically correct though, probably, if you say so.

When it comes to talking about this movie in particular, I usually say "Vissza a jövőbében"...okay, it does sound stupid, but I couldn't find a better way that feels natural.

Re: Declension of titles

Posted: 2008-08-26, 14:25
by hotfruit38
Is it not possible to write for example "A filmben " title of the film or book" " ?

Re: Declension of titles

Posted: 2008-08-26, 15:59
by Levo
hotfruit38 wrote:Is it not possible to write for example "A filmben " title of the film or book" " ?

No :) That is a typical Indo-European construction.

Re: Declension of titles

Posted: 2008-08-26, 19:00
by CoBB
hotfruit38 wrote:Is it not possible to write for example "A filmben " title of the film or book" " ?

There is at least something similar: a <title> című filmben/könyvben. However, this is not something you’ll actually hear from people, but you can use it if you absolutely want to avoid double declension, since you can leave the title as is.

De legalább van valami hasonló: a <cím> című filmben/könyvben. Ezt mondjuk nem nagyon hallani a beszélt nyelvben, viszont használhatod akkor, ha mindenképpen el akarod kerülni a dupla ragozást, mert a címet változatlanul hagyhatod.