"The birds are singing."

Translation:הציפורים שרות.

July 17, 2016

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Why is the form of singing plural female if the plural of birds is male? Shouldn't it be הציפורים שרים?


This is an irregular plural ending. There are quite a number of these in Hebrew. The word ציפור is female, despite the fact that it doesn't end in ה. Strangely enough, the plural of ציפור is ציפורים, which makes it doubly confusing. So ציפור שרה, and ציפורים שרות.


Birds are females even though the form looks like males.
It is one of these irregulars.

See here https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16411558


This word is ancient and is feminine in classical Hebrew and in Aramaic. However, that the word does not present as feminine has always caused problems. It's unclear to me whether the -im ending means it presents as masc or is actually masc in the plural. The DCH (Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, 7.148), for instance, states that the noun is masc. and fem., which may be the way of that dictionary's editor (David Clines) of noting that the lack of feminine presentation caused some ancient authors to get confused, but I have not looked into the matter extensively. The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon project also assigns the Aramaic form as masc. and fem.: http://cal.huc.edu/ Long story short, if you are confused by its morphology you stand in a long line. Cf. Dalit Rom-Shiloni, “Birds in the Bible,” Blackbird Project: Educational Cooperation between Arab and Jewish Students in Birding (ed. Yossi Leshem and Anat Levi; Tel Aviv, 2009), 72–83.


Birds plural is always ציפורים and it is always feminine :)


הציפורים מצייצות



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