"Is a spider an insect?"
Translation:עכביש זה חרק?
is the spider "this/that?" an insect ? does זה have a meaning other than this/that ?
Yes, it's a copula. It takes the function of the "is" in this sentence, although it is not a verb. It's like the "=" sign, spider = insect.
So, should the meaning of the sentence be " A spider, is it an insect ? " ? Is this a better translation than the one provided or are both exactly the same translations ?
I wouldn't say that. In Hebrew the order of words in a sentence doesn't change to form a yes/no question.
עכביש זה חרק.
עכביש זה חרק?
But won't one instead say
עכביש הוא חרק.
In a normal sentence, not a question?
do you have to use the word זה here? Would this sentence be correct "האם עכביש חרק" ?
I don't know why your question appeared in my notifications since it's not directed to me.
However, Good question.
A copula is necessary here, in my opinion, as with most sentences that fit the pattern <noun> is <noun>.
I don't understand the זה here. If it's a copula, shouldn't it be הוא "spider, he is insect?" but זה implies the sentence is "spider this insect". I'm obviously missing something!
ll זה/זאת/אלה can be used in similar cases to הוא/היא/הם/הן. Both עכביש הוא חרק and עכביש זה חרק are good.