Question: had the sentence been "Ahma istuu hiljassa maassa." would it then mean "The wolverine is sitting on the quiet ground"? I ask because I want to understand the dynamics of cases here. Of course "quiet ground" is debatable, unless an earth quake is going on.
Hi, good question and you are on the right track. However, hiljaa is an adverb and doesn't have cases. The corresponding adjective is "hiljainen" and you could say "Ahma istuu hiljaisessa maassa" (which sounds a bit weird) or, for example, "Ahma elää hiljaisella alueella" = "The wolverine lives in a quiet area."
Hear, hear! I agree. As a professional English language copywriter who also reads and writes Japanese, I believe that when learning a totally alien language it is most practical to just memorize patterns with particular words, and save the synonyms for later. The concept of "correct translation" is misguided. There is only effective or ineffective communication. Once you get the patterns down so they are automatic, you can start experimenting with creative expression.