"A dog is lying on the ground."
Translation:На земле лежит собака.
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Yeah. It's not as simple as subject first = "the", subject late = "a', but both of those things developed to solve the same problem: to tell people what in your sentence is new information, and what is just connecting things already mentioned.
If you say собака first, that sounds like the dog is already established as a topic of conversation, so you're telling someone where some dog is which you were already talking about. If you put it at the end, it sounds like the dog is new information, so it can't be "the dog", which is a dog that's already part of the conversation.
It's a valid sentence but it's not exactly neutral and is an unlikely translation of the original English sentence. It stresses "лежит" - whenever you deviate from the "default" SVO (subject-verb-object) order, you tend to stress the last word of the sentence -- the new information it conveys. So here you are "rubbing in" the fact the dog is lying, as opposed to sitting, standing etc. Furthermore, since "coбака" is not the last word in your sentence, the natural assumption is that we already know what dog we are talking about, which clashed with English "a dog". For that reason it's an unlikely translation of the original sentence.
That said, in speech you can always override this by a vocal stress but that's how it works in writing.
You can read more on the Russian word order here
Firstly, "to lie" does not have to be an action - it can be a state: you lie in your bed while asleep, no action involved. (Don't mix it with "laying something down" which is always an action, but is inapplicable here).
But in any case, action or not, собака here is a subject, not an object and hence should be nominative.
I am sorry :) anyway this is not really important question. Some asked about order of words (собака на траве vs на траве собака) I understand the difference between asking "what is somewhere" and "where is something" But I mean, what if I want say: "I am not going there because there is a dog on the grass" Now I realized I wouldnt use this answer :) I would say Я не иду потому там собака Thanks for trying understand, i think I just was too tired yesterday, so I posted weird and unnecessery question. :)
L'ordre des mots pour les francais. Super bien expliqué http://russe.inalco.chez.com/L0GRAM/GRAM_LO/ordre_mots.htm