"Far away there by the camel stands an owl."

Translation:שם הרחק ליד הגמל עומד ינשוף.

August 27, 2016

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is the order of the first two words important? I reversed them and was marked wrong.


In English, this sentence is just wonky.


Or at least it needs a bunch of commas :)


thank god im not the only one


just remove the word "there" and it is improved :)


Why is this שם הרחוק rather than רחוק שם? What does the ה before רחוק signify, and what determines the word order?

  • 1204

It is שם הרחק - That הרחק is a single word; the ה is not the definite article.

It is not שם הרחוק - that would be meaningless.

It is a word that means "very far away". It's kind of strange the way they used it because it usually goes with the prefix מ on the following word, indicating what that thing is far away from. Example:

הרחק מכאן - far away from here


The formation of adverbs in Hebrew is a creative mess. Here we have the absolute infinitive of הִרְחִיק to move something away, i.e. הַרְחֵק used for the adverb far away.


Nobody has really answered the question about why הרחק שם ליד הלמל עומד ינשוף. The English sentence is definitely odd, but why does the place שם״" come before the distance adverb "הרחק"? Is that a general rule?


I suppose in these cases, English places the words here and there the other way round and Hebrew has the same word order as German: כָּאן בִּפְנִים in here (hier drinnen), שָׁם לְמַ֫עְלָה up there (dort oben) or פֹּה לְמַ֫טָּה down here (hier unten).

  • 1204

No. Hebrew is less particular than English about word order, but I believe that הרחק שם is better than the way it is.


--Book of Duo : 35


How is this pronounced?

  • 1204

Shahm har-CHEK, le-YAD ha-ga-MAL, o-MED yahn-SHOOF


Honestly this phrase adds more confusion than new knowledge.


What is the role of the initial אי in the alternate?


I assume it was "אי שם" which means "somewhere", pronounced "ey sham".


Yes it began as אי שם. Thanks I wasn't familiar with that one.

  • 1204

This is a really weird idiom. "אי" is a question word meaning "where" as in "אי הבל אחיך". sham means "there". So somehow "where there" became somewhere.


So that's what ee means! From ee efshar meaning not possible I had the impression that ee was some sort of negation.


Well, but you are aware that it is pronounced אֵי [ey]? It also keeps its questioning force as the first element of words like אֵיפֹה where? and אֵיזֶה which.


Well, אִי is quite another word which negates nouns like dis-, un-, im- in English: אִי־סֵ֫דֶר disarray, אִי־צֶ֫דֶק unjustice or אִי־שֶׁ֫קֶט unrest


So אי, אי, and אי are three different words (meaning where, not, and island), with two different pronunciations and no way to tell them apart without nikudot? Whoever had the bright idea of limiting nikudot to prayer books and children's books was a sadist.


Thanks! I never noticed the connection between אי and איפה. But why is impossible pronounced EE efshar? Isn't it the same word?


But doesn't that imply that the exact location is unknown? That would seem incorrect in this sentence though.

  • 1204

Not unknown, just unspecified

"אי שם במרחב נבחו כלבים לירח"

Somewhere in the area dogs barked to the moon

"אי שם בלב, פרח מלבלב"

Somewhere in the heart, a flower blooms


אי שם מעבר לקשת...


Seems to me that making distinctions with regard to the pose of an animal do not seem to carry over from one language to the other with utter strictness - at least where birds are concerned;

If anything, a translation of "ommed" would be anything but a blindly literal one to have an idiomatic ring; both of the following seem much more reasonable options:

  • perches
  • sits


The English translation is poor. When seeing the Hebrew "correct answer", I would think it should be translated as "There, far away by the camel stands an owl." Why is הרחק שם ליד הגמל עומד ינשוף wrong?


I agree with Linda. There are enough sentences in this course that sound utterly weird in English because the word order copies the Hebrew too closely. In this case, since it's weird in any case, they should EITHER have done the same and said "There, far away...." OR they should accept " הרחק שם " as equally correct.


Well, I suppose there is no great difference between שָׁם הַרְחֵק there far away and הַרְחֵק שָׁם all the way over there. According to Ngram, the first is used more than the latter. Therefore it is true that Duolingo would have been spared of this longish thread, if it had simply followed mechanically the Hebrew word order!


"מאוד רחוק מפה, ליד הגמל, עומד ינשוף" What's wrong with this?


Literally, what you wrote means "very far from here" so you've added the idea of "from here". It's more of a translation issue than a communication issue--the Hebrew is fine and if you want to suggest it as an alternate translation, click on "report a problem".


I wrote: הרחק שם לגמל עומד ינשוף

It was marked wrong, but I don't understand why. The answer they gave me was שם רחוק סמוך לגמל עומד ינשוף. What does that mean exactly? The hints didn't give any clue about this solution. Thank you.

  • 1204

So let's start with what is wrong about your answer. Why do you have this lamed before the word camel? That would be like "far away there TO the camel...". Not what you wanted. The lamed is the wrong preposition here.

The word סמוך is a preposition that means "next" and does go with the letter ל. Alternatively you could use ליד with no additional prefix letters. So in summary all of the following should work:

הרחק שם, סמוך לגמל, עומד ינשוף

הרחק שם, ליד הגמל, עומד ינשוף


I put the second of your two sentences that "should work" and was marked wrong.


I see this sentence this way: אי שמ - somewhere - הרחק - far away - ליד הגמל - next to the camel - עומד ינשוף - stands an owl. I don’t see the lamed (ל) as having anything to do with the word הרחק. That’s why it’s not a mem (מ). It’s not saying ‘far away from’. I believe it’s just: Somewhere, far away, next to the camel, stands an owl. It’s a peculiar sentence in English, unless it’s poetry, then anything goes.


"There, far away, by the camel stands an owl." Is a little better - but "Way over there an owl is standing by a camel." ?? I'm hear to understand Hebrew but I once in a while it seems others are interested in how a phrase would sound best in English.


Why is הרחק שם, ליד הגמל, עומד ינשוף wrong?


Who writes these things?


why does עומד come before ינשוף ? Modern Hebrew puts subject before verb.

  • 1204

No. Modern Hebrew, just like ancient Hebrew, is much less particular about word order than English. It's hard to translate Yoda-speak to Hebrew. And for this particular example, even English allows you to switch the order ("an owl stands" vs "stands an owl")

Both variations ("ינשוף עומד" and "עומד ינשוף") are perfectly fine Hebrew.


הרחק מכאן ליד בגמל עומד ינשוףwhat's wrong with this?


You just threw two prepositions, ליד and ב, at the camel. What you wrote means far from here, next to in the camel, stands an owl, which doesn't make sense.


First poetic sentence I have seen.


Why is it ליד and not על ידי


Biblical reference, maybe? ;0)


Apart from the fact that both are treif, I do not think that both animals appear anywhere in the same sentence.


This sentence is unclear in English. The Hebrew doesn’t seem to mean the same thing.


Very strange sentence. Glad to be in such good company!

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