"אין לי בת זוג."

Translation:I do not have a spouse.

July 12, 2016

44 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dov360473

The person speaking the sentence is a female. If בת זוג really translates as "spouse" or "partner" or "girlfriend", is there an implication of sexual preference as there might be if this were said in English?


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

Yes, depending on context. She could be talking about a partner for yoga class.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brjaga
  • 3087

Based on other sentence discussions surrounding בת/בן זוג, I don't think that's right. It seems to always refer to a partner in a romantic relationship (but I am not a native speaker)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rich739183

Are you speaking from experience in Israel? I believe I've heard it used there for a dance partner also.


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

I think he is asking whether the Hebrew phrase is more likely to be used in gay couples like the word "partner" is in English. Duolingo has examples of same-sex and opposite-sex couples, but I have no idea what the statistics are of actual usage.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lanadelrey101

BezaleIP, we would say זוג to refer to a partner in a yoga class, even though it means couple. בן זוג means a partner or a spouse. Examples:

Do you want to be my partner in the project?- את/ה רוצה להיות הזוג שלי בפרוייקט?

I live with my spouse- אני גר/ה עם הבן/ת זוג שלי


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

I beg to differ. I'm a native Hebrew speaker, too. I say בן זוג and בת זוג where you use זוג. I'd understand זוג, but it would sound to me a bit strangely shortened.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Allan892482

When I translated it as "spouse" they wanted "wife". When I translated it as "wife" they wanted "spouse"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lanadelrey101

Spouse- בת זוג

Wife- אישה


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

I"m glad we have moderator input on this sentence now. Can you explain why the word "spouse" is used here?

My understanding is that the difference between "בת זוג" and "wife" is that a "בת זוג" might not be married, and the difference between "spouse" and "wife" is that a "wife" is necessarily female.

For example, Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham are an unmarried romantic couple. Bill and Hillary Clinton are a married couple. Stedman Graham can honestly say "I do not have a spouse" but he can't say "אין לי בת זוג." Hillary Clinton can honestly say "אין לי בת זוג", but she can't say "I do not have a spouse".

Do I misunderstand the meaning of "בת זוג", or are there multiple definitions of spouse?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lanadelrey101

In English, the word 'spouse' refers to someone who's married, but it's not the case in Hebrew. בן זוג/בת זוג is a partner in general. It could be a boyfriend, a fiancee, a husband. Just a (life) partner in general that you're involved with romantically. אישה/בעל means 'husband and wife, and that means they're married. Think of בן זוג/בת זוג more as a partner, than a spouse.

Stedha Graham can't say אין לי בת זוג because he's involved with Oprah. He can say אני לא נשוי (I'm not married). Hilary Clinton can say both יש לי בן זוג, and יש לי בעל. Why would she say אין לי בן זוג if she's married?


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

@Theresa754142, I meant that a spouse is necessarily married, but a "בת זוג" may or may not be married. That is correct, right?


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

It sounds like we agree about what the words mean. I also agree with your statement that Hillary Clinton has a בן זוג because she is in a relationship with a man.

In my Hillary Clinton example, I wrote she doesn't have a "בת זוג", meaning a female partner. So that's a big difference between the word "בת זוג" and the word "spouse".

I don't think Duolingo is correct in telling us that "spouse" is a better translation than "wife" for "בת זוג". The word "wife" correctly reflects the gender. The word "partner" correctly reflects the vagueness in marital status. The word "spouse" does not reflect gender or marital status correctly, and telling people that "spouse" is more accurate than "wife" is implying that the Hebrew term is not gendered.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lanadelrey101

You're right. DL shouldn't accept 'wife' as an option because בת זוג doesn't mean she's necessarily married. The best way to translate בן/בת זוג to English is to think of it as 'partner', and it's also translated to בן/בת זוג.

So בן/בת זוג can be translated to both 'partner' and 'spouse', but it refers to someone you're involved with romantically and not necessarily married to. There's another word in Hebrew for 'partner', which is שותף. It depends on the context when to use it.


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

I agree with your comment, but I think you meant to say that the word spouse does reflect marital status correctly, because it does.


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

The daughter of a couple?


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

The word בן/בת are used in certain combinations to mean something like: "he or she of the {something}". It's hard to explain and there aren't many examples that I can think of but for example in the Kibbutz the school class were a close-kitted group of children, so they used to be "בן/בת כיתה שלי". Or in fact "בן/בת קיבוץ" is not someone who was given birth by a kibbutz but someone who was born and raised in a kibbutz. Similarly, בן כפר is someone who was born and raised in a rural place.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leibel94

Another famous term that follows this pattern: When a boy or girl turns thirteen or twelve respectively, they become obligated to follow the biblical commandments and are thus called a בר/בת מצווה


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hsn626796

What is בר ? Can it be בן מצווה ?


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

Bar is Aramaic, and is more often used in some figurative phrases, where you're not really talking about the son of something. Bar Kochba = son of the star. Bar Mitzvah, son of commandment (not meant literally). It's not used in every figurative phrase though.


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

Like so many things here, it makes sense when I think of Biblical language. It is a language that arose among the Sons of the Covenant, after all.


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

Right! בן ברית is another example.


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

בן בליעל! :))


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

There seems to be some discussion of this. Apparently, בליעל means "without worth," so it could be very much the same thing--"son of worthlessness." In many contexts, though, it is clearly a personification of iniquity. In some of those, where it is translated as idolaters, it is talking about worshipers of foreign gods, so it may be simply referring to foreign gods as "worthless ones." Actually, as I read further, there is even dispute as to the etymology.


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

That's a great one. Modern Christian translations unfortunately now render it as "idolaters" or "worthless people," which is nowhere near as evocative as sons of Belial.


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

But isn't בליעל a name of a person? If so it's not the same sort of בן.


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

Why can't I say "I have no spouse"?


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

Because you do...? ;-)

Report it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hsn626796

How does בת זוג mean spouse ?


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

bat zug more closely means "partner." The words bat and ben are used to indicate something is a component of something else. So בת זוג is literally "female-component of couple"


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

There was the option of girlfriend too which is very different from spouse. Is there another word for girlfriend or boyfriend?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Debs2308

Yes. You say חבר שלי for boyfriend or חברה שלי for girlfriend.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jacob723981

Doesn't this mean wife rather than spouse?


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

It doesn't really mean wife or spouse. Just female partner.


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

In the word bank it only gives the answer "spouse," But if you have answered the question "היא בת זוגו, ועכשיו היא גם אישתו." (or other similar questions referring to a partner as apposed to a spouse as בת זוגו) Then it is made clear that the person making the word bank only thinks about the question at hand (as apposed to hebrew in general) and does not realise that for us hebrew learners, this can be rather confusing. But in answer to Jacob723981's question you are still correct. Seemingly you did not take into consideration that we are looking at the word bank to help us translate the words accurately and not a just a possible translation.

I can accept it if you disagree with me about my last sentence, but I am sure you agree with me on the rest, נחון?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/srh1056

נכון is the correct spelling


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

Literally it means "part of a couple"

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