אך כמעט

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by airelibre, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    I'm not entirely sure I understand the following sentence, from הנך יפה by Idan Raichel which is inspired by the third part of Song of Songs.

    מצאוני השומרים הסובבים בעיר אך אהובי כמעט ולא מצאתי אותו

    "The guards going round the city found me but not quite my beloved and I didn't find him"
    is my best guess, but the part that confuses me is in bold.
     
  2. origumi Senior Member

    Hebrew
    It's fuzzy, intentionally or not. I suggest "but my beloved, I nearly have but then haven't found him". Try this punctuation:

    אך אהובי, כמעט... ולא מצאתי אותו
     
  3. ystab Senior Member

    Hebrew
    It appears to be, and I'm not sure about that, משפט ייחוד (I don't know the exact term in English, but it is a sort of an extraposition). Meaning, "the guards going round the city found me but my beloved, I didn't quite find him/I almost didn't find him."
     
  4. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    According to Morfix, "compound nominal clause" or "casus pendens" but I've never heard of those, extraposition is much easier on the eye! Anyway, both of those terms only seem to apply to (Biblical Hebrew), but whatever it's called I understand the sentence better now.

    Thanks to both of you, the punctuation makes it clearer.

    Just a quick question about the song and the whole of the Song of Songs: את שאהבה נפשי appears numerous times. Is אהבה a verb here? Ie. "...(he) that my soul loved", because I find it strange that it would be in the past tense. That suggests that her soul no longer loves (him), but does it instead mean that she loved him in the times that he was there, as opposed to now, when she can't find him?
     
  5. origumi Senior Member

    Hebrew
    The language in Song of Songs is peculiar. Specifically, seems that "present tense" appears in chapter 3 systematically as a participle, following the presumed history of this form. This may be because the text is very old, or because it's very poetic, or both. The form שאוהבת נפשי (as you expected) would take אוהבת beyond the capacity of participle.

    (This is my quick observation, I am sure there are many serious academic analyses of this text).
     
  6. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    מצאוני השומרים הסובבים בעיר אך אהובי כמעט ולא מצאתי אותו
    מצאוני - found me (those that appear right next)
    השומרים - the guards
    הסובבים העיר - that are patrolling town
    אך אהובי - but my love
    כמעט - almost
    ולא מצאתי אותו - and i did not find him.
    when i would translate the whole thing i would write:
    מצאוני השומרים הסובבים בעיר אך אהובי כמעט ולא מצאתי אותו

    the guards patrolling town have found me (while looking for my love);-alas my love, i have almost missed him.
     
  7. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London

    Judging by the next line (אך לא ארפה ממנו עד שאביאו אל תוך עירי) I don't think "I have almost missed him" is accurate. It makes sense in the scheme of the original Song of Songs, wherein she sees him straight after finishing talking with the guards, but here in הנך יפה it doesn't really work as a translation.​

    I did actually think at first that it meant "I almost didn't find him" but then that would just be "כמעט לא מצאתי אותו" and the 'ו changes the meaning, I think, to mean more along the lines of the earlier suggestions.
     
  8. origumi Senior Member

    Hebrew
    If Raichel strictly follows Song of Songs, then you are right.

    Anyway, as this is a discussion about Raichel rather than about Hebrew - any interpretation is good for me.
     
  9. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    "i have almost missed him." means that she actually did find him.
     

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