"There are birds in the tree."
Translation:На дереве птицы.
It'd be translated as "Birds are in the tree". :) "There is/are" construction doesn't have a specific counterpart in Russian, but the object has to be put to the ending of the sentence. An example: "На столе книга" means "There is a book on the table" and "Книга на столе" means "The book is on the table".
A great explanation! I was under the impression есть is used for the "there is/are" construction. As I have yet to see есть used this way here, it has caused a bit of confusion.
For example - Там есть птицы.
It's correct, just less common for a statement without a context. Common for a question (На дереве есть птицы?) or emphasizing (Да, на дереве есть птицы).
Report if not accepted.
A better translation would be "The birds are in the/a tree." What English indicates with articles, Russian often conveys with word order.
Already-known information comes at the beginning (often corresponding to definite articles), new information at the end (often corresponding to indefinite).
There is no object in either of the sentences "Birds are in the tree" or "There are birds in the tree".
You mean the subject (of the sentence = "birds"), not the object, has to be at the end of the Russian sentence, while it's usually at the beginning of the English sentence. The only grammatical object in the sentence is "tree", which is the object of the preposition "on" = на.
Technically, "there" is the subject, but it is more of a place-holder which is defined by the predicate "the birds", so at a grammatically order sentence is "The birds are there in the tree", although that changes the function of the word "there" somewhat.
A more transparent English rewording of "There are birds in the tree" is "Birds are in the tree" (provided the intonation is right). I think, "there" indeed serves as a dummy subject, and some varieties of English even prefer singular agreement (i.e. ,"There's birds in the tree").
This sentence has no "object". Well, you have a noun "tree" in the prepositional phrase that serves as a place where stuff happens.
What is nonsense?
Also, please make your comments in English. This course is for English-speakers to learn Russian from Duo, not from you and Google translate.
Why do we have to use the preposition на and not в to translate this? I understand that на implies that the birds sit on the tree or on a branch of the tree, but the original sentence could also be understood as birds are literally in the tree (like within a hole in the tree). In second case it should be в or would it still be на?
Because this is how the grammar is in Russian. We say "on the tree" rather than "in the tree". Don't assume the sentence patterns in Russian are the same as in English.
"Птицы сидят на дереве" --> the birds are sitting in the tree, on the branches
"Птицы сидят в дереве" --> the birds are sitting inside of the tree, somehow in the trunk, inside of the wood (so sounds really weird, not a proper sentence)
Just a different pattern than in English. They don't always make sense. E.g. also in English one says "on the train" and not "in the train", even though physically the person is "in" the train car, and it's the same in Russian in this case - "на поезде"
This is exactly how I meant it. The problem was not the russian grammar, but the english example sentence, which could mean either "sitting on top" or "sitting inside the trunk". So from the context it would be clear to use either на or в but we have no context to make this clear, therefore I had to ask for clarification.
I really don't think "in the tree" means "in the trunk" in some science fictional way I described :) "In the tree" always means "on the branches" in English. At least I thought so... Native speakers?
Putting aside the non-equivalent prepositions (thanks for that), it looks like you didn't understand what MortiBiRD was saying (maybe you did, but it doesn't look like it).
Suppose the birds were staying in a bird-hotel that was inside the tree truck. Then the birds are literally inside the tree. In English we would most definitely say that the birds are "in the tree". Are you saying that in Russian one should still say "on the tree" - "на дерево"?
In English, if birds are perched on a branch of a tree, we say "The birds are in the tree". If birds are staying in a bird-hotel literally inside a tree, then we say "The birds are in the tree, literally".
Also, regarding your example of "on the train" versus "in the train", honestly I think either way sounds normal.
I think it depends on the type of bird, e.g. https://www.thespruce.com/description-of-cavity-nesting-385193
Or is "in a hole in the trunk" sufficiently different from "in the trunk" that Russian wouldn't use "в" for this situation?
На дереве means in the tree in the sense of, on the branches.
В дереве would mean in the trunk of a tree, inside a tree.
If the stress falls on the word птицы, it's really the same. На дереве птицы. На дереве есть птицы.
If it falls on есть, it feels slightly different. На дереве есть птицы. It sounds like a contradiction to some previous statement/knowledge/etc that there were no birds in the tree. There are birds in the tree.
Otherwise really I don't feel much difference. Maybe there is difference, and somebody else can comment on it, but my perception ends here :D
That means something like "There, the birds are in a tree." The sentence here is "there are" in the sense of existence as opposed to location.
Or "There are birds in the tree there". So, the first part is really the same except for the extra "there". Здесь птицы на дереве would have been "There are birds in the tree here". Simply На дереве птицы is "There are birds in the tree" without the specification where :)
I wonder if there is a reason why these words are so similar: дверь is door, and дереве is tree.
Maybe because you add extra information with the word "здесь" which was not present in the English sentence.
Здесь птицы на дереве = There are birds here in the tree
In looking up this word and trying to get some other pronunciation of it, I noticed three forms of the word for "tree": дереве. деревo, деревa which seem at least to be neutrer and feminine genders, possibly even all three genders. I don't know what to make of that.
tree = дерево (Nominative, singular and as gender neuter). дереве is Prepositiv singular. дерева is Genitive singular (and its Nominative plural=trees; and its Accusative plural). To make it more enjoyable, there are even more inflexed forms.
Thanks. The translator I was using didn't mention case at all. Time to find another translator for Russian, it seems.
I don't know whether the correct spelling I enter showed up on other displays. I removed the marks I'd used to make part of the text italic, and that seems to have changed the displayed spelling to the correct characters.
Italics for Cyrillic can differ a good deal from the non-italic forms, particularly for г, д, т and и.
Is there any lesson where duolingo teaches only the alphabet and how each character sounds like it does in greek??
Not for Russian, no. As it happens, that part of the Greek course is actually not popular and will be substantially altered or eliminated with their new tree version.
What are the rules for when you include "есть" and when you don't? If I were to say, "there are birds in the city", that would be translated as "в городе есть птицы", but saying, "there are birds in the tree" cannot be translated as "на дереве есть птицы"?