"These dogs are sitting near this car."
Translation:ये कुत्ते इस गाड़ी के पास बैठे हैं।
I really hope the mods see all of the questions people have in the comments here, which are coming up in every single discussion section in this unit, and they add some grammar notes/explanation for the whole unit.
I too don't understand why "A cat is sitting on the chair" started with "Is kursi", but "These dogs are sitting near this car" starts with "Ye kuthe". There's no consistency and more importantly no grammatical explanation anywhere.
There are two reasons the word order is different in the two Hindi sentences:
1) The nouns in the sentences differ with respect to definiteness.
In "There is a cat on the chair", chair is definite and cat is not.
In "The cat is on the chair", both chair and cat are definite.
2) In Hindi, a sentence generally starts with what's called the topic of the sentence, which generally happens to be the definite noun. In other words, Hindi sentences usually start with the definite noun.
There is a cat on the chair. - कुरसी पर (एक) बिल्ली है।
The cat is on a chair. - बिल्ली (एक) कुरसी पर है।
The cat is on the chair. - बिल्ली कुरसी पर है। / कुरसी पर बिल्ली है।
Note: The two possible translations in the third case (which is grammatically identical to the dogs-car example) aren't always interchangeable.
बिल्ली कहाँ है?
बिल्ली कुरसी पर है।
कुरसी पर क्या है?
कुरसी पर बिल्ली है।
Thank you for the detailed comment. This unit really needs a little lightbulb section like the others with this explanation in it!
So, everything you've said makes sense to me until your note at the end.
I understand that the word order in the third case depends on the question being asked, but these exercises are just isolated statements and not answers to questions. So what is the natural word order for a statement with two definite nouns? That's what confuses me.
If I haven't been asked a question and I just want to make a statement like "the cat is on the chair again" or "the mailman is at the door" or "the train is at the station", can I use either word order? If only one is acceptable, which one and why?
Good question. When an isolated sentence has multiple definite nouns, definiteness can no longer help identify the topic of the sentence, and hence, of the rest of the indicators (of topic), namely context, intonation and word order, only word order can be used as a rough guide to discern it.
Usually, the definite noun that comes first will be the topic, so, the sentence should be translated keeping the position of that noun unchanged (with respect to the other noun(s)).
Therefore, "The cat is on the chair" (cat comes first) is most appropriately translated as बिल्ली कुरसी पर है (बिल्ली comes first — position unchanged) and not as कुरसी पर बिल्ली है (बिल्ली doesn't come first).