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  5. "למה אתה מספר לי את זה?"

"למה אתה מספר לי את זה?"

Translation:Why are you telling me this?

August 3, 2016



And this is where things get fun; I recognize ספר as "book," but that root in this verb form becomes "telling." And in the previous verb form, as סופר, it means "counting." Looking forward to learning what it means in the other binyanim where it gets used.


Well, there's הסתפר (hitpa'el) - got his hair cut!


Wow. I feel like I remember learning that hitpa'el was reflexive, but even knowing that, I would never have made that sort of leap. Wonder what sort of logic was used to reach that definition...


Maybe I should've added before that סיפר also means to cut someone's hair (and now the meaning of הסתפר makes a lot more sense..)


Well, it makes the hitpa'el make more sense, but still leaves me curious how the two are related. Or is it just a case of two different words ending up being spelled the same way after an extended evolution of the language?


Very good question. In this case, these are not different influences over time, but the words are indeed related.

We see that in other languages as well (does a bank teller tells stories or counts money?) but in Hebrew there are some deeper origins to the relationships. Also to להסתפר in this case... for more details, read the Tanakh. :)


Well, the suggestion that you had to cut into tablets in order to write a סֵ֫פֶר is probably etymologically not true, so that they two roots are indeed not related.


Probably different influences over time.


pealim.com says that "מספר" also means "read". Can it be used interchangeably with "קורא" or does it mean "read aloud"?


If it helps there seems to be some weird link/overlap involving the concepts of reading, counting, and telling: bank account, account of events, recount a story, tell a story/tale, keep a tally, ask your teller to count your money, etc.


So, מספר is a number as well as a verb?



(mispar) means number while


(mesaper) means to tell (as in a story). The difference is usually discernible by context.


טוב לדעת, תודה!


I don't know how I never learned about homographs. I had to google it. I knew homonyms and homophones but never heard of a homograph until your comment. So thank you for this. I don't know when or how I missed homographs in school!


Interestingly enough, growing up in Israel, I remember them from English classes, but not from Hebrew


"why are you telling me that?" Wasn't accepted?


They accepted "Why do you tell me that". Might have updated the program. It's now 9/2018.


Why are you telling me about that?


"telling me that" should be accepted, "telling me about that" should not - that would be "למה אתה מספר לי על זה".


Is "מסקר" (when meaning tell) always followed by "...ל" or could it be followed by "...אות"?


Maybe a bit of grammar will help here. Specifically, that of "מושא ישיר" (direct object; read: "Moosa Yashir") vs. "מושא עקיף" (indirect object; read: "Moosa Akif").


אני סיפרתי לו סיפור = I told (to) him a story

The verb "told" has an indirect relation to the "him". They are linked via the linking "to" (ל...). In comparison, the object "a story" has more direct connection to the verb: It's simply "I told a story" with no linking words (or sometimes with the word "את", which is a special little thing by itself, so for that matter doesn't count as a linking word).


More examples will probably clarify it better.


אני אכלתי תפוח = I ate an apple.

אני אכלתי את התפוח = I ate the apple

"an apple" or "the apple" are direct objects here.


אני אכלתי מהצלחת = I ate from the plate

"the plate" is an indirect object, connected to "ate" via the word "from" (מ...).


So, to your question, when using "את" (or nothing at all) it's probably a direct object (unless it's an older Hebrew...), while with "ל..." it's an indirect object. Examples:

אני סיפרתי את הסיפור = I told the story (direct object)

אני סיפרתי סיפור = I told a story (direct object)

אני סיפרתי אותה = I cut her hair (I'm a barber, different Binyan altogether, different meaning to the verb)

הסַפָּר סִיפֵּר לִי סִיפּוּר = The barber told (to) me a story (note the "לי", now "me" is an indirect object, "a story" is a direct object).


What would "Why are you saying that to me?" be in Hebrew?


למה אתה אומר לי את זה

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