"למה אתה מספר לי את זה?"

Translation:Why are you telling me this?

August 3, 2016

32 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Snommelp

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daniel495432

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/radagastthebrown

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Snommelp

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...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/radagastthebrown

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..)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Snommelp

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Catolingo

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. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NaftaliFri1

Probably different influences over time.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hannah649004

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rich739183

Hannah, I'm surprised that you got no previous replies.
Morfix defines it as "to read aloud, to relate, to tell (a joke, a story); to talk about".

b105 rich739183


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YardenNB

I think it's really "tell". There are contexts where it would fit "read aloud" and "talk about", but I believe that in those contexts it can also be "tell".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YardenNB

Rich, no, "He reads me a book" is not one of the contexts where you can use מספר for "read aloud". Sign: you can't say in English "He tells me a book". הוא מספר לי ספר is just wrong Hebrew. I really think it's simpler to just think of מספר as a perfect equivalent of transitive "tell".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rich739183

Thanks, Yarden. So would we translate "הוא מספר לי ספר" as "he reads me a book"?
And would it still be better Hebrew to say that as "הוא קורא לי ספר"?

b105 rich739183


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rich739183

Much appreciated; thanks, again, Yarden.

b105 rich739183


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissFeatherton

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JewishPolyglot

מִספָּר

(mispar) means number while

מְסַפֵּר

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MissFeatherton

טוב לדעת, תודה!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tzipity

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!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NaftaliFri1

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danny912421

láma atá mesapér li et ze?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bendespain

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larry824711

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bendespain

Why are you telling me about that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/radagastthebrown

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hannah649004

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Catolingo

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...).

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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).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/D.EstherNJ

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/radagastthebrown

למה אתה אומר לי את זה


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Its-me.

I wrote "why are you telling this to me" and it wasn't accepted.

How would you say that in Hebrew? In English, the two sentences are synonymous


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IngeborgHa14

Well, you can change word order in Hebrew too: לָ֫מָּה אַתָּה מְסַפֵּר אֶת זֶה לִי. For example if you want to stress that you tell it of all things to me, but not to someone else.

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