"Where is the short judge?"
Translation:Hol van az alacsony bíró?
Would the indefinite singular turn into an indefinite plural, like alma = "apples"?
The definite article "the" in "Where is the short judge?" needs to be included as the definite article az in the Hungarian.
No, in this case "van" can not be omitted. Question word "Hol" has to be followed by verb, in this case "van"
It depends on the level of formality. Leaving out the van in this sentence is not good formal grammar, but it is common enough colloquially.
Does anyone have a good recommendation for learning the logic of placing adjectives before or after the noun? Because I've seen both on here and can't see a particular pattern for it.
For example, one site I was looking at said the word placement is variable but that putting them in different places affects the emphasis of the sentence.
This is .. actually quite simple so far:
If you have an attributive adjective - the short girl, a hot summer, high mountains - you put the adjective directly in front of the noun, like in English: az alacsony lány, egy forró nyár, magas hegyek.
If you have an adjective in a copula sentence - the book is long, the houses are red, few children are tall - you place the adjective after the noun, just like in English: a könyv hosszú, a házak pirosak, néhány gyerek magas. Note that this variant is the only one where the adjectives get pluralised if the noun in question is plural.
Mind to share the site you are referring to? I'd be interested to see their examples.
Why do we use "az" in this example, though the noun starts with an "b". (biro)
Does the "az" refer to the "a" of alacsony?
Yes. A becomes az if the next word starts with a vowel. It works like the English a/an, for the most part.