Duolingo suggests "I hear the birds" as the official response. This is rather confusing to me, the verb is in plural, right?
Shouldn't it be "you hear the birds"? "You can head the birds" would be יכולים לשמוע את הציפורים.
I agree with Yaron; there is no personal pronoun in this sentence. It's just "hearing the birds".
The שומעים is an impersonal plural. (Read the tips and notes for the "Determiners" unit - it's down at the bottom.)
In this unit we also introduce what we call the "impersonal plural". At times you may come across plural forms of verbs in Hebrew that are not connected to a personal pronoun. For example, a "normal" sentence with a plural form of a verb would be:<pre>
They eat apples. - .הם אוכלים תפוחים</pre>
But when you see a sentence like:
Does it mean "We eat", "They eat", or "You (all) eat"?
The answer is that it can be all of these and more! In fact, it is sometimes hard to translate this type of sentence into English without context. There are several options that can be considered:<pre>
One eats apples. (Can sound a bit old-fashioned nowadays.) You eat apples. (You as in "anybody" - can be confused for actual "you") We/They eat apples. (You have to know who is being spoken about, to know whether the speaker is including or excluding him/herself from the group) Apples are eaten. (At times using the passive can be the most elegant solution, but is not always an option)</pre>
Polyglots should be able to find parallels with the ways in which many other languages create impersonal expressions: French: On mange les pommes. German: Man isst Äpfel. Spanish: Se comen manzanas/Uno come manzanas. Dutch: Men eet appel.
At times it can also have a suggestive tone. For example, if someone says מדברים עברית, it can be equivalent to "one speaks Hebrew", but can also mean something like "you should be speaking Hebrew!".
How many acceptable meanings does this sentence have then and how do we know the difference between them if "they hear".....".you can hear"....".we hear" etc is also correct ? .
Instead of "שומעים" I hear "שום עם", even though it doesn't have any sense :)
That's what I heard. Every once in a while the speaker seems to over enunciate while the rest of the time he rattles things off so fast that one word blends into the next.
התשובה אינה נכונה... לא כתוב על אדם ששומע אלא באופן כללי ולכן אתה שומע you אינו נכון.
It's a preposition that indicates the accusative - direct object. (If a direct object for a verb is definite (either having a definite article or being a proper name), then before the object the preposition את is added.)
Depending on vowels את could also be you (feminine), that is second person singular feminine pronoun.
Even with taking into consideration the grammatical concept of impersonal plural, without the pronoun the sentence is ambiguous. In context, it can be an ellipsis, leaving out the obvious אנחנו or אתם or הם. It's not surprising that we might find such ellipses, after all Talmud Yerushalmi has all sorts of incomplete thoughts that apparently made sense once in context or if you become acquainted with talmudic modus operandi. The impersonal construction is in Mishnaic Hebrew (PerezFernandez, Introductory Grammar of Rabbinic Hebrew, p. 134). But even when the pronoun is not present, almost always the context allows you to figure out the implied subject. Sometimes that is the case because in an earlier clause there was "you" indicated somehow, or "one" fits well. I will add that impersonal speech is common in biblical Aramaic, for instance, but often the reader is given a clue based on a pronoun somewhere nearby (context). Aramaic characteristically uses the indefinite third person plural in place of the passive voice. The problem with the sentence in DL is that we have no context in which to know whether it is "one" or you." Having written all that, it's helpful to know that modern Hebrew uses impersonal construction.