"Are the plates here?"
(not native speaker) From what I understand, the 'new' information goes towards the end of the sentence in Russian:
здесь тарелки? - are there plates here?
тарелки здесь? - are the plates here?
The words are correct, but emphasis changes depending on location in sentence. Presumably, that's what happened here as well.
For more information, you could view (a by no means complete, but a good start regardless) "A guide to word order", by szeraja_ zhaba can be found here --> https://www.duolingo.com/comment/13955228
Could word order be more important because Russian has no articles? So maybe "тарелки здесь?" means "Are the plates here?" and "здесь тарелки?" means "Are there any plates here?" ? Could someone with more knowlegde please clarify?
Actually, we, as learners, usually tend to suppose that word order would be less important in Russian due to grammatical cases. But, in fact, word order is as important in Russian as it is in English, maybe even more.
That makes a lot of sense, because, if you look at a declension table of noun endings for masculine/feminine/neuter, singular/plural and all 6 cases, there are so many haphazard repetitions of the same letter that, without something besides the ending, Russian would be impossible to understand.
For example, -а is an ending for Masculine singular Accusative (animate) and Genitive cases, for Feminine singular nominative, and for Neuter plural Nominative and Accusative (inanimate). Я has some similar multi-function uses, as well as other endings.
I don't think it's possible to depend solely on the word endings to determine word function. There has to be something(s) else - and word-order is one of those things.
Same question. I'm 99% sure "здесь тарелки?" also means "are the plates here?"