"הם בעל ואישה."

Translation:They are husband and wife.

July 12, 2016

66 Comments
This discussion is locked.


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

In any case, there's a tendency among progressive couples in Israel to use בן זוג (partner, literally "son of a couple") instead on בעל, because of the archaic and patriarchal origin of the latter. My husband, for example, doesn't like to be called my "owner", neither do I like to call someone my "owner". So he's not בעלי but בן זוג שלי.


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

While I'm pretty sure my wife would not want to call me her lord, I don't think she would want to call me her son of any kind either.


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

Using בן and בת is pretty common in similar expressions in Hebrew, and it means basically a person, not a son or daughter. E.g. בן משפחה is a family member, בן אדם is simply a person, etc.


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

But, of course, that is only true in the same sense that בעל is not owner or lord.


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

Also, she wouldn't be calling you her son, you'd be a "son of a couple" and she'd be a "daughter of a couple".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NaftaliFri1

"son of" is used figuratively to mean "member of" or sometimes even "owner/holder of".


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

Wouldn't I be "her son of a couple" and she "my daughter of a couple"?


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

the translation "son of a couple" is literal, בן זוג actually means "partner".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Its-me.

What if they came from a one parent family?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

Well, even if you grew up in a מִשְׁפָּחָה חַד-הוֹרִית, you are not born by parthenogenesis.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Its-me.

Yes, but a couple implies togetherness and a relationship.


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

it is wrong saying that בעל is lord or owner, those are two different roots, although both are ב.ע.ל (and it does come from בעילה, not בעלות), it's like there are a few different ד.ב.ר roots... either way there is also רעי the masc form or רעייתי (though really archaic and probably no one will understand you), and of course אישי. btw, according the Bible, it is much more correct to say אישּי than בעלי, as it is written "וְהָיָ֤ה בַיּוֹם־הַהוּא֙ נְאֻם־יְהֹוָ֔ה תִּקְרְאִ֖י אִישִׁ֑י וְלֹא־תִקְרְאִי־לִ֥י ע֖וֹד בַּעְלִֽי׃" ("And it shall come to pass on that day, says the Lord, you shall call [Me] Ishi, and you shall no longer call Me Baali." Hosea 2 18. Jewish Bible)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NaftaliFri1

The form רעייתי is accompanied by the דודי partner, as far as I can recall.

The verse you gave with אישי does not prove correct usage - they are synonyms.


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

the word רעיה comes from The Song of Songs (and there are doubts whether it refers a married woman or not) either way, as there a masculine form to this word "זֶ֤ה דוֹדִי֙ וְזֶ֣ה רֵעִ֔י" (chapter 5 verse 16), and based on the fact that רעיה has taken root in the sense of married woman, it shall mean a married man. plus, when The Academy been asked to renew another word for "husband", they noted that there are indeed alternatives in the Bible - "רֵעִי" and "אִישִּי".

About whether it is more correct to say "בעל" or "אישּי", it is not reflected in the verse itself, but it is discussed in this chapter that the word "בעל" is more in the physical sense while "אישּי" directs full proximity (physical, emotional, mental, etc.) between the partners


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

These are definitively words from the same root בעל "to be master". בְּעִלָה "cohabitation" is a late, post-biblical formation, the verbal noun of בָּעַל "own, rule over, have sexual intercourse".


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

Well. It is only playing with words. Modern בן זוגי behaves to his אישה much worse than it was common when he was בעל... The movie The war of roses were unfortunatelly too realistic... :-(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aaron536616

Does this apply to haredim? or only to mostly secular?


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

A secular friend of mine always refers to בעלי, it's definitely not just haredim who use that.


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

This is interesting!

"Ba'l" (Beth/Ayin/Lamed) means "husband" or "lord", the same with Arabic "Ba'l" (Ba/Ayin/Lam).

In Hinduism, Sanskrit "swami" means "lord". In Bengali, this "swami" has dual meanings, "lord" and "husband".

In my language (Malay), "swami" transformed into "suami", meaning "husband".

In Khmer and Odiya language, "swami" is also "husband"!

This is probably how an ordinary man by tradition become corrupted to be "unintentional false god" by the later generation! That's why learning language is important! :)


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

I think you may have the semantic change reversed. Gods referred to as Ba'al are quite ancient. I think it most often refers to Ba'al Hadad, the lord of storms, but it was also used for El and Dagan (the fish god, related to Hebrew dg), and in Carthage referred usually to Ba'al Hammon.


