"In Budapest the houses are like those in Vienna."
Translation:Budapesten a házak olyanok, amilyenek Bécsben.
It is accepted now, and it fuels my confusion where olyan has to be placed. Does it make a difference?
Not really, as both places you see here are predicate places. Imagine a simpler sentence:
"Budapesten a házak pirosak."
"Budapesten pirosak a házak."
These two are pretty much the same.
Now, take that predicate adjective ("pirosak"), and replace it with a reference ("olyanok"), pointing to a second clause actually describing those houses. That is basically how this whole thing works.
Can I start with olyan then too? There is no real connection between anything? Or is olyan then a topic and that would be odd? I think none of the lesson's sentences does that.
Well, can you say
"Pirosak a házak Budapesten."?
Sure, you can.
Therefore, yes, you can also start with "olyanok":
"Olyanok a házak Budapesten, amilyenek Bécsben."
Perfectly fine, not weird at all. Sure, it is a prominent place in the sentence, but that is just fine.
Thanks for asking just a rhetorical question. I would really not have had an answer; word order, especially if verbs are missing is still plain weird to me.
Sure, I understand. Maybe you could practice with very short sentences, like
"A kutya ugat" vs "Ugat a kutya", "Az ég kék" vs "Kék az ég". It is also a good exercise to start feeling the difference between the different word orders. Difference in topic:
Q: What does the dog do?
A: "A kutya ugat."
Q: What is going on? What is happening?
A: "Ugat a kutya."
Here is a discussion where I listed a few example sentences, maybe it will help:
I think I can handle or understand word order rules if there is a verb. Then it is similar to German, where the emphasized element gets in front of the verb too. The verb is just always on second position. But sentences without verb are another thing.
In the linked comment you said "important things first"? So if we don't have a verb, which is the core/master element, the emphasis is basically descending 1, 2, 3? Olyanak 1, a házak 2, Budapesten 3 And the order could be anything? But 1, 2, 3 would be the same?
So then it is similar to what I (can) do in German?
In Budapest sind die Häuser (so) wie in Wien.
Die Häuser sind in Budapest (so) wie in Wien.
(So) wie in Wien sind die Häuser in Budapest.
Ge solche/ En such/ Hu olyanak is omited though (like in English).
Only "Such houses are in Budapest like those in Vienna." "Solche Häuser sind in Budapest, wie die in Wien"/ "In Budapest sind solche Häuser, wie die in Wien." would use it. (and this is possible a more accurate/ literal translation?)
Actually, there should be no significant difference whatever the predicate is, verb or not. The rule should say predicate, we just use verb to make it more digestable.
We can easily prove this by, for example, switching to the past tense, where the verb comes out of hiding:
"Budapesten a házak olyanok voltak, mint Bécsben."
"Olyanok voltak a házak Budapesten, amilyenek Bécsben."
To come back to the present, you just remove the verb.
The only difference between a pure verb predicate and a non-verb or combined (verb plus another word) one is that a combined predicate can have its own inner word order change, as well:
"A ház épül." - "A ház nem épül."
"A ház piros." - "A ház nem piros."
"A ház piros volt.":
"A ház nem piros volt."
"A ház nem volt piros."
Otherwise, the rule is the same: the emphasized position is the one in front of the predicate. When a combined predicate itself has the emphasis, the verb comes second ("A ház PIROS VOLT."). When the word in front of the predicate is emphasized, the verb moves forward inside the predicate ("A HÁZ volt piros.").
I am not sure what you are trying to say here, but basically there are two ways to say this:
"Budapesten olyan házak vannak, amilyenek Bécsben."
"Budapesten a házak olyanok, amilyenek Bécsben."
The second one is the translation of the English sentence above.
It seems as if you mixed these two and came up with an incorrect sentence. That is, your version seems to miss the verb "vannak". I am not sure, this is just my guess.