"How do you speak Hebrew?"

Translation:איך מדברים עברית?

September 6, 2016

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There is no "you" among the Hebrew words listed in the translation. So, my guess is that the developers meant to say "How does ONE speak Hebrew?" This refers to the knowledge of Hebrew. The question as currently phrased in English "How do you speak Hebrew?" could mean "How is it that you speak Hebrew?" referring to parentage or education. Or, it could mean, more literally, "Are you using an interpretation device to speak Hebrew?" (Star Trek universal translator?) The English should be fixed to reflect the actual Hebrew translation.


Your guess is correct, the given translation selects the meaning "How does one speak Hebrew" out of the possible meanings of this sentence.


That's a general problem how to translate Impersonal Plural. The text for the skill Determiners explains the different ways to translate אוכלים תפוחים

" There are several options that can be considered: 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)"


One eats apples - מישהו אוכל תפוחים You eat apples - את/ה אוכל/ת תפוחים Anybody eats apples - כל אחד אוכל תפוחים Apples are eaten - תפוחים נאכלים


You can't translate the impersonal 'you' from English to אתה/את in Hebrew. Translating 'one' to מישהו isn't accurate either.


True, but one can not force grammar and the way of thinking of one language on another language, especially when it comes to languages as different as Hebrew and English, so that the closest literal translation or the most correct translation (in essence) should be compromised.

About the "one", one can use archaic translation, but "someone" (almost literally "אֵי מִי" or modernly - "מישהו") is so close to "one" that insisting on a more precised literal translation is quite useless; about the "you" there can be no exact literal translation in this case, but, at the end of the day, even though the form of the appeal is impersonal, since the form of the appeal is to a second person, male or female, singular or plural, why not translate it according to the meaning of the sentence?


éikh (ekh) medabrim ivrit


I dont get it! Is there anyone help me? "Impersonal plural"


In English we use "you" impersonally often. It means we're not asking you specifically, but generally. Also, we don't clarify if "you" is singular or plural, but other languages require it. In this case, the "you" is implied and not even included in the Hebrew sentence.


?"למה לא "איך מדברת עברית


it is grammatically incorrect, you missed the "את" before the "מדברת". how do you speak Hebrew- איך את מדברת עברית, how speak Hebrew-איך מדברת עברית.


How would one say "How did one speak Hebrew?"?


if you mean the quality of the Habrew one speak (knowledge of language, accent, vocabulary, etc.) than you can ask "איך הוא/היא מדבר/ת עברית?" or "איך העברית שלו/שלה?" (literal: "how is his\hers Hebrew), both common though the last one is slightly inccorect. other way (but much more formal) to ask it is "איך העברית שבפיו/שבפיה" (literal "how is the Hebrew in his\hers mouth").


Very interesting, but my question was about the impersonal Plural. How to say 'how did one speak hebrew'. Like in french 'on' and german 'man'. English doesn't really have this word.


The "hidden" pronoun is third person plural masculine (הם), so in past tense you'd say "איך דיברו עברית" and in future "איך ידברו עברית".


Oh, thank you very much!


. "איך מדברות עברית" why does the feminine form show up as incorrect ? Could someone please explain. Thanks .


The sentence uses an impersonal pronoun (similar to "how does one speak Hebrew?"). In such a case, you use plural masculine in Hebrew, without a pronoun.


Radagast is correct, but a comment to the curious: in recent years there are a few feminist writers (newspaper columns, social media) who strive to fix the (alleged) male preference of Hebrew; and they would make it a point to write sentences like איך מדברות עברית. Most Hebrew readers would come to a screeching halt when encountering such a sentence. Maybe that's the point.


It is not possible to know whether "you speak" in the sentence "How do you speak Hebrew?" represents an impersonal verb, or the "you" is an actual person. Therefore the only logical thing for the Hebrew team to do is accept both answers.


I have noticed that all of these verbs are translated into the masculine plural. Is there a reason why the feminine plural or the masculine/feminine singular are not accepted? Is there a grammar rule I am unaware of while taking this lesson?

Thank you for you answer!



The rule is that masculine plural form, without the pronoun, is used as the impersonal form.

You can read more about it in the tips and notes of the Determiners skill:

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