"There is nothing on the table."
Translation:На столе ничего нет.
нет ничего на столе? it's just a different word order..
Russian word order is quite flexible but you option is quuuuite a bit of a stretch. You would need a rather specific intonation to save it. In case you speak Russian natively, please note that in this course the bar is way higher that in the English one, so random phrasings that sound remotely Russian are not accepted.
yeah I noticed that. my level of russian is usually B1 to B2 but I couldn't pass anything when I tried the level placement test and i won't lie it broke my heart a little bit :'). and i do wish that those of us who are already familiar with cyrillic could skip the first 5 lessons. also one of the coolest thing about Russian is the fact that you could say the same thing in so many different ways, which is why i believe that the 'bar' for russian on duolingo should be way lower than the english one :) but that's just what i think.
Please understand that deviations from the standard word order also carry important information. In particular, your sentence might easily sound somewhat harsh if pronounced with stress on the first word. Not that it would be truly critical, but it's probably not something you intended (or wanted to pick up accidentally).
Well, it would not make any sense without the stress being on the first word :).
so ordering the sentence that way would only be accepted in certain situations? is this a general pattern or does this order sound funny only in this table example?
I think it works like this.
For a given sentence, you can usually find the most neutral word order. Some phrases sound odd no matter how you arrange the words, sometimes there is more than one option.
If you deviate from the “default” word order that the listener expects, you create tension that can be used to emphasise some parts of the sentense. However, if used without proper justification, it just sounds odd/funny/ungrammatical/nonsensical.
Generally, the more you alter the word order, the more specific your context has to be. Here you drag «нет» all the way to the front, which creates a lot of tension. Possible context might look like this:
Your friend, from another room: “Can you fetch me the book from the table?”
You, observing the empty table: “Huh?”
Your friend: “The book. It's somewhere on the table.”
You, irritated: ”There's nothing on the table.”
In very specific situations, like if someone repeatedly asks you to look for their passport on the table. "Man, I'm telling you—there's nothing there!"
Generally, we are dealing with it by looking at how a native speaker would most likely say it. Then, for longer sentences, you often have a few answers that are rather likely, some a bit stiff or, on the contrary, colloquial, and then a few unlikely wordings that need a speaker know very well what they are doing. Of course, there are a lot of forbidden word orders, too.
We must have a cutoff somewhere, otherwise a learner will think that the most natural wording and a really odd one are interchangeable (Duolingo does not rate answers anyhow). Which is simply not true. It is best to learn from good examples :)
Though I suspect some whining from Russian speakers taking this course (the aswers accepted in the course of English were... rather forgiving).
Your version is slightly unnatural as a simple declarative sentence.
«На» takes either Accusative or Prepositional, «стола» is the Genitive form.
Accusative: When motion is involved, as in putting something on/onto the table.
Prepositional: When it's simply a question of location.
This sentence has a several Russian е letters in it. Sometimes it seems like е is pronounced like э, sometimes as "ye" (as in нет). Is there a rule of pronunciation similar to the one for unstressed о sounding like а?
Unstressed е typically turns into something closer to и. Since е is basically йэ, iotation applies, so for example «нет» is not pronounced as nyet (the н instead turns soft).
In many foreign loans е is used to imitate the Latin “e” (Russian э), which results in «кофе» and «кафе» sounding nothing alike. Unfortunately, this is not particularly predictable. Finally, the dots over ё are optional and are very often ommited, so you will see lots of еs to be read as ё.