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  5. "هَل هُناك تِلْفاز؟"

"هَل هُناك تِلْفاز؟"

Translation:Is there a television?

June 26, 2019



In English, the expression "there is/there are" expresses existence. Since we are not questioning whether televisions exist in this dimension, in English we typically indicate the location of said television. Unless the location is expressed or implied in a previous sentence, we would include the location in the sentence with there is. "There" does not express location in this sentence, so a better translation would be "Is there a television here/there?"


"television" is the system of transmitting images... "A television" is the device. We talk about "a" television in a place; we don't talk about the system being in a place. "There is television" is incorrect; we need an article.


"Is there television" should work here, no?


The question is asking whether there is an actual television present, so we need to put the article "a" to denote that.


I'm not sure what you mean by "an actual television present". As opposed to what? I would have answered Tolerating that "Is there television?" is wrong because "television" is a count noun, so requires an article, the indefinite article in this case since the Arabic has no article.


I now understand what was meant by "an actual television". But it now occurs to me that the sentence "is there television" is also OK but means something else. Like if you're going to a remote village, you could ask whether there was television, running water etc in that place, ie the system of television, which would be a non-count noun. But I expect that would be a different word from تِلْفاز in Arabic? It would be interesting to know, if kind native speaker told us.

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