Translation:There are animals on the mountain.
I believe it's because the subject is "on the mountain", rather than just "the mountain". The sentence still needs a subject even though you need に to indicate that you're talking about the location, so you end up with には.
山 isn't the subject, though. it's still the location. どうぶつ is the subject in this sentence (they are the ones performing "います/to be" and as far as I know, に can mean in/at/on/to depending on the context
This is why 'subject' is a bad word for talking about grammar! It's unclear whether people are talking about what the sentence is about, or what the agent of the verb is.
Think of は as the topic particle - it might also be the subject of the verb in the sentence, but here it's not. So it marks 山に, or on the mountain as the topic. "On the mountain, there are animals" versus "animals are on the mountain". It's a subtle difference but it changes the tone and emphasis
Things become more clear if the sentence is broken down:
山 + に (mountain + marker indicating in or on) = on the mountain + は (topic marker) = regarding "on the mountain"
どうぶつ (animals) + が (subject indicator) + あります (there exist [the subject]) = there are animals
Put them together and you get something translating roughly into "regarding on the mountain, there are animals" or more appropriately "There are animals on the mountain."
this makes sense now, as to what the は particle is meant for. I don't personally know of another language that uses the same grammar concept, at least not in the ones I speak
@leeviticus well that's the general idea anyway, there's probably a lot more nuance than that! I just wanted to give a general idea so people aren't as confused when it pops up in strange places
It's not that unusual though - in English we usually put the subject (as in, the focus) first in the sentence, or use vocal stress or constructions like 'as far as X goes' for emphasis when we put the subject elsewhere. The whole particle thing is unusual though, yeah - it's interesting!
@Medusa747 I think it's a subtle thing, the は adds emphasis to the 電車の駅に part, so instead of a simple statement of 'there are people at the train station' it's more like 'there are people at the train station'. There's an implication that there's something significant about it - maybe everywhere else is deserted, that kind of thing.
We use a change in speaking tone to add that kind of emphasis in English, Japanese can use particles instead. Way smarter and more knowledgeable people than me are talking about it here!
So would you say 電車の駅には人がいます if you want to say there's people at a train station?
From my understanding: The は isn't really necessary to make the sentence gramatically correct, per se. What it does do is mark the location 山に (on the mountain) as the topic of conversation. Since this sentence has no context, we're declaring the topic to make it clear.
"On the mountain are animals." Duolingo marked it wrong, but this is what happens when you add は -- it becomes the subject/topic of the sentence. We are talking about "on the mountain". Oh, "On the mountain there are animals." That one passed DuoLinguish . . .
"There are animals in the mountains" is not accepted, is it wrong? Why? Is there some nuance of "ni" particle that reqire the use of "in" vs. "on"?
Is 動物 / どうぶつ never singular? Would "animal" never be acceptable in this sentence?
While there is a specific noun modifier to force a plural (-tachi) it is generally left to context to differentiate between singlular and plural.
Japanese doesn't have specific singular or plural words as far as I know, so unless specified, it can mean both an animal or animals.
I said 'There are animals in the mountains' which I think should have been accepted as the sentence doesn't specify 'on' just the location of 'mountain' right? Otherwise it would yama no ue?
samw question. Please save downvotes for trolls, people, this is a valid question.
If in japanese there is not concept of singular or plural, why is that "on the mountsins" is not correct?
Is there a particular reason that "There are animals on a mountain" is not accepted?
"There is an animal on the mountain."
You used the wrong word. "There are animals on the mountain."
why [FACEDESK] would you count [FACEDESK] plural marking wrong [FACEDESK] in a language [FACEDESK] with no [FACEDESK] mandatory [FACEDESK] plurality marking