Well, drake can be of couse translated as בַּרְוָז, but the opposition of בַּרְוָז to בַּרְוָזָה is weak, because the female form is seldom used and the main function of בַּרְוָז is to indicate the general species. As the sex of an animal does not influence the membership in the kingdom of birds, I would always read בַּרְוָז as duck here, but you are free to do otherwise, as there is no separate word for drake available.
Well, in sentences like this uninflected זֶה should be possible: הֵרָיוֹן זֶה לֹא מַחֲלָה pregnancy (masc.sing.) is not a disease (fem.sing.) or דִּבּוּרִים זֶה לֹא מַעֲשִׂים words are not deeds. Lewis Glinert (§18.2.4 of The Grammar of Modern Hebrew) writes: "זֶה ... agrees for gender, not number - but usually with its predicate, not its subject; and where the subject is generic, זֶה tends to be uninflected". PS: Yes, you are right, bird is feminine in Hebrew: צִפּוֹר קְטַנָּה a little birdie
So, the literal translation is
A duck, this, a bird?
How come 'this' can be translated as a bird to be.
I am aware that
ברווז האו ציפור
makes sense, especially with my knowledge of arabic. But why זה can be the be the verb to be (is) is confusing to me. I would appreciate an explanation
I'm a native Hebrew speaker and a very amateur linguist, and I can't easily think of an explanation. It is a fact, though: זה seems to be capable of replacing הוא as a copula under some conditions (from a quick thought, the thing after it must be a noun or a pronoun or a noun phrase, but not an adjective; an adjective would still require "הוא"). I'll bet, though not confidently, that it didn't exist 100 years ago, and 60 years ago it would have been considered colloquial.
Well, my impression is, that using זה in purely declarative sentences like דְּבָרִים זֶה לֹא מַעַשִׂים words are not deeds sound casual, but are quite established in higher style in definitions, i.e, when you specify that A is B, like here: What is the definition of a duck? Well, a duck is determined by being a bird!
Well, in one discussion thread I cited L. Glinert §18.2.4: In declarative clauses, copula זֶה is strictly casual. It agrees in gender, not number - but usually with its predicate, not its subject. Example: הַבַּ֫יִת שֶׁלְּךָ זֹאת דֻּגְמָה טוֹבָה your house it a good example.
Sounds to me distinctly less natural than הבית שלך זה דוגמה טובה. But I feared that my judgement is already tainted by over-thinking it. So I hust asked my wife (also a native speaker). She instinctively preferred זאת. Then we both mulled it over (she agreed with me that using הוא/היא is better and more natural anyway), and then she preferred ברווז זה ציפור over ברווז זאת ציפור (with her back to the wall, because she now disliked both).
So in short, this is a slippery spot of Hebrew. I wouldn't even trust a linguist's opinion here, if it's based on introspection. I would only trust a research that actually went to the street and asked a good sample of Hebrew speakers - or better yet, analyzed a corpus of spontaneous speaking and writing.
I would also expect Duo to accept it, since many Israelis would write it this way, but to be strict, the rules of כתיב לא מנוקד require two vav's, and require כל without vav if followed by a noun or a noun pharse (and it's always followed by a noun or a noun phrase, except in some set phrases such as חוסר כול). That's the best of my knowledge.
Well, in English you have names for the female, male and the general name for the species, like stallion, mare, horse. Hebrew works like tiger, tigresse, tiger, i.e. has a special female form, but uses the masculine form also for the species. For some animals there is only a special male form in English like a male falcon is a tiercel. But if I see בַּז in a Hebrew text, I would normally assume it to be a falcon, and not more specially a tiercel. The same with בַּרְוָז: Usually generically a duck, but it can be a male drake.