האנגלית שלי רחוקה מלהיות מושלמת

Abaye

Senior Member
Hebrew
During a Zoom conversation yesterday I apologised "my English is far from perfect", but then realised that unconsciously I translated the Hebrew phrase "האנגלית שלי רחוקה מלהיות מושלמת" word by word. It this English phrase reasonable, or maybe should I say "my English is anything but perfect" or alike?

(It's an English question but derived from Hebrew).
 
  • Haskol

    Senior Member
    Hebrew, English - US/Canada
    I assume that the phrase "רחוק מלהיות מושלם" is itself a calque to begin with.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    If it's a calque, it's not an exact calque, as an exact calque should have been רחוקה ממושלמת.
    Seems that Hebrew like English have both רחוקה מלהיות מושלמת <-> "far from being perfect" and רחוקה ממושלמת <-> "far from perfect". So generally speaking @Haskol's observation is probable, although I did indeed mix the two variants in the initial message.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    This one sounds clumsy to me.
    And so is Hebrew רחוק מלהיות מושלם for me. This modern use of infinitive construct in such case and specifically with two prefixes (מ-ל-) is like chewing sand. But it's normal in colloquial Hebrew.
     
    Last edited:

    Haskol

    Senior Member
    Hebrew, English - US/Canada
    If it's a calque, it's not an exact calque, as an exact calque should have been רחוקה ממושלמת.
    It isn't necessarily a calque from English. Could be from another European language, or indeed not an exact calque.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    But that's the one you said? :p
    Yes, sadly my language is contaminated too, inevitable proceeding. That's how languages evolve I guess, yesterday's mistakes are tomorrow's norm, especially when constructs are missing in a language: lacking a natural gerund, modern Hebrew speakers invent one. And it's not about copula, "being", it's about any verb. For example:
    הלכת כבר הביתה?
    מה פתאום, אני רחוק מללכת הביתה, עדיין בעבודה
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    הלכת כבר הביתה?
    מה פתאום, אני רחוק מללכת הביתה, עדיין בעבודה
    Interesting. In English, "I'm far from going home" wouldn't work there.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    What's wrong with the מ + infinitive construction? It is found in the Mishnah:

    - דמאי ב ג: לא נמנעו מלהיות אוכלין זה אצל זה
    - כלאים ח א: כלאי הכרם אסורין מלזרוע ומלקיים ואסורין בהנאה כלאי זרעים אסורין מלזרוע ומלקיים ומותרין באכילה כלאי בגדים מותרין לכל דבר ואינן אסורין אלא מללבוש כלאי בהמה מותרין לגדל ולקיים ואינן אסורין אלא מלהרביע כלאי בהמה אסורין זה עם זה
    - יבמות א ד: לא נמנעו בית שמאי מלישא נשים מבית הלל
    - מקואות א ו: פסקו מלהיות בוצצין
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    All these quotes have traces of Aramaic influence. That is, written by those who probably spoke Hebrew as a second language. For me good Hebrew is a combination of the (not too esoteric parts of the) bible + *natural* additions since then. *Natural* means here grammar and vocabulary that made their way to the language to the level that now their integration is seamless.

    This is not a scientific thing of course, and yet I believe that my instinct in this specific regard can be demonstrated statistically in modern Hebrew... yet I'm too lazy to collect and analyze the data.
     

    amikama

    a mi modo
    עברית
    What's wrong with the מ + infinitive construction?
    I think the problem is with the construction שם תואר + מ- + שם פועל, not with מ- + שם פועל.

    Your examples involve verbs or passive participles (אסורין, מותרין). Are there examples with adjectives?
     
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