"Mom and dad are warming up the food and in the meantime I am reading a book."
Translation:אמא ואבא מחממים את האוכל ובינתיים אני קורא ספר.
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Copula is used only in sentence where it is is and sometimes is but never .
is לחם זה אוכל - bread is food
l ברווזים הם ציפורים - ducks are birds
l ארוחת בוקר היא ארוחה מאוד חשובה - breakfast is an important meal.
The issue here is that you are coming from an English point of view, where you say "are warming", but this "are" is part of the verb and therefore is never translated as a copula in Hebrew. Remember that Hebrew doesn't differentiate between Present Simple and Present Continuous and therefore it would have equally been correct to say "are warming" and "warm".
I can see that you are also learning French. So, it would be also like in French. When you say: "I am writing", you would never say "Je suis écris" or "Je suis écrivant" but only "J'écris" and this covers both "I write" and "I am writing".
Anyone have the etymology on this?
Seems to me we have plural בין here and, therefore, 2 or more points measuring distance (in space or time). The sentence seems to parallel English as follows:
Mom and Dad are heating the food and, between points, I am reading a book.
Seems plausible. But, will some of you please share your views regarding how, exactly, we get בינתיים to mean "meanwhile"?*
Not "in the meantime." There is no in the.*
No, it comes from בין, 'between', with dual number ending (like פעמיים=twice, שנתיים=two years).
As for your last remark - you can't translate languages word for word. There might not be literal "in the", but if the English phrase has it, then you have to use it? Let me give you an example. Let's say you have this Hebrew sentence: זה קרה בשבוע שעבר. Would you translate this sentence as "That happened in the last week"? Well, that would be wrong. The correct translation would be "That happened last week." Here, Hebrew requires a preposition, while English doesn't. And it also work the other ways around - sometimes prepositions are used in English and not in Hebrew.