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  5. "האם הוא קצין?"

"האם הוא קצין?"

Translation:Is he an officer?

July 25, 2016



Am I right that קצין is an officer as in the military, while שוטר is an officer only in the police forces?


Almost. קצין doesn't translate well as 'officer' in many contexts. However, the word can be used for the police, just not in the same way as in English-speaking countries. In Hebrew, קצין משטרה (literally: police officer) means an officer (ranked lieutenant or higher) in the police. A regular policeman/woman is called שוטר/ת.

  • 546

In the military, katzin is the equivalent of a commissioned officer in the US. It does not encompass NCOs. Similar ranks in the police and fire department are also called katzin.


Commander should be an equally good rendering in English of the Hebrew word "קצין", right?


I would say commander is מפקד. But I'm not an expert on military terms in either language.


Yes, that's my opinion too.

  • 546

No, people can command other people without being commissioned officers, and people can be commissioned officers without ever commanding anybody (I was)


I put "a" instead of "an" and was marked incorrect. Something small like that in Hebrew would usually be marked correct with a spelling mistake. Here too...


Why does Duo lingo sometimes use "האמ" in formulating a question, and sometimes not?

  • 546

Because Duolingo is deeply conflicted about whether it is teaching correct Hebrew or colloquial Hebrew.

Hebrew requires the word האם at the beginning of a yes/no question. This is the same way that English requires reversing word order, as in "Is he an officer".

I see that you are also studying Spanish. In Spanish, you formulate the yes/no question by stating the fact and inflecting it as a question. In written form, you just surround it with question marks, so "¿Él es oficial?"

Colloquially, both Hebrew and English speakers sometimes will just state the questionable fact and inflect, as in "He's an officer?" or "?הוא קצין". But that is colloquial, not good grammar. And like I said, the makers of the Duolingo Hebrew course wanted to teach Hebrew as she is spoken, so they're not particularly consistent.


American ain't require no "reversing the order". Nor doth English. That is to form a question. "He is a cop?" Be still: that, a question. And "He is a cop!" is not. A question.


Does "האם" ever occur in colloquial Hebrew?


Is this just a military officer, or would it be a general term for businesses or etc?

  • 546

Not just military, but definitely not used in corporate environments.

Note that in the military, it applies to commissioned officers, not NCOs. Similarly, in the police, it applies to police officers ranked Lieutenant and above. Only two uses in business: the guy managing the motor pool is called a קצין רכב, and the guy in charge of physical security is called קצין ביטחון

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