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

Yeah, I know. Baal is also a Babylonian god but can't there be any possibility that there's actually a corruption of language there? Probably more ancient than that.


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

I'm not sure what a corruption of language might be, but the word Belu is attested in Akkadian with the meaning "lord" and already applied to gods like Marduk. The Northwest Semitic (Hebrew, Ugaritic, Aramaic, Arabic) Ba'al is also used both for human lords and for gods from its earliest attestations.


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

Oops, I guess Arabic is not Northwest Semitic, but is quite closely related now. It appears now there is a proposed Central Semitic that includes the Northwestern branch and Arabic.


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

I imagined the lord used in Ancient Egypt too, although referred to gods and goddesses, actually meant the normal people with exaggeration of their wisdom or strength or beauty.


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

I think you are referring to Euhemerism, the theory associated with the Hellenistic writer Euhemeros, that all gods originate in memories of great leaders of the past. I'm afraid the evidence is against Euhemerism, at least as a universal explanation. Certainly a deity here or there might at one point have been a person, but that is not the case for the majority of them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ItaiH6
  • 1364

Actually the Baal as husband and owner has a very simple explanation.

In old cultures (which I guess their authontic relics in the not far oriental world are the Hebrew, Hindies and Arabic) when a man wanted to wed a woman he had to buy her from her father, then becoming the owner of his newly wedded wife.

I believe that the god name Baal is just a coincidence.


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

it is not fully correct. although in Hebrew, as it is a Semetic language, there are roots-pattern of consonant that demonstrates the connection between all different forms of the same word; there are exceptions - the homonyms roots. those roots have several provisions that the instructions semantic or etymological connection between the instructions is not certain. the different provisions of the root will considered as independent roots. they have the same letters but have different meaning. ב.ע.ל is an homonym root. one of those roots is related to cohabitation (בעילה), while the other is related to owner‏, master (בעלות‏‏‏‏) I assume there is connection between Fertile Crescent God "בעל" as he is the god of thunder lightning and rain, in other words - earth "fertility". maybe this is also why master ("Lord") called in Hebrew בעל. given that the Fertile Crescent is the original origin of the Jews (the 1st hebrew - Abraham came from there), this influence is certainly not surprising. the same goes for Arabic. about the connection with south Asia an Oceania, I assume it is through the Indus Valley Civilisation and the strong trade relations the Portuguese Empire had with the Ottoman Empire. I would have continuing if it wasn't beyond my abilities in English... :S


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gizella70

In Hungarian there is "Úr" meaning "Lord" , and husband as well, but it is not used these days any more in the cities. 30 years ago my grandmother called my grandfather this way and sometimes even I call my husband like that, but modern women never call their husbands "lords " . But we use the word "urak" (lords) for "gentlemen " and "bosses".


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

And you might call someone Kovács úr, as well, right?


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

Lord and woman? As long as he is not the husband of flies, I suppose.


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

"Lord of the flies" was translated to בעל זבוב (Beelzebub) because that's the name of the god in the Bible. It probably has to do with the meaning of בעל in Hebrew, which is either husband or someone who owns something (בעל ניסיון is someone who has experience, for example).

Anyway, בעל ואישה is so common that there really is just one way to translate it in my opinion, even if both אישה and בעל could mean other things separately.


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

I have never made the connection with Beelzebub and בעל זבוב! Well, I shall never forget either of those words now. I didn't realise it was so literal.


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

Indeed. To someone who, up to now, has only been familiar with the Biblical terms, though, it does sound quaint.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theresa754142

Hem ba’al ve isha.


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

"They are man and wife." is a common way to phrase this in English... but sadly this translation isn't accepted...


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

Can one use "איש" to mean husband? And if yes, how common it is in everyday speak?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

Well, some follow Hos 3.18 in thinking this to be a more egalitarian term: ‏והיה ביום ההוא נאם יהוה תקראי‏ אישי ולא תקראי‏ לי עוד בעלי And it will be in that day, says YHWH, that you will call me my husband and no longer call me my master, in which verse Rashi identifies בַּעֲלִי with אַדְנוּת authority and יִרְאָה reverence, but אִישִׁי with אַהֲבָה love and חִבָּה fondness.


