Something I'm beginning to hear is that, where a word ending in a vowel is followed by the preposition в, the "v" sound is sometime tacked on to that vowel, e.g., "Cat in boots" = Кошка в сапогах, I hear "Koshkav sapaga(kh). (Using some on-line translators to pronounce this)
With the -- there's a real separation - the в goes with the second clause, although it seems to be barely pronounced, more like a "ssss" or "fffsss" sound than a "v" sound.
In Russian, consonants such as ц, ч, ш, щ, don't take the palatalizing vowel Я. There is no "ць" or "шь" sound in Russian, that's why. "це" and "ше" are pronounced "цэ" and "шэ." Conversely, there is no "чэ" or "щэ" because they are always palatalized "че" and "ще." "Вещь" is pronounced the same as "вещ," and "делаешь" is pronounced identically to "делаеш"
Logical internal consistency and sense can go a long way in choosing which article to use.
"My towels are in the taxi" means that you know where they are because you probably left them there. You're referring to a specific taxi that you apparently know about. The taxi might even be waiting outside for someone to come get the towels.
"A taxi" on the other hand means the towels somehow got into an unknown taxi, you don't know which taxi, nor is there an assumable context for how they got there. It's a weird idea, that somehow your towels ended up in a taxi somewhere, but that's all you know. Also, how did you know they were in a taxi, and not some other vehicle?
The whole dash situation still confuses me. Why is it necessary in this phrase, but not in "кошка на дереве," for example? The only real difference I can spot is that one phrase has a possessive pronoun, and the other one doesn't. (well, that and the fact that this one is plural).
I've actually asked a Russian friend of mine in the meantime, and they told me there was a difference. It has to do with whether or not there's a real predicate in the sentence. "The girl is a student" requires a dash, since the girl and the student are the same thing: "девочка - студент" (I know that's a hyphen, but I don't think my Gboard can input a dash). "Кошка в дереве" is correct because there's no predicate in the sentence, so there's nothing for the dash to replace. "The cat" isn't the same thing as "the tree," it just indicates the position, and thus no hyphen is necessary. Don't even ask me why this sentence DOES have a hyphen then, though. Any native speaker who can help us out here? (or in case you're a native speaker, is my friend's explanation bs? ;)
The present tense verb "is"/"are" is omitted in Russian. The dash (--) is used to denote its absence in writing.
Otherwise, "Мои полотенце в такси...[what about them?]" That would be like, "My towels in the taxi...[what about them?]"
But only in writing. In spoken Russian, dash or no dash sound the same.
You mean in the way that Мои полотенца - в такси (My towels are in the taxi) is a sentence with an ending, and Мои полотенца в такси (My towels in the taxi) could be a sentence that require to be continued? (for example: (My towels in the taxi ... are dirt). Could it be the case?