"They hear us."
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In this context, "they hear us" - "hem shom'im ottannoo."
If, however, "they listen to us" - then "hem makshivim lanoo."
And now, independently of all that ... Though not frequently encountered, the following has a distinct meaning:
לשמוע ל-[עצה] ..." או משהו כזה "
"to heed [advice] ..." or something like that
This sentence shows that I don't understand the indefinite plural.
Why can the subject pronoun be dropped in this sentence? I thought that the subject pronoun was required whenever you're talking about a specific group of people, and that an omitted subject pronoun means that the subject is general or vague.
I thought that "שומעים אותנו." would be translated as "Someone can hear us", "You [indefinite] can hear us", "People can hear us", or "We can be heard."
As far as I can think of, "They hear us" can only be used when you have a specific group in mind, so that it would be translated as "הם שומעים אותנו." or "הן שומעים אותנו." Can you just always drop "הם" and "הן" like you can with Spanish pronouns?
Another reason to omit the subject in Hebrew is if it's very obvious to the speaker and listener; it could still be a concrete group of people.
In the concert preparation Mick Jagger is unsure about the sound tuning. He asks the soundman, "Do they [the audience] hear us?" The soundman raises a thumb. Jagger reassures Keith Richards, "They hear us". If he had talked Hebrew, both his question to the soundman and his reassurance to Richards could have been "שומעים אותנו".