As a Pole I'll dare to say that all slavic languages are like that, thanks to lack of articles, possibility to omit pronouns, etc.
It can seem pretty vague - even primitive - to the novice American student of Russian: "on table box"
It is because of "на". It's the prepositional case. By itself: "стол" (table) With "на": "на столе" (on table)
If you didn't change it that way, it wouldn't be clear what is "on" what.
If you wanted to change the meaning to "table on box" it would be something like "на стол коробке".
Так: Box on table = на столе коробка Table on box = на стол коробке
Does anyone have an easy-to-remember mind trick to help me remember the difference between "box" and "cow" (коробка и коровка)?
The difference is the B sound versus the V sound. So you can remember, ordinary roBBers might steal jewel boxes, while the Border ReiVers in Scotland and England stole cattle.
I don't know if that's any good...
Яшик sounds unnatural in some contexts, whereas
коробка is a more general term.
Why not "a table"? -- I thought placing a word near the front of the sentence indicates it is new information (hence, 'a' rather than 'the').