"Forty lions are running behind the giraffe!"
Translation:Negyven oroszlán fut a zsiráf mögött!
Word order question: is Négyven oroszlán a zsiráf mögött fut incorrect, or does it simply have a different emphasis?
It is correct. The word before the verb (fut) is emphasized, so in DL's sentence negyven ororszlán and in your sentence a zsiráf mögött.
Q: How many lions are running behind the giraffe?
A: Negyven oroszlán fut a zsiráf mögött.
Q: Where are forty lions running? / What are forty lions running behind?
A: Negyven oroszlán a zsiráf mögött fut.
What happens to the emphasis if the structure is A zsiráf mögött negyven oroszlán fut? Am I correct in understanding that the position before the verb is the prime emphasis, regardless of where the verb happens in relation to other pieces?
Yes, you are correct.
But what comes first in a sentence is also important. That's what grabs our attention first. So, we can call it a secondary, but very important, emphasis.
40 lions are running behind the giraffe.
Behind the giraffe, 40 lions are running.
I guess it could be the same difference in English. Unless the second version sounds too weird to be considered.
Since you seem to be very interested in word order and emphasis, check these out: