Is it not wrong for the subject and an adverb to both occupy the topic position? Should the sentence not read "Da sind die Äpfel klein." oder "Die Äpfel sind klein da."?
I guess they kind of merge together. The subject can consist of several words, this will still be the "first" position.
Die Äpfel da sind klein = Those apples (there) are small.
Da sind die Äpfel klein = There the apples are small.
Die Äpfel sind klein da = The apples are small there.
There is a slight difference between all the three sentences.
I guess the idea in this sentence looks quite similar to the French construction. It can be interesting to compare:
• Ces pommes-là sont petites = Those apples are small.
• Ces pommes-ci sont petites = These apples are small.
As one can see…
• ces …-ci = these
• ces …-là = those
… where the word "ces" is the demonstrative these/those, and the words "ci" and "là" are particles expressing the idea of here and there being attached to the noun before them by a hyphen.
Pretty much the same as the German sentence, I suppose. :)
That's what I was thinking... From what I read it should either go in front of the verb, in which case the subject would go after the verb, or after the verb and any pronouns. I'm almost positive it would be, "Da sind die Äpfel klein," or, "Die Äpfel sind da klein."
That's how it would have to be to go along with the grammar rules. I don't believe da could be included in the first position, and so it would have to go after the verb in order for the subject to be in first. Otherwise the verb wouldn't be in the second position.
That's just my thinking, though. If anyone can confirm this as correct or incorrect, please do.
If the three German versions of the sentence work anything like the English approximations given by olimo, and if the exercise is an acceptable German sentence, I'd say that attaching "da" to the apples almost serves an adjectival purpose (Which apples? Those apples there) which to me at least seems acceptable as a first position phrase. (since, after all, I think a subject could conceivably be something involved like "The small yellow apples of the tall quiet man..." which is something like (but not exactly, and I'm not too experienced with the genitive) "Die kleinen gelben Aepfel dem hoehen ruhig Mann..." and I think I may even have seen whole clauses occupying first position. Especially if the sentence is shifted around such that the subject is in the middle portion (to emphasize some other aspect), a phrase could definitely occupy first position.)
But then of course my first language is English and I'm just learning German, so do take it with a grain of salt.
Yes! That's a great way to look at it! It likely is similar to an adjective, like you said. I never really thought of it like that. Thank you! :D
Also, I believe the genitive case you were trying to use (die kleinen gelben Äpfel dem höhen ruhig Mann) would be "die kleinen gelben Äpfel des höhen ruhig Mannes" since des is the genitive article. :)
Ah X) I thought it was more wrong than that. My excuse is that I've gotten to the point where Duo wants me to learn all the varieties of adjective inflection and it's gotten me a bit confused. The upside is that, having made this error, I think I might remember it now.
Yes! The adjective endings can be a little confusing at first, but hopefully this will be a learning experience! :D I always like to think that being corrected by someone else makes it easier to remember something, so hopefully that will work in your favor here. ;)
"That apples are small" is not proper English. Only use "that" for singular nouns. E.g: That APPLE IS small.
THOSE APPLES ARE small.