"You can hear the birds."

Translation:שומעים את הציפורים.

June 24, 2016

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So is there no difference between "You CAN hear the birds" and "You hear the birds"?

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You hear the birds - אתה שומע את הציפורים In the English sentence "You" is used as the "generic you". This grammatical construction does not exist in Hebrew (as you can see from here, the third plural from is used to express this meaning).

It's also possible to translate the English sentence as "אתה יכול לשמוע את הציפורים". In this case "You" is used as the second person singular pronoun, and not as the generic one.


Why not אפשר? People use this form all the time.


I just used אפשר, and Duolingo marked as correct.


That means "it is possible", so it's accurate, but it wouldn't match the direct translation of this exercise.


I'm not sure it's any less direct than שומעים. It's even more literal, because you have a word-for-close-word match between "can" and אפשר.


I don't know if it is worth reporting but as a native Hebrew speaker growing up with Hebrew speaker I believe not even one of the people I know would translate this sentence this way.

I truely am shocked by this translation.


How would you translate this?


I can think of a few translations.

For the general you: אפשר לשמוע את הציפורים.

For the plural you: אתם יכולים לשמוע את הציפורים.

For the singular you: אתה יכול לשמוע את הציפורים.

Only within context שומעים את הציפורים might be acceptable (like in "It is so quiet here that you can hear the birds" which can be translated to כל כך שקט כאן ששומעים את הציפורים) but even in this case אפשר לשמוע את הציפורים would be more natural.


I'm a native Hebrew speaker, too, has been living in Israel for all my 47 years; FWIW it sounds perfectly natural to me. Indeed, it requires some context, but that context can be no more than תקשיב, שומעים את הציפורים! Or, Q & A: מה אתה אוהב בפארק הזה? שומעים את הציפורים. I agree that אפשר לשמוע is equally natural, but I don't think it's more natural.


I would think שומעים את הציפורים is "you hear the birds," not "you can hear the birds," no?


I thought that יכול was a participle. Shouldn't it be יוכל?


Not sure what a participle is, but yuchal is future third person, more like "He will be able to hear the birds singing." Perhaps somebody more official will jump in here with the specific grammar in this case. I've been waiting 3 weeks for a reply to my question.


Actually this is true for spoken Hebrew. As much as I know in proper Hebrew יכול is an adjective so it should be יהיה יכול and not יוכל.


Just checked in Even Shoshan: יכול is a verb, and the future יוכל actually appears in the bible (1 Samuel 3:2).

The thing about this verb that throws native speakers off is that it's past tense, properly, irregularly has the /o/ like the present. So you should say יכולתי - most speakers have no problem with that - and, in 3rd person singular - יכול, identical between past and present. That is unbearable to most speakers. Less educated ones might say יכל /yakhal/, and extend it to יכלתי /yakhalti/. More educated speakers will add היה, only to the 3rd person singular: הוא היה יכול לשמוע את הציפורים. That, in turn, might draw some reflective speakers or learners to think that יכול is an adjective.


The problem we're encountering is actually with English, because we can say in English "one" or "you" and they have the same referent. Hebrew uses יכל also but in this impersonal construction when we render it into English "can" works sometimes. It's really an issue with English. One hears birds [here] or one can hear birds [around here or over there] or we hear birds or we can hear birds or you hear birds [in these parts].

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since you are using the word "can" why are you not able to use "יכול"


You could. That would just be less immediate translation to the most immediate English meaning, or a more immediate translation to the less immediate English meaning...


shom'ím et ha-tziporím.


'You' could also be singular. I wrote 'אתא יכול לשמע הציפורים'. Is this incorrect?


Yes, as you wrote it. You is אתה and you are missing the direct object marker את before the birds, so it would be אתה יכול לשמוע את הציפורים. However, this lesson is trying to teach us "impersonal you", which omits the pronoun and has the verb in the plural - שומעים את הציפורים.


Me gustaría tener está explicacion en spañol. En este caso se omite una clausula completa. "you can". Cual sería la regla gramatical? Tampoco puedo ver la relacion con "אפשר acuurate" I need much more examples.


En inglés, es más natural decir "can hear" (puedes oír) que simplemente "hear" (oír). Lo mismo está en hebreo.

En cuanto a אפשר "posible", como Yarden ya explicó, tanto שומעים como אפשר שומעים son igualmente correctos.

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