Tomatoes, cucumbers etc are fruits according to botanical definitions and vegetables according to colloquial/culinary usage. It is 100% correct to say a tomato is a vegetable and there is no conflict with the botanical definition because the term "vegetable" is not really used in botany and is limited to culinary usage.
Unless you are speaking from the standpoint of Jewish prayer. When offering blessings before eating, you would consider the categories of your food.
"Fruits" as we would understand them, could be either grapes (as juice or wine), or tree-bearing fruit; those carry two of their own blessings. Everything else would be "produce grown directly from the earth."
So tomatoes, cranberries, watermelon, etc. might all be fruit from a biological standpoint; but they would get lumped in with vegetables, because they don't grow on a tree.
I think that both are fair translations. Translation is not necessarily best when done literally word-by-word. E.g., we translate "מיץ גזר" to "carrot juice" (as expected), but we do not translate "מיץ תפוזים" as "oranges juice".
So we should consider the most likely way that this would be expressed in English. Google just gave me "About 598 results" for "Tomatoes and cucumbers are vegetables" (with quotation marks), but only "About 5 results" for "Tomato and cucumber are vegetables"; that's from Websites. From books, we get the same favorite, showing about 8 books with "Tomatoes and cucumbers are vegetables" and none with "Tomato and cucumber are vegetables".
Whenever I hear "or" on Duolingo I think that's "and" in songs it's not so obvious... Imho... here's a good example it's time set for the chorus (where he sings "and" as a v sound and the u sound. (Song is Ahat Uletamid" once and for all) אחת ולתמיד http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zZXB_ixeXE&t=1m0s
It actually didn't, but that's a common mistake. With labial consonants (like מ) the ו prefix is an oo sound instead of a v sound. I was looking around, and I don't think it was mentioned in any unit notes (maybe I missed it), so perhaps the Hebrew team will want to add that somewhere.
No, the word hem הם is not an indicator of a question. It means "They" - and the construction of the sentence is to create a replacement for the verb "to be," which doesn't exist in the present tense in Hebrew. So, using another sentence as an example, "Tigers and bears are animals." would be word for word in Hebrew "Tigers and bears, 'they' animals." It seems terrible in English, but the emphasis when speaking Hebrew changes ones perception of how the meaning is conveyed. So, in other words, it's like (pointing) THOSE TWO - they are ANIMALS!
"Hem" ( הם ) is the third-person plural masculine pronoun "they", which in the present tense also translates to "they are". Even if it is not grammatically necessary, a pronoun may be included for clarification or emphasis.
Start with the last two words, הם ירקות, "they are vegetables". Then, you might think of the sentence conceptually as something like "Tomato and cucumber, they are vegetables." In the actual translation, we don't include "they", so the pronoun also functions as a stand-in for the present tense verb "to be".
At first, the pronoun seems confusing, redundant at best. But without that pronoun we might get the wrong meaning. When used in this manner, the pronoun functions as a "copula" (אוֹגֵד, ogéd), which is explained in the course notes for the "Adj. 1" skill at
Also I think it's badly done of them - half the time they mark you wrong for using it in Hebrew, and half the time you're marked wrong for translating questions into English when it's not there, but they want you to translate it as it is. Ie, do you want water vs you want water?
There's nothing wrong with the use of "hem" ( הם ) in this lesson, and the course notes for the "Adj. 1" skill explain that usage.
However there are many other lessons with inconsistencies and errors, including some glaring ones that have remained for years despite attempts by many people to notify the course creators.
Having shopped in the shuk many times, I have heard the vendors shouting out their various fruits and vegetables. Always in the singular, even though they usually have many of each.
I wonder whether Hebrew uses the singular for the names of foods. In English, we don't do that; but it seems to me that in Hebrew, we do.
I for one really appreciate that the plural ("tomatoes and cucumbers") is accepted as correct, since it sounds much more natural in English than using the singular ("tomato and cucumber"). It's good to go beyond literal word for word translations and translate expressions in the way that sounds most natural in each language.
It might be agvania umelafefon.
Some letters can make the vav be pronounced like oo as in moon. I learned them as ב, מ, פ, ש (Shin, and I'm not sure about Sin) before I came to live in Israel, and I have heard this violated as well as kept. I have seen other letters do this in prayer books (ל, for example).
Hope this helps a little.
The pronunciation of the vav may also depend on the vowel that goes with the letter following it. I haven't seen that with the letters ב, מ, פ, but with ש the Nakdan website gives examples such as:
for Shin, "וּשְׁלוֹם" ("ushlom"), but also "וְשָׁלוֹם" ("veshalom"); and
for Sin, "וּשְׂחֵה" ("uskhe"), but also "וְשָׂח" ("vesakh").