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  5. "הציפורים האלה שרות, והציפורי…

"הציפורים האלה שרות, והציפורים האלה ישנות."

Translation:These birds are singing, and those birds are sleeping.

July 2, 2016



So האלה is used for both these and those? There aren't two different words?


Well...in Biblical Hebrew you would have used האלה for these and ההם or ההן for those. Quite a lot of Biblical Hebrew grammar still exists, especially in formal Hebrew, so it could, in theory, still be used. But the modern trend is to simplify the language, hence so many feminine forms being dropped, especially plural forms.


So this could equally well be, "Those birds are singing, but these birds are sleeping?"


Yes. Those and these are determined by context, or gesturing if you’re there in person. And, I’ve translated the sentence both ways in review exercises, and when interchanging these and those in the sentence, either order is accepted as correct.


To me it sounds more natural, for a female plural, to use האלו or הללו. But I believe using האלה is also correct (yet, less natural to my ears..)


It might sound less natural to you (you and me both), but it's definitely much more frequently used nowadays, especially by the younger generation.

I guess that all of these options should be accepted


(Performed by the iconic Israeli singer Khava Alberstein. She has a tonne of extremely iconic songs from a career spanning decades.)


Doesn't this also mean those birds are old?


written the same, but pronounced differently (YeshEnot- asleep; YeshAnot-old)


Btw - Yashan in Hebrew means old as in SOMETHING old, not SOMEONE old. When you want to say that someone is old you will say Zaken(m) / Zkena(f). Yashan(m) / Yeshana(f) will be used for instance when you want to say that a record is old.

For that matter, if you want to say 'The birds are old', then you should say - 'הציפורים זקנות' / Hatziporim Zkenot


Unless they are statues of birds, perhaps.


So birds, in Hebrew, are someone, rather than something?


Interesting. The distinction between ישן and זקן has something to do with something vs. someone, but it seems not to be the decisive factor. English, BTW, makes exactly the same distinction - not with "old" but at the opposite end. A person is young whereas a car is new; but birds are young, trees are young, planets and stars are young! Note that all the last ones take the "it" pronoun.

So what does determine the use of "young" vs. "new"? Maybe it's when we can apply the "life cycle" concept, or metaphor. Check out "a new company" vs. "a young company", they would mean slightly different things.


I don't understand the difference between האלו and האלה


Same same, in modern Hebrew.


The answers were not consistent. One time the answer was האלו and then they changed it to האלה


Probably on purpose, as Hebrew uses the two forms interchangeably.


present in hebrew is not just a participle and can be translated both as 'they are singing', and 'they sing.' In Biblical Hebrew, there is no present, obviously, so it is a particple.

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