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

It is one of the leading options for people who want to refrain from the alleged "ownership" connotation of בעל. So it is used - if I have to take a wild guess, by anything between 1 in 100 to 1 in 1000 among secular couples in their 40's or younger (and much rarer in other demographics). I think it still doesn't sound very natural to anyone, it's always a statement to use it - but maybe I'm just not in the right circles.

One thing that makes it cumbersome is that, while those who use בעל regularly say בעלי, saying אישי is a problem because אישי is also the much more common word "personal". So often they would say האיש שלי.

The competitor term בן זוגי was mentioned here. This rolls much more smoothly on the tongue, also because this has been a common term since always. The problem is, before the בעלי-aversion began a couple of decades ago, בן זוגי was often used for a non-marriage or pre-marriage romantic relationship. Using it today leaves it vague whether they are married or not. This vagueness is often desired ("What business is it of yours whether we married or not?") But for those who want to explicitly say they are married, האיש שלי is often preferred.

(Personally? Between my wife and me, we do feel the distaste in the word בעלי, and appreciate the alternatives - but not so strongly as to push us to actually use them. בעלי is still the lazy option.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theresa754142

In my opinion, there is a way to use ‏בעלי without feeling as though you’re being lazy.

Just because בעל used to mean master, why should you be hesitant to use the word when it no longer has master as the main meaning?

As a corollary, consider the word “nice”. According to dictionary.com, “Nice, it turns out, began as a negative term derived from the Latin nescius, meaning “unaware, ignorant.” This sense of “ignorant” was carried over into English when the word was first borrowed (via French) in the early 1300s. And for almost a century, nice was used to characterize a “stupid, ignorant, or foolish” person.

Starting in the late 1300s, nice began to refer to “conduct, a person, or clothing that was considered excessively luxurious or lascivious.” However, by the 1400s a new, more neutral sense of nice was emerging. At this time, nice began to refer to “a person who was finely dressed, someone who was scrupulous, or something that was precise or fussy.”

By the late 1500s, nice was further softening, describing something as “refined, culture,” especially used of polite society.

The high value placed on being coy, delicate, and reserved was instrumental in the semantic amelioration of the term nice in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.”

“Nice” now usually means pleasant or agreeable. If you don’t hesitate to use the word nice in a positive way, then you shouldn’t hesitate to use בעל in a positive way, no matter what the naysayers say.


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

Thanks. One problem is that the "ownership" meaning of בעל is not a thing of the past, it's still a current meaning in owning a non-person thing (בעל הבית, בעל המכונית, בעל החתול).

Even that would not have been troubling if it was just any old word that also has a negative meaning. The aversion from בעלי comes from the fact that it scratches a wound that is still sore in our society. The feminist movement made us all realize that traditionally men have had excessive power over women, in particular in matrimony. The struggle against it continues. I wrote above that using איש for "husband" makes a statement. Let me be specific what statement it makes: it says "I am a feminist. We stand for egalitarian marriage". On the flip side, I expect men and women who resent feminism to make a point of using בעל.

My wife and I are feminist. I can't help cringing, at least a bit, when we use בעל for me.

All that aside, thanks for the "nice" story! In return, consider this "gross" story. This German word made its way to English - twice. In the second time it took a currently dominant meaning of "disgusting". In the first time it became "great!".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

Well, I think German groß, a cognate of great, did not enter the English language as gross, but rather Late Latin grossus, meaning coarse (the French grossier).


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

Bummers, that ruins an anecdote I really like... But thanks for the clarification. BTW, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/great#Etymology agrees with you that the English did not come directly from groß, but it disagrees on the details IIUC (proto Germanic rather than Latin).


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

Thinking about it, maybe our usage of בעל is not laziness, it's shyness. We are feminist, but we don't like to shout it... (we settled for the semi-public but quieter gesture of uniting our family names.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theresa754142

In the Merriam-Webster dictionary I couldn’t find a meaning of great for gross, even an archaic meaning, but maybe “growing or spreading with excessive luxuriance: a gross riot of vegetation” fits.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

Well, I have read that many speakers cleanly separate the meaning owner and husband, by only using it with possessive suffixes, i.e. בַּעֲלִי etc., in the latter sense, so that they are forced to use rather literary devices for expressions like בַּעֲלָהּ שֶׁל מִרְיָם Miryam's husband.


