How does emphasis work for this sentence? I am trying to get a solid understanding of how emphasis works in Hungarian. I am assuming that because the adjective goes before the imaginary verb "van" that we are emphasising the word clean (are the streets CLEAN), or it is the neutral word order. If it were at the end, we'd be asking if the STREETS were clean, right?
Last question: Why is the adjective conjugated if it goes before the noun it describes?
The adjective here is a predicative adjective, not an attributive one -- it's not part of a noun phrase like "the clean streets", which would cause it not to be inflected. (And would require it to be after the article.)
It's specifically attributive adjectives (that come before a noun and modify that noun or specify it) that are not inflected - not any adjective that happens to come in the sentence before a noun.
Is there a difference in meaning between "roads" and "streets?" I have always understood "utca" to mean either.
No, the translation is correct. "Are these streets clean" = "Tiszták EZEK az utcák?"