According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a police officer is a member of the police force, and I’m guessing that means the UK and the USA. His rank might make a difference in how he’s referred to in Hebrew, but when translating to American English at least, a member of the police is a police officer.
In English, the word 'policeman' on its own, without any adjectives, always implies 'in the police' -- and therefore the phrase 'a policeman in the police' is both redundant and an obvious error. No native speaker of English will ever naturally and spontaneously produce this phrase. A correct translation would be 'My husband is a policeman' or the more modern 'My husband is a police officer.'
Is it different for native Hebrew speakers? Can a שוטר be in something besides the במשטר? Does the phrase as written sound natural?
So, it's not that the English is incorrect, as you originally wrote, but rather unnatural?
Not sure why so many of you got upset about this sentence, but if you haven't figured it out, there are plenty of sentences on Duolingo that we would never say. They are here to help us practice. What about אני פטרייה? Is it unnatural? Yes! But it's a sentence that gets us to practice "introducing" ourselves.
The aim of this sentence is for us to understand the relationship between two words that are related - they come from the same root: שוטר and משטרה. And to practice them. Not sure why is that so controversial and problematic?
So, it's not an error. It might not be the most natural sentence, but grammatically - it's a perfectly fine sentence.
Plus, from this sentence, you'll be able to make two other: בעלי הוא שוטר and בעלי עובד במשטרה.
No, 'a policeman in the police' is qualitatively different from 'the drunk parrot slaps a walrus'. or whatever other silly sentences Duolingo comes up with. If you say 'the drunk parrot slaps a walrus' to a native English speaker, they will think 'what a silly sentence', but they will not think it incorrect in any way. If you say 'a policeman in the police' to a native English speaker, they will look at you and think 'hmmm, that's not correct English'.
More people than usual are upset about this sentence because it's actually an error, unlike the other silly sentences Duolingo generates. I'm not sure why it's hard to grasp that redundancy in this particular instance is erroneous in English.
To put it more simply, because I really do want to be understood here:
'The drunk parrot slaps a walrus' is silly, but it is something a native English speaker could say.
'A policeman in the police' is something a native English speaker could not say.
While I cannot articulate the precise grammatical principle at work here, it is simply impossible in a way a 'silly' Duolingo sentence is not.
I will repeat just one thing, since you missed what I wrote.
This sentence (or the whole course actually) is about Hebrew, not English! It teaches us how Hebrew works, and for that goal uses even "questionable" English, because it tries to keep translations as literal as possible, to understand Hebrew better. We don't need to understand English better - we already know what those words mean.
Of course I didn't miss what you wrote, it just wasn't relevant. The issue here is that no native speaker of English can be expected to get this one correct on the first try.
We will have to agree to disagree, but you will continue to have to deal with people flagging and reporting this one.
You say that “a policeman in the police is something a native English speaker could not say”. How about an answer to this question… “What do the words בעלי הוא שוטר במשטרה mean in English?” And by the way, I am a native English speaker, and I got this right on the first try, because I was concentrating on the meaning of the Hebrew words.
In Japan, before a meal it’s polite to say “Itadakimas”, which is translated as “I gratefully partake”. If you asked me what itadakimas meant and I told you that it means I gratefully partake, it wouldn’t make much sense for you to tell me that my answer is wrong because we wouldn’t say that in English. I wasn’t intending to tell you what we say in English, I was explaining the meaning of the foreign phrase.