That would be more accurately reflected in "Здесь яблоко".
"Яблоко здесь" answers the question "Где яблоко?"
"Здесь яблоко" answers the question "Что здесь?"
Thank you for the clarification. Some of these aren't clear or concise for using "the" vs "a/an" on some things.
I know this is from three years ago, but some more recent people might be confused, so here goes.
Okay, I am also pretty new to Russian so I'm bound to make a mistake, but here's what I've picked up. Both вот and здесь mean "here", but there is a critical difference.
вот - here, as in pointing or showing something DIRECTLY to another person. For example, "Here is an apple." In the context that you are pointing to an apple and showing another person what it is. That would be "Вот яблоко."
здесь - here, but referring to a place. Let's say you were pointing to a map. "The park is here." That would be "Парк здесь." Or, if you were saying something like, "America is here." That would be "Америка здесь."
I might be wrong, but I do hope this helps someone. :D
What is the proper way to distinguish between "AN apple is here" and "THE apple is here"?
There is no way to distinguish between them in Russian, I think. You have to interpret it from the context.
Can't it also be translated as: "Here (at this spot) is an/the apple"? (or is my translation that of "Vot yabloko")
When the word "here" is at the beginning of a sentence, it means "вот", and when "here" is at the end it means "здесь". For example:
1) The waiter serves coffee: "Here is your coffee" (Вот ваш кофе).
2) Where is my coffee? - Your coffee is here
(Где мой кофе? - Ваш кофе здесь.)
After a long time of study here on duolingo and off I'm still not certain there is any way to actually distinguish properly between the definite and indefinite quite the same as in English "the" or "an", especially in simple sentences like this so I'd recommend that "an" and "the" be interchangeable for at least this sentence and maybe some others... Unless someone has an explanation that would actually, finally, clear this up truly once and for all. I can't find any answer in any book, website, software, etc... Years and years of self teaching myself Russian, very frustrating.
There are no articles in Russian, so you should take a look at the article from the position of English.
The context determines everything. There must be a definite article in the given sentence, because this may be the answer to the one who is looking for an apple, so that is already known about which apple they talk.
And you need an indefinite article if you hear or say about the subject for the first time: "Тhere is an apple here".
I said 'here is the apple' and got marked wrong. Wouldn't that work still?
"Here is the apple" = Вот яблоко.
"The apple is here" = Яблоко (находится) здесь.
How can you decide "a" or "the", where there is no mention of an article in the original text?