"This woman takes water from me."
Translation:यह औरत मुझसे पानी लेती है।
Could someone explain Hindi word order please? Specifically indirect and direct objects. I'm talking about interchanging the order of मुझसे and पानी in this sentence (I'm assuming मुझसे is a direct object). Would it be allowed? If so, is one variant more standard than the other? I read in one random place that generally indirect objects go before direct ones, which would be the opposite of what's here.
मुझसे is the indirect object in this sentence and पानी is the direct object.
Nouns appear by themselves when they are direct objects and are followed by postpositions when they are indirect objects. So, पानी which isn't the object of any postposition is a direct object of the verb लेना.
Pronouns appear in the nominative case (ie, their standard form) when they are direct objects of a verb and in their other forms when they are indirect objects. So, it would have been मैं and not मुझसे if it were the direct object of a verb. However, the point is moot because words referring to people are almost never used as direct objects of a verb in Hindi.
You are right that indirect objects generally go before direct objects in the standard form. So, मुझसे goes before पानी. However, you can switch things around to shift emphasis. For example, while answering the question 'Who does she take water from?', you can say 'यह औरत पानी मुझसे लेती है' because it places emphasis on मुझसे/'from me'.
In general, the subject goes first in Hindi sentences because the usual word order is SOV (subject-object-verb). In this example, the subject is यह औरत.
1. There are some exceptions to this rule where you can convey some different meanings by shifting the word order.
For example, चिड़ियाँ आसमान में हैं is the usual SOV sentence and translates to 'The birds are in the sky. However, you can change the order to आसमान में चिड़ियाँ हैं which becomes 'There are birds in the sky'. The shifted order is serving the same function as 'There is' in the English sentence, ie, to shift emphasis to change the meaning.
Similarly, to convey 'I like mangoes', since Hindi doesn't have a verb 'to like', we shift the word order in आम मुझे पसंद हैं (Mangoes are likeable to me) and make it मुझे आम पसंद हैं.
2. All these rules are mostly only for written and formal Hindi. Colloquial spoken Hindi is very lax on word order so मुझसे यह औरत पानी लेती है। wouldn't be out of place there.