Translation:This is the wall
At first "this wall" was the default answer, but at the present moment the default is "This is the wall". For some reason "this wall" is wrong. I think they made a mistake changing that. A better sentence for "This is the wall" would be هذا هو الحائط and "this wall" should be the default answer.
From what I learnt, هذا/هذه alone cannot be used as the subject of a sentence. You have to add either a noun like in the given example هذا الحائط (this wall) or you have to add a pronoun, e.g., هذا هو الحائط (this is the wall). So, using ‘this’ as a subject pronoun should be هذا هو or هذه هي depending on gender.
it is an issue of context - for this i would say it has to do with thinking of concepts in Arabic, rather than in translation from English, which one will acquire with time :)
Let's say in an Arabic thinking mode, you do not necessarily need a verb to express meaning independently when there is no change in state or motion or something 'actually happening' if you may. There is this pressure to insert a verb though when translating because it does make a sentence independent. But even if one is to use the common sentence that would translate as a stand-alone to 'This is the wall' it would be هذا هو الحائط which still lacks a verb. :)
Seems to me strange to call that letter (hamza with) a dotless ى as carrier. Doesn't look much like a ى. At first I thought it was a Daal, but that didn't correspond with the audio. Would a Daal look different (regardless of the nonsense of having a hamza on a Daal)? What determines that it's a ى?
Thank you very much for your answer, CarstenLuc. I'd forgotten that ى looks completely different in different positions. That's great. Except that why does it adopt an initial position in the middle of a word? Oops, I suppose it thinks it's in initial position because the alif to its right doesn't connect to its following letter. Gosh, does that mean any letter following a letter that doesn't connect to its follower behaves as if in initial position? Wow.
And while we're talking about letters, CarstenLuc, could you tell me if there's any logic in the shape of the four emphatic consonants - ط ظ ض ص -. ? Why should S have the same shape as D? and DH as T? The two fricatives have different shapes - ص ظ - while the two plosives are also different - ض ط -. The only logic I can see is to do with the dots (which I understand were in any case added later) which belong to the two voiced consonants - ظ ض -. Can you help me with this?
To really answer this question, we need someone with a deeper knowledge of the history of the Arabic abjad (or maybe alphabets in general) who can share some insight on how these different sounds ended up having so similar visual representations.
Yes, from the Latin alphabet, we are used to the fact that dots and other accents above letters just modify the base letter but the result has at least some relation to the base letter.
In the Arabic abjad, on the other hand, it seems that these dots above (or below) letters create new standalone letters with their own sounds, which only have a visual similarity. Maybe more like asking why the Latin letters O and Q or P and R have so different sounds although they look so similar.
Yes, your analogy with O vs Q and P vs R is a good one. But the difference is that originally these four Arabic letters didn't have any dots (originally no letters had dots). So it was bad enough that ب ت ث and ي, the latter only in initial and medial position, were identical, never mind the three varieties of ح and the many pairs such as ر and ز etc. But these emphatic consonants at least have in common the "body" of the letter, and then two have an upwards stick, while two have a downwards curly tail, and I suppose it's the shared body that marks them as emphatic letters. The mystery is why, without the dots, S and D should be identical, and DH and T. I've looked online for an explanation but not found any. Surely it can't be random?
Yes, kobold83915! We have to make up our own ways of remembering and differentiating. But though I agree that for S and D the tongue is further back in the mouth (base of lower front teeth) than for DH (between the upper and lower front teeth), there is no such emphatic consonant as TH, is there! The missing one is T, and I think its tongue placement is more similar to S and D, don't you?