"הוא מלמד אותי קללות בעברית."
Translation:He teaches me curses in Hebrew.
Sounds awkward to me. Any native speakers want to pass judgment on that one?
It is a proper sentence. We may not often say it like that, but it is totally acceptable.
For me it sounds awkward too, I think it's wrong. Not a native English speaker, though.
The only thing that sounds odd in that sentence is the word "curses," which sounds like something one's grandmother might say, when applied to profanity. In contemporary US English, I hear "profanity" in more formal situations and "swear words" or "dirty words" in very informal situations. I used to hear "cussing" or "cuss words" as a child but that might reflect my family's Midwestern roots.
@James, I wouldn't say it sounds grannyish to say קללות, it just sounds too official for the context. I'd say it should have been הוא מלמד אותי לקלל בעברית, which stands for he teaches me to curse in Hebrew in the first place.
Maybe a silly question, would this generally be used to mean "profanity" or "evil spells"? Because the English can mean either.
קללות can refer to profanity But usually yakking vulgar means לדבר גס (lit. Talk gross).
I'd say that in English there's a different nuance between "Hebrew curses" and "curses in Hebrew". Teaching me curses in Hebrew suggests that the curses could be originating from any language or culture, but I'm learning how to translate them into the Hebrew tongue. Teaching me Hebrew curses suggests that the curses arise from Hebrew, but I'm learning how to say them in my language.
A קלל could be just a single word?
The single word for it is קללה. Generally speaking (there are a bunch of irregulars), you can tell that the single word will end with -ה when the word in plural has the female suffix -ות
Yes, of course, I had forgotten it was feminine. So, can קללה refer to a single word, or must it be a whole phrase, what we in English would more commonly call a curse?
Sorry, I was writing on my phone on the subway and the spellchecker turned "single" into "sinless." I don't mean to offend anyone, but my question is whether a קללה would have to be a phrase that might be understood as a curse in English, such as "go to Hell," or whether it could be a single forbidden word, such as "❤❤❤❤."
The word קללה can be used to described either (a phrase or a single word). You can also say הוא מקולל = he is cursed. הוא מקלל = he curses/is cursing.