Hungarian, as you may or may not be aware, has all these cases. No, not suitcases, linguistic cases. In practice, to someone like me who has never previously tried to learn such a language, this means that there are a bunch of suffixes to learn which can be appended to nouns or adjectives.
So far so good. I will skip over the concept of "vowel harmony" which is a truce declared after the Great Diphthong War of 1293 and still holding to this day, because while it is interesting, it's not what I want to comment upon today.
What I want to comment upon today is the idea of being in or on something. I am sure that the relevant case for this concept has a name like the plaintive case or restive case or something, but I don't know what it is, and I can't really see the value in learning it. What I need, as a student of the language, is to know that to express what English uses the preposition "in" for, one needs the suffix -ben or -ban (depending on vowel harmony, but we're not talking about that). With me so far? Now, if you are in a particular country, say, you may use this suffix to express that. Angliában, for example, means "in England". You can do this over and over: Romaniában, Spanyolorszagban (in Spain), Amerikában, etc etc. It works for every single country in the world bar one. Hungary. For some unaccountable reason you cannot be "in" Hungary, but you can only be "on" it. So you have to say Magyarorszagon. Maybe Hungary is a concept, an indeal, that can only ever be grasped at but can never be entered.
Not only that, but it works for cities too. Londonban, for example, but Budapesten. I think, but am by no means sure, that you can only be "on" most cities in Hungary, and a few others (in Cluj, for example, is actually Kolozsvaron rather than Kolozsvarban). To confuse me even further, while everyone here says Csikszeredában, often on the Duna TV channel (from Hungary, but with lots of Transylvania based news) they often say Csikszeredán.
It's a rum do, that's for sure.
PS I am well aware that English is not in any way whatsoever logical, and while you welcome to comment on how ridiculous my native language is, you will receive nothing but agreement from me. Please take it as read.
PPS. I am sure that my vowels are disharmonious at times. Feel free to taunt me.
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