"The window is there."
There's a grammar rule in 日本語 called ko-so-a-do. こ(ko) refers to something physically near you in about arms reach or so. そ(so) means something about in your direct field of vision, but not terribly close. あ(a) is something too far away for the previous two, and ど (do) is along the lines of where.
That was pretty long, but applied to your question the difference is そこ means "over there", like you could point to it, and あそこ means "way over there", like it was further off.
That sentence uses the general formula to say a topic is in a certain state of being (including being ~at a certain place~). It's somewhat equivalent to the use of verb "to be" in English. Check the formula:
[Topic] は [State] です。 [窓] は [そこ] です。 [Window] is the topic, [there] is the state. ~Speaking of window, there it is. ~The window is there.
So the placement of the state/place そこ (there) is in accordance to the above formula. If you change the state/place, the structure remains the same:
窓は 台所 です。 [Window] is the topic, [kitchen] is the state. ~Speaking of window, (in the) kitchen it is. ~The window is in the kitchen.
You can also change the state to something that is not a place. For example, using 大きい (おおきい big) as a state:
窓は大きいです。 [Window] is the topic, [big] is the state. ~Speaking of window, big it is. ~The window is big.
In other sentences, そこ may appear somewhere else because a different formula is being used.
「窓はそこです」and「そこは窓です」are both valid phrases I think, but they have slightly different meanings.
It may help, to understand them, to see to which question they can be an aswer of :
- 窓はどこですか。窓はそこです。Where is the window ? The window is there.
- そこは何ですか。そこは窓です。What is there ? There it is a window.
(of course, the topic won't be repeated in a real question-answer followup)
It is quite difficult to apprehend with the English examples, as in English "there" can be both:
- a place distant of the speaker (eg: そこ )
- a part of the fixed idiom "there is/there are" (eg: あります (for inanimates) / います (for animates) ）
The phrase "There is a window" can be parsed two different ways:
- (there)(is)(a window) = そこには窓です
- (there is)(a window) = 窓があります
Here it is soko because... If u r asking for window it means u r in the home or very near to home. So in both the case window is also near to you.
We use asoko when the thing is so far (out of our reach) Soko - when we can point are our finger to that thing. Asoko - when we cannot point our finger to that thing. (We only give direction that where is it)
Yes, in English there are multiple meanings for "there" which can be determined based on context. "There" can refer to existence あります "There is a window" (A window exists). Or position そこ "The window is there"
窓があります - [As for the window] [It exists] (There is a window)
For "the window is there" you can use two different constructions.
窓はそこです - [As for the window] [It is there] - this directly equates "window" with its position "there"
窓はそこにあります - [As for the window] [It exists there] - the window is being described as existing in the location of "there"
Both can be used with either. The only real difference between them is the location of the thing being talked about;
そこ refers to something near the listener "There (near you)".
あそこ refers to something far from both the speaker and listener "(over) there (away from us)"
Duo usually uses a simple "that/there" for soko and "that over there" for asoko, though most questions accept either since the English doesn't really distinguish between them.