1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Hebrew
  4. >
  5. "אני צופֶה במים."

"אני צופֶה במים."

Translation:I watch the water.

August 10, 2016



I imagine this is supposed to be about the sea or the ocean, but all I can think of is this guy staring intently at a glass of water.


Or a pot, ... to see when the water boils.

2020-06-14 rich739183




Why? Is there a specific type of verb that demands ב? What other words follow this? And, as asked in another comment, how would you say "I watch [from within] the water."? perhaps אני צופה ממים?


I'm just learning this to but it's not unlike "looking at". So I can't be too mad.


You can say looking in, looking under, looking over, looking to...


Yes. But all these different prepositions make "looking" have a different meaning. "Looking at" is "צופה ב"


So supposing I wanted to differentiate between "I watch the water" and the somewhat nonsensical "I watch in the water". Couldn't these translate from the same Hebrew sentence "אני צופה במים"?


Right. Probably context.


Why can't "I watch in the water", as in "I watch the children in the water" (while being in the water)? Wouldn't somebody like a lifeguard say that? Where else could it be applicable?


Pretty sure "I watch in the water" is not a valid english sentence. You can't watch into things. But that is the preposition in hebrew anyway.


Do you hear "ba-" here? I've listened to the audio loads of times but still hear "be-" and thus don't write "the" but it's marked as wrong...


From MODERN HEBREW GRAMMAR by Lewis Glinnert: 4 The definite article ה ‘The’ is usually ה, pronounced ha. It is always prefixed to the noun, e.g. ‘the light’. האור (So, too, are all other one-letter words, such as בְ ‘in’ and כְ ‘as’.) Note: Newsreaders and teachers may pronounce it as הֶwith certain words, but coming from an ordinary person this will sound pedantic. When combining ְב and ְל with ה the’, one has to run them together to make בָ and לָ , thus בַבוקר in the morning (not בְהַבוקר)

לַסוף to the end Not לְהַסוף


be+ha = ba. I know there was a good explanation , but I can't find it.


Yes, it sounds mostly like "אֲנִי צוֹפֶה בַּמַּיִם" to me.
But it also sounds like "אֲנִי צוֹפֶה בְּמַיִם" to me.
I would certainly prefer that these presumably professional speakers used clearer diction, but this is probably more realistic, normal speech.

2020-06-11 rich739183


Right. I can see why a native English (or Spanish, or...) speaker would not get the native Hebrew /a/ sound as clear, but I can't imagine how an unstressed /a/ could be pronounced any clearer in Hebrew.


Can this mean "I am watching Mayim" as in I am babysitting a girl named Mayim?


Does it work in English? Should you say "I am watching over Mayim"? Anyways, in Hebrew it doesn't work - צופה doesn't have this meaning. Should be שומר or משגיח.


Yes, it does work in English for babysitting, provided that the context is understood.

2019-09-09 rich739183


Yarden, would you use צופה if you're watching Mayim on TV, instead of watching over her?
edit: assuming I didn't want to use רואה or מסתכל.

2020-06-11 rich739183


Yes, if you're watching Mayim on TV the most appropriate term would be צופה, a bit formal, מסתכל and רואה would be very common colloquials.


Thanks, Yarden, and for some reason this reminded me that צופים are Israeli "Scouts". So now I have a connection to help me remember this verb.

2020-06-14 rich739183


Shouldn't it be ani tzofe ha'mayim?


Bamayim in the water


No, ב can sometimes mean "in", but other times it simply marks the object of certain verbs (like watch, support, etc.).

It's similar to in English how "I see water" is correct but "I look water" is not correct. We have to say "I look AT water." But when look is used intransitively (i.e. "I am looking") there is not need for the at. It is only added to mark the object of the verb. Similar in Hebrew.


Thanks good explanation.


Now that makes sense


I believe that Hebrew uses צופה ב when one is looking at something for a while, like watching Tv, watching a film or a show, or sitting down at a bench and enjoy a beautiful view. Maybe a Hebrew speaker could confirm or correct?


Hebrew speaker here to confirm (-:

Note, though, that צופה is a bit formal. In spoken Hebrew we tend to prefer either רואה (movie, show, TV) or מסתכל על (the view, another person).


aní tzofé ba-máyim.


Would "I watch in the water" be the same, or is it אני צופה בבמים ..?


Earlier in the lesson it said this translates to i stare at the water but now it counted that as wrong?


Stare is בוהה.


I've got a typo for not using nikkudot


Happens all the time, just ignore it.


Sometimes you'll get a typo for using it. Welcome to a Duolingo, languages that are not romanized, have slight quirks because they built it/standardized on reading left to right, etc.


Would אני צופה המים be nonsense or just have a different meaning. If so, what might that be?


You can't say that. I'm just learning as well... But above it says you need the bet preposition for that verb. Even if it wasn't needed, you didn't add the direct object marker et, to go before the hey.


Oh I forgot to add that. That does prompt another question though, why is et not needed when bet is the preposition? Ma'im is still the direct object right?


/et/ is needed with an object that is both (a) determined, (b) direct. With the ב preposition it's not direct.


At the risk of confusing you further, it's not as nonsense. Because "צופה" is also "predict". You can say "אני צופה שטפון", meaning "I predict flood". I can't quite make it work with אני צופה מים or אני צופה את המים, but it's close...


This is another case where the clipping of the last sound in the audio makes it impossible to guess what the person is saying. (Most of the time the context of grammar fills in the missing sound.) Here I hear

אני ציפה במאי I was watching for this famous person somewhere...


I can hear the final mem.

Since צופה requires ב for the thing you are watching, without the final mem, it would translate to May - I am watching at May. Watching a director would be צופה בבמאי, because it still needs the preposition ב.

On the other hand, watching for would mean expect, if I understand your point and in that case you would need the root in pi'el אני מצפה לבמאי - I am expecting /awaiting the director.


Thanks. So grammar and context would have solved this answer too. I am curious if you hear the clipping elsewhere in the Hebrew course. I hear it often in this course and don't hear it in any other course. So I have assumed the problem was with the Hebrew application. They did not use duolingo's normal voice system but insisted on recording everything themselves. Perhaps there is something in this difference. Do you or anyone else using Hebrew have the same problems? Thanks again.


I wrote " I watch at the water" - why is it not acceptable? In Hebrew אני צופה המים by the way who would say צופה maybe מסתכל


You can't use "at" after "watch". You look at something, but you watch something. That's why it's "watch the water".

That is also the difference between מסתכל (look) and צופה (watch).


Why does the water not require a direct object marker? Aren't we looking at/in THE water, directly? Doesn't צופה have ha mayim as the target?


In Hebrew צופה (means watch, not look) is intransitive, which means it doesn't take a direct object, unlike English, where it is a transitive verb. It takes the preposition ב.


When would you use "ani mistakel vs. "ani tzofe" ?


See my comment above with "a bit formal".

Learn Hebrew in just 5 minutes a day. For free.