My feeling, as a native speaker, is that when you drop "bir" (or any word indicating quantity) the quantity is not emphasized anymore. What is really meant is there exists an unimportant / unmentioned number of thieves in the house, that number is certainly greater than zero, but should normally be assumed as one :D. What I can tell with confidence is that translating "evde hırsız var" by using "thieves" would not be correct. So yes, we interpret it as a singular thief unless specified otherwise, yet if it turns out that there were multiple of them we wouldn't call the person who told us this a liar since that person didn't use any quantity in the first place ;)
Thanks, That is a good way to put it! :) As a Persian speaker we do a similar thing as Turkish where we drop the "bir" and basically it works like your sentence where all you're implying is that At LEAST one thief exists. Now, I know how to explain it in my language once it comes out on duo ;)
Yes, that's great because I really had a hard time explaining it. Part of the problem is that I couldn't find a way to talk about thieves in neither plural nor singular fashion. This made me think that some grammars force us to think in a certain way. For a native English speaker, your initial question makes sense because it's impossible to think of unnumbered thieves (It's either thieves or a thief) whereas there is no restriction in Turkish, and apparently neither in Persian. It's also an important question because, after all, you need to translate it.
The more I thought about it the better I realized that when you say "evde hırsız var", what you really, really mean is "the house is currently being broken into", as the turkish phrase doesn't give any information about the quantity at all. But since you need to use the word "thief" you must quantify it in English, which not only changes the meaning but also makes your initial question look important to an English speaker. English grammar, however, doesn't force us to further describe the thieves, such as their sex, color of their clothes etc, hence you don't ask about them, you only ask about their numbers. Uncountable nouns are different though. If the sentence was "evde ekmek var", you would translate it as "there is bread at home". Since you can speak about unnumbered bread, you wouldn't care to ask about how much of it there is and end up with a perfect translation.
So, the true answer to your question is that we don't make assumptions about the quantity in such cases, but since an English speaker absolutely needs to know about the plurality, I'd say "one" is a good choice as it is the minimum number to signify existence of something. If only the grammar allowed us to say something like "there is thief in the house"...
Some languages don't make this distinction. Arabic is the same; 'thief' and 'burglar' are the same.
Just like there are no distinctions between 'tamr', 'balah' and 'rutab' in English - they all are 'dates' as far as English is concerned!
You will find many similar examples across languages.
Warning: I'm not a native Turkish speaker by the way ;)
"Evde hırsız var." Translation: There is a thief in the house.
So it is incorrect to say 'There are thieves in the house"?
Your answer is correct & is plural for "thieves."
"Hırsızlar evde var" - There are thieves in the house. The plural noun acts as a verb conjugation. So "var" is correct in this example for the verb ending.
Kind regards to you.