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

Interesting. I never thought of בעלה של מרים as any different from הבעל של מרים, but I may well have missed this trend.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gina.blank

I thought wife was אישת and woman was אישה Can אישה ("woman") here be used interchangeably as "wife" in this context? (Like I've seen with "girl" and "daughter"?)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

Well, אֵ֫שֶׁת־ is the construct form (used to form compound nouns) of אִשָּׁה woman, like in the proverbs אֵ֫שֶׁת־חַ֫יִל ideal woman/model wife.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gina.blank

That doesn't really answer my question. I can see the similarities between the two words. However, at the start of this set of lessons, Duolingo taught the word "wife" as אישת, and here it's using the word אישה to mean wife, even though Duolingo taught early on that it's "woman."

All I'm wondering is if they're interchangeable, or are there certain contexts where a person would use one or the other?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theresa754142

They are not interchangeable, because wives are women but not all women are wives.

A certain context in which someone would use ‏אישה as wife: “This is my wife” ‏זאת אשתי Zot ishti.

In a sentence such as “I saw a woman standing on the street”, of course you wouldn’t translate ‏אישה as wife. Context is king.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gina.blank

Okay, if אישה is not interchangeable (like using ילדה to mean both girl and daughter), then my new question is, why is this sentence (הם בעל ואישה) translated as husband and wife when the word for "woman" is used?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theresa754142

You and I are using the word “interchangeable” differently. You seem to be using the meaning of apparently identical or very similar, whereas I’m using the meaning from the Cambridge dictionary: able to be exchanged with each other without making any difference or without being noticed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theresa754142

You say “when the word for ‘woman’ is used”. That statement seems to imply that ‏אישה means only woman, but it means woman or wife depending on context. Here, since ‏אישה is paired with husband, the most natural translation is wife.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gina.blank

@theresa754142 "it means woman or wife depending on context." So then YES, it IS interchangeable. Thank you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gina.blank

Yes, I started to wonder if I was confusing things in the way I was using "interchangeable." My apologies; glad it got sorted! Thanks for your patience.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theresa754142

No need to apologize; your way of using the word is recognized by Oxford Languages. https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=interchangeable&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-jp&client=safari


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

The word אישת never appears in this course. The only form that appears is אישה which, depending on the context, can mean both a woman and a wife.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gina.blank

I wish I could share a screen shot, because I literally just used it. I'm in Family, Level 0, and the phrase is: היא בת זוגו, ועכשיו היא גם אישתו

Is the last word not אישת + ו to create "his wife"?


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

That doesn't mean אישת on its own is in the course. ת is often added to feminine words when they're taking a possessive prefix - I don't know offhand if it's always the case, but for example ילדתו means his girl and אהובתי means my love, it doesn't follow that ילדת or אהובת are necessarily words of their own independent of being in the construct form. (Again, I don't recall offhand if these "count" as the construct form or if the similarity is coincidental, and also don't offhand know if אהובת is actually the construct form of the word, tbh, so I'm using that comparison loosely.)

In English, when you contract will not, you get won't. It doesn't follow that "wo" means will in modern English. Sometimes words change in combination with other words and with suffixes. Same happens in Hebrew.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gina.blank

@flootzavut Ah, good point; thanks for the reminder. That makes sense, too. I am still struggling to know when an some of the letters at the beginning or ends of words is part of the actual word, or is a prefix/suffix.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

Yes, אֲהוּבַת־ is the construct form, like in אֲהוּבַת־לִבִּי my darling (literally the loved one (f.) of my heart). For most feminine nouns their status pronominalis looks similar to their status constructus, sometimes with small adaptations (מִשְׁפַּחְתִּי my family but מִשְׁפַּ֫חַת־ family of). But אִשָּׁה is a highly irregular noun, so that אֵ֫שֶׁת־ woman of and אִשְׁתִּי my woman differ substantially in their vocalisation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shalom698163

Thanks for all these comments. Maybe its already neen asked. Could ot be referring more to "Master of the home"? A person can be a "Landlord" but it doesn't mean they Lord over anyone. Just a thought.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

Well, yes, בַּ֫עַל־בַּ֫יִת is a landlord, the owner of a house.

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