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  5. "כלביהם של הגברים שותים מים."

"כלביהם של הגברים שותים מים."

Translation:The men's dogs are drinking water.

June 30, 2016



I haven't seen the redundancy of יהם- with של... before; is it frequent, and when does one choose to use it?


Its mostly formal but sometimes used informally


So if I wanted to say that it was the men drinking the water would I use -ש to create the subordinate clause?


Yes, כלביהם של הגברים ששותים מים = the dogs of the men who are drinking water


I think this sentence means the dogs of the men who are drinking water, as in the men are drinking water. I would say כלביהם של הגברים הם אלה ששותים מים


That's what he asked though ("...it was the men drinking the water...).

Your sentence means "the men's dogs are the ones drinking the water", which doesn't mean the men drink the water.


From this sentence I infer that you can use both possessive construction at the same time?


Not exactly, although I see why it looks like that. You can say כלביהם or הכלבים שלהם, these are the two forms, so far you are right. But if you want to specify whose dogs particularly, you need to add של הגברים. If you used הכלבים שלהם, it would become הכלבים של הגברים. If you used כלביהם, you could say, כלבי הגברים, that's formally correct but not in daily use. Or you could say כלביהם של הגברים.


Well, this is confusing. Such redundancy in languages (like repeating the possessive twice, as a suffix and as a של-phrase) is not a common thing.


I don't know about common, but I'm sure examples can be found in any language. I would argue that all languages seem strange when we are not used to them.


I've never heard of this in any other language. Hebrew seems to use the possessive pronoun suffix and then also include the actual possessed noun in the same sentence. For example, ספרו של האיש and הספר של האיש seem to mean the same thing and be used equally.


I'm not a linguist, nor do I know many languages, but I remember coming across the ne+pas combination in French and thinking: why do we need to negations? And when you say "I am", why do you need the "I"? "Am going" would be a perfectly unambiguous sentence if it were considered grammatical. In Hebrew where the verb is unambiguous we can drop the pronoun, for example, הלכתי. What's with the redundancy, English? :-)


I fully agree! An interesting point is that the Japanese often drop the subject of their sentences even though all their verbs conjugate identically, by which I mean, he goes, you go, we go, if it’s in the present tense, iku for go is correct for any pronoun. But then they often drop the subject of the sentence and you’re supposed to know who is being talked about by context. Hebrew makes more sense here.


Good point! All languages have redundancies.


Patricia Kaas has a song called:

Mon Mec à moi.


I would like comments on Hebrew translations of:

A. My own ...

B. My very own ...


The exact same construction is found in Syriac, which May point to an aramaic influence on Hebrew. In classical syriac you can write:

ܟܠܒܗܘܢ ܕܓܢܒܪ̈ܐ

[kalb-hon d-ga(n)bre]

Kalb= dog Hon=their D= hebrew shel Ga(n)bre= men

As you can see even the single words are very similar.


There is a German dialect (not hochdeutsch=standard German, though) where instead of "das Buch des Mannes" (the man's book) or "das Buch von dem Mann" (the book of the man , the dative with preposition is often used as a substitute for the genitive in spoken German) one would say "dem Mann sein Buch" (of the man his book).


Turkish and Finnish are the examples


Turkish and Finnish are the examples.


I've definitely seen it in Spanish


Right, but be aware that ܓܰܒ̈ܪܶܐ [gavre], Hebrew גְּבָרִים means men, but ܓܰܢ̄ܒܳܪ̈ܶܐ [gabore], Hebrew גִּבּוֹרִים, warriors or heros.


Redundancy is actually a critical componant of all languages. children use it to learn without explicit instruction through a process called bootstrapping, where they infer the meaning or grammar of a new element based on the familiar elements in the rest of the utterance. It also makes it easier for adult speakers to comprehend what someone is saying, even if some of the words are undiscernible or if part of the utterance is cut off, as happens frequently when people speak to each other in real time. This is probably why inherently redundant things like agreement and double negation are common among the world's languages :)


Well, we do have "a friend of mine" where, logically speaking, you might expect "a friend of me". Even, colloquially "a friend of mine's" which appears to be a triple redundant possessive. This is still weird, though.


DL introduces us to an important feature of Hebrew--the redundant or anticipatory pronoun. It's common to Semitic languages (Arabic, Aramaic, Syriac) and is found in late classical Hebrew (Can 3:7). It was common in rabbinic Hebrew. Thus, when Hebrew was being revived, it would be odd to not have it be a feature of modern Hebrew. It's good to get used to it out of respect for the deep tradition and to be able to spot it when you see or hear it. E.g., אמה של הילדה, "the mother of the girl." Anticipatory pronoun is a feature of modern Greek. Spanish redundant indirect object pronoun has some similarity.


I think redundancy is very common in languages, often for emphasis. Added bonus Bright sunny day Cease and desist Each and every End result Free gift Honest truth Never ever ever New innovations Null and void Past history Plan ahead Regular routine Rough estimation Sum total Twelve midnight Unexpected surprise


So is הכלבים של הגברים also correct?


Please would you explain "כלבי הגברים" (your penultimate example). I thought that would mean "My dog the men".

Do you know if "כלביהם של הגברים" would be used in normal speech or communication. "הכלבים של הגברים" seems much more elegant to me but then my brain thinks in English not Hebrew!


כלבי (kalbi) = my dog


כלבי (kalvei) = dogs of


It's actually kalvey (and most native speakers would use kalbey).

As for what is used in normal speech, הכלבים של הגברים is the most common in this case.

ll כלבי הגברים is not great, would rarely be used if at all.

ll כלביהם של הגברים could be used, it's very common in newspapers, books, speeches, etc. when you want to sound more formal.


I thought "their dogs" is pronounced כַּלְבֵיהֶם, i.e, [kalveyhem], not with [b]. Only the singular forms have a plosive, like כַּלְבִּי [kalbi] or כַּלְבְּכֶם [kalbkhem].


What if you wanted to say, "The men's dog is drinking water?"


Well, using the Aramaic construction with the anticipatory pronoun that would be כַּלְבָּם שֶׁל הַגְּבָרִים שׁוֹתֶה מַ֫יִם [kalbam ...].


Indeed; the canonical literary example is כלבם של בני בסקרוויל - "The Hound of the Baskervilles"


why not kalbo?


Because the dog is not possessed by one man, but by several men: their dog [כַּלְבָּם], i.e. the one of the men


Wouldn't it be the same to say, "כלבים של הגברים?"

The כלביהם feels like an unneeded complexity


You can say הכלבים של הגברים.


University professors, lawyers, scholars, many professions have people who love to use unusually complex or obscure words and you might think they do so in order to seem especially intelligent. But often their speech is switched into this higher stratosphere merely because it’s expected. A college student uses this kind of vocabulary when he’s writing his school paper and that’s proper; it gives his writing a dignified ring, less like the speech of a high schooler. Would you think that “Fourscore and seven years ago” is unneeded complexity? When Lincoln gave his Gettysburg address in 1865, this way of counting was not in common use, but his words evocative of a former age gave his speech just the right level of grandeur. Yes I know that a speech is not comparable to regular talking, but sometimes people just like to make their words a little fancier than usual.


Bad prononciation !!!

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