"Even though they like tea, they don't drink tea."
Translation:אף על פי שהם אוהבים תה, הם לא שותים תה.
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Yes, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁ־ belongs to the group of subjunctions compounded with שֶׁ־, like אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁזֶּה בִּכְתַב־יָד, הַצַּוָּאָה שֶׁל אָבִיךְ דֵּי בְּרוּרָה although it is hand-written, your father's will is quite clear. The corresponding preposition is לַמְרוֹת despite and there is an adverbial expression אַף עַל פִּי כֵּן nevertheless, like אַף עַל פִּי כֵּן אַתָּה מִחוּץ לַזְּמַן nonetheless you are out of time. I always hoped אַף עַל פִּי means nose on my mouth with some crazy explanation why it ended meaning although, but the מִלּוֹן אֶ֫בֶן־שׁוֹשָׁן lists it under אַף also, even ;-)
What I find curious, and maybe you can shed more light, is that you can drop על פי, and have אף ש with the exact same meaning. Which of the two came first? Did they have a different meaning at some point? על פי alone means "according to", and I can imagine how it got this meaning from the literal meaning "on the mouth of".
Oh thank you. In the grammar of the Masoretes, a word beginning with a בגדכפת letter can lose its dagesh lene, if it is joined to the previous word with a conjunctive accent. Although this usage was not continued in modern Hebrew, it seems to have survived in some close-knitted formation like these here. Are there more examples for this?
Well, לֹא שׁוֹתִים תֵּה without a personal pronoun means impersonal one does not drink tea. Hebrew tends to repeat elements of grammar, I think, like putting several אֶתs in a row for several direct objects, or expressions like בֵּין א וּבֵין ב for English between a and b. Look at Ex 9.3 where the בְּ־ is six times repeated before each element.
As Ingeborg says, Hebrew "likes" repetitions more than English (and ancient Hebrew more than modern Hebrew, although modern Hebrew still more than English).
But in this case, English also requires repeating the pronoun, and so does the bunch of other languages I know (granted, all of them European or Semitic...)