"Does the pigeon have water?"
Translation:האם ליונה יש מים?
I came here to see whether the sentence being translated was really "Does a pigeon have water" instead of "Does the pigeon have water," and found the answer I was looking for. But now, I'm intrigued by the translation given above, "האם ליונה יש מים". The "יש’" seems out of place, not being followed by a "...ל". What are the rules for the sentence structure displayed here?
It's the most common ("typical") word order and the order is reversed in the contexts I mentioned (that list isn't exhaustive tho) but know that if you're attaching the ל to a noun instead of a pronoun the most natural order is for it to come first.
So you wouldn't usually come across:
יש ליונה מים
because that's a noun rather than a pronomial suffix.
Saying "yesh hoo mayim" would not be correct because the word "lo" serves as a conjunction of "to" and "him." Hence if you were to structure your sentence like you did above, the correct execution would be "Hayonah, yesh lo mayim?" Just a note that this too would be incorrect. In English, you wouldn't say "The dove, he has water?" In Hebrew it wouldn't be said either.
Both word orders are correct, but they don't include both versions for every single sentence. The reason is probably that even though they are both correct, one is always more common, more natural. When you have a pronoun, more natural is to start with יש and when you have a different subject, like יונה here, it would be more natural to put ליונה first.
Hebrew does not have the verb “has”, instead it uses for example here To the pigeon there is water to mean “The pigeon has water.”
To is le, the is ha, so le+ha=la.
To the pigeon la-yona
The pigeon has water. This can be a question if the speaker voices it as a question, but the word haim at the beginning leaves no doubt that it is a question. However, the ordinary person on the street will never use the word haim because it’s too formal.