"מה קופים אוכלים?"

Translation:What do monkeys eat?

July 5, 2016

40 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sebby94

I translated: מה קופים אוכלים? With: "what do monkeys eat?" But it tells me, that I am was wrong and says "What do the monkeys eat?" But קופים has no article! Please fix!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/oblivioushaze

It is fixed! (02/2019)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenSmart2

Yep, had the exact same problem here (16/06/2018)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarinaPaula

The bananas they previously counted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ReggieLinguist

What do apes eat? This should be an alternative to this phrase. Qoph (קוף) is an Ape in Hebrew.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/radagastthebrown

Technically I think apes are קופי אדם, but I would accept it anyway.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JetpackBrian

Can you break down the phrase "קופי אדם" for me? Is it monkey+red or monkey+human? If it's the latter, what does it mean when you put two nouns together?

I see from the Wikipedia articles that a קופי אדם is not a קופי. Is it unusual or typical for a Hebrew two word phrase to have that property?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danny912421

Red is אדום, so it's the other one. That would be something like "human like monkeys", which is what many languages call apes.

That is construct state - two nouns linked, and this construct is fairly common in Hebrew. Just like בית ספר - school.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IrinaPerem

Why is the answer "What are monkeys eating?" not accepted? The present form of Hebrew verb has always been translated both as present simple and as present continuous in English in previous lessons.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YardenNB

The combination of indefinite "monkeys" and present continuous doesn't make sense. Indefinite "monkeys" can only mean monkeys in general; it doesn't make sense to ask what monkeys in general are eating at this moment.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Janis559500

It is possible with a little more context or information. For example: "What are monkeys eating now that bananas are extinct?" Real life comparable sentence during covid shutdowns: "What are alcoholics drinking now that the liquor stores are closed?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eidylon

How do you know when מה is "what" vs. "how", like in "מה שלומךה"? ... And how do you know when "how" is מה vs. איך ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danny912421

Well, מה never means "how". It means "what". מה שלומך is a phrase, which is translated as "how are you", but literally it means "what is your wellbeing", but this doesn't mean anything in English. Phrases are never translated literally.

Likewise, "how" is איך.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eidylon

Ahh, got it. Thanks for the explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RhondaDeeW

Can this also mean: "What monkeys are eating?"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/radagastthebrown

If you mean in the sense of "Which monkeys are eating", then no - that would be "?אילו קופים אוכלים".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

Not correct English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/notosehe

If I understand what you mean, that would be איזה not מה


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yakuul

Is it normal that the verb doesnt follow the question word 'ma'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/radagastthebrown

Yes. Both ways are OK, they mean the same thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aleksander972957

"What are monkeys eating? Why is it wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YardenNB

Because present progressive means something happening right now. And the indefinite קופים, which you correctly translated to indefinite "monkeys", means monkeys in general; it doesn't make sense together.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aerologia

This translation seems weird to me. My mind keeps saying that I should translate the sentence as "What kind of monkeys that eat?", but that's not the case here.

I'm curious if Hebrew allows this meaning in the sentence, or that it can only mean "What do monkeys eat?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YardenNB

What do you mean by "what kind of monkeys that eat?"? It doesn't seem correct English...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aerologia

"What world are you in?" "What animal is that?"

Basically I just added the extra "kind of". The meaning shouldn't be too different.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YardenNB

It doesn't help me understand "what kind of monkeys that eat?"... "What monkeys that eat?" is also wrong, no?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeribleT

You are correct. It's not. (Neither of the questions, where you responded and questioned if it was "correct English" were correct English). It would be: what kind (or "what type") of monkey (or monkeys) eats that? What monkey eat/s that? (For example, if you were to say: I have monkey food here, it's cotton candy!... What kind of monkey eats that?)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YardenNB

OK. The Hebrew for that would be אילו קופים אוכלים את זה. The word אילו /eylu/ is the plural of איזה/איזו, and means both "what kind of" and "which".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maya205761

Why need to add the word "do" to the sentence


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YardenNB

That's how questions in English are formed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yohanan522886

the app has always accepted no interrogation sign...but now..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rubidius

Why is it that the plural of “kof” is pronounced “kofim” but the plural of “dov” is pronounced “dubim”? You’d expect “kof” to pluralise to “kupim” by the same logic.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YardenNB

That's because "kof" and "dov" originated from words that weren't so similar. Possibly at some historical (ancestor of) Hebrew "bear" was /dob/ or /dub/.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yairah

I translated this using the same order that Israelis here in Boston frequently use. מה אוכלים קופים? I'm aware that the many errors one will hear in "Street Hebrew" parallels the broken English grammar one experiences in "Street English" - but i don't believe my sentence is wrong. Nevertheless if I AM wrong, I want to know about it & specifically how is it wrong since i hear this "inverted order" a LOT ... & these are well-educated professionals. I absolutely LOVE Duolingo! Hands down this is the best app out there, IMHO! (I'm using Duo to supplement my on-going formal classes & informal ulpan conversation group.) תודה רבה לכולם!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YardenNB

TL;DR I think מה אוכלים קופים is correct and should be accepted.

Details: it's an excellent question! Generally, the inverted order (מה רוצים האנשים) is indeed fine, and actually slightly higher register than than מה האנשים רוצים; I'd expect it more in writing than in speaking.

However, with מה אוכלים קופים the problem is ambiguity between the monkeys eating and being eaten! It throws me off guard for a second: I instinctively think this is asking "what (things, creatres) eat monkeys?" To be sure, this is not a natural English sentence; similarly מה אוכלים קופים is unnatural if you want to ask about people / animals / monsters that eat monkeys. And after a moment confusion it becomes clear that the Hebrew question is about food which monkeys eat. It does sound correct for this sense; but if you want to avoid puzzling your listeners or readers, beware of the inverted order if semantically the noun could be both the subject and the object of the verb.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnitaTapie

I WROTE WHAT DO MONKEYS EAT. THEY MARKED WRONG. AND THEIR ANSWER IS ALSO WHAT DO MONKEYS EAT. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danny912421

It must have been just a glitch. It happens sometimes.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnitaTapie

I WROTE THE SAME ANSWER AND AGAIN THEY MARKED WRONG. IS IT BECAUSE I WRITE IN MAJUSCULES. I ALWAYS DO


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danny912421

You must be doing something wrong, if your answers are rejected in several exercises. I've had glitches happen, but not in the amount that you have.

Also, please stop writing in all caps. In forum etiquette, it's considered rude, as it looks like you are yelling.

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