Hi, I don't know why I was downvoted, because my argument is perfectly valid since I'm referring only to the English translation. It would be nice if the person who downvoted my comment would explain his/her reasons to do so so we could exchange views. Thanks. Groetjes.
Well, just because something is commonly used it doesn't necessarily mean that it is grammatically correct.
That being said, there are a few things I'd like to add.
First of alk, I only saw this discussion again today after all this time, and when I did, I realised I was confused with my wording/terms: what I actually meant to say is that an 'Existential There' is required here, as some sort of an 'empty' grammatical subject.
The 'old castle' is