"A rabbit and snake are animals."

Translation:ארנב ונחש הם חיות.

July 18, 2016

This discussion is locked.


I see שפן but I thought I learned ערנב or something like that for rabbit. I'm confused.


There are some differences between ארנב and שפן;
A Rabbit is ארנב, and Hyrax is שפן!

Funny fact:
Lots of native speakers have this mistake as well (because they don't know this fact)


If I had to guess, I would have guessed it right on a test, but שפן was not introduced. They just sneaked it in there. I only picked the answer that seem the most obvious, and got it wrong, because שפן was also a correct answer. Now to be honest, I am not even sure I know the difference in English either, or in any other language for that matter.


Seems that one of those native speakers who can't tell the difference between a rabbit and a hyrax is writing this course…


arnáv ve-nachásh hem chayót.


I reported the suggested solution with שפן for rabbit as a mistake, because a hyrax is defenitely not a rabbit.


What is שפן and how is it said? I don't remember learning this word.


Interesting, I've never heard this word before. Looking at pictures on Google I have to say there appears to be no relation to the rabbit, any more than there is to a horse and a cow. It should be removed as a suggested answer.


I don't know what are the suggested answers (where?), but if you see it you should report it.
As far as I know, lots of native speakers don't know there's a difference at all..


I didn't know it was wrong because I didn't know what the word was. It was a "Choose all correct answers" excercise and the one with shafan I did not select.


Why do I need to put "they" in the sentence? Is it because without it, it's not clear which part of the sentence is the subject?


Not exactly, in this type of sentence the first noun phrase is the subject. The "they" is a copula, it is required here.


Is there any way to tell when a copula is necessary? I left out הם and it was wrong.


When you have a sentence "noun" is "noun" then you need a copula. Here both "rabbit" and "snake" and "animals" are nouns. Since it's two animals they are talking about, הם is needed. It is not needed when you have "noun" is "adjective".


I only heard of a "hyrax" when I saw this, and Googled it. That's definitely not a rabbit!


: חיות Is this word gender specific ? 'Cos " חיות " appears to be feminine gender. Obliged if someone could clear this doubt. Thank you.


I'm confused by this as well. I think the root of the word comes from the verb לִחְיוֹת meaning "to live"

Different forms of the verb can also be used as nouns, the masculine חי and חיים mean life, whilst the feminine חיה and חיות mean animal/animals

I think this should be much better explained in the notes.


Thank you, this really helped me!


Can someone help me understand the gender matching here? It is using the masculine they, but חיות looks like a feminine plural


Copula (הם in this case) in most cases matches the noun it follows, not the one it precedes. Here it's a rabbit and a snake, so it's הם - are.


I understand that. My question is with the animals plural, it looks like a feminine plural, why wouldn't it match the male rabbit and snake nouns?


There is no masculine word for animals. It's just חיות. It's always feminine.

Thanks for the downvote! You sure were quick enough to downvote me, even though your question was not clear, and I tried answering based on what I understood.


Isn't s hyrax a different animal?


שפןis still accepted as. rabbit, August 16, 2017


Jan 6th 2018 as well, reported it once again


I don't think multiple reports will speed the process. Either they are very backlogged with reports, or they disagree that a hyrax is not a rabbit.


All of the creators of the course are on 0 day streaks in Bronze league. They are not active anymore.


Being on a 0 day streak doesn't mean they are not active. I've received an email a few days ago that my suggestion for an alternate translation was accepted. They do have lives outside of Duolingo and they are just backlogged. Or in this case, they just don't agree with the suggestions.


So why is it הם and not זה?


We need to use a plural pronoun because there are two animals. Literal translation: A rabbit and a snake, they are animals. :-)


In this instance both animals are masculine, thus I understand the use of הם, what if the animals were different genders? Does masculine supersede femininity in this case, thus still הם?


Yes, that's correct :-)


Hyraxes are also called daisies. Nothing to do with a rabbit


Hyran? Never heard of that one before. November 17 and it is still required as an answer


What is שפן and how is it pronounced


See the above comments.


Is that an hoax ???


Never heard of a "hyrax" - quite interesting. They claim on this site that the hyrax is the elephant's closest extant relative! SEE https://www.awf.org/wildlife-conservation/hyrax


This answer does not exist in the proposals (or there is a missing sign in the correct proposal)


Fun fact: Hyrax are more common in South Africa, and are related to elephants rather than to rodents.


Can one also say ארנב ונחש זה חיות? Asking this because I was told that זה, when used as a copula, must agree with the predicate for gender, not number, and when the subject is generic, then it tends to be uninflected (this is from the book of Lewis Glinert on modern Hebrew grammar, as quoted by IngeborgHa14 in a comment on some other question here).


No, זה can't be used here. I don't think this sentence counts as generic. But either way, it's two animals, so it has to be הם.


I disagree...only answered this way so it would be counted correct!


What (or rather who) exactly do you disagree with?


Hyrax is not a rabbit, and I've never heard of it until today. So glad I got this wrong and opened the comments on this. With that said, Do people really call rabbits "shafan"? In English we call them rabbits, jack rabbits, bunny, bunnies, hare, hares... So I was just wondering if it's common


The הם is a coupla here correct?


Is it possible for the audio of the sentence to be right there with the text, instead of finding it in comment section only?


Morfix and doitinhebrew.com both list forms of arnav and shafan as translations of rabbit.

It may be that arnav is the proper translation of saying rabbit, while shafan is what people use, the same way people use kharaq for “insect” though the proper pronunciation is khereq.

  • 2214

Strictly speaking, ארנב is ‘hare’ (Lepus) and שפן is ‘rabbit’ (the other genera of the family Leporidae). But a hare and a rabbit are very similar; many languages only have one word for them, and whilst English has two, people are often unaware of (or careless about) the difference.


Not quite. שפן is a hyrax (Hyracoidea). This animal is not related to rabbits or hares at all. It was mistakenly called this way and this mistake is perpetuated by a popular children's song.

A hare (Lepus) is ארנב "arnav" and a rabbit (Leporidae) is ארנבון "arnavon".

Here is a comment made by Yarden, a native Hebrew speaker, about the matter:


Why cant you use זות in this sentence rather then הם


First, זות is not correct. It's either זו or זאת - they mean the same thing and most importantly they are feminine singular, which is why neither of them works here. You need plural הם to match the rabbit and the snake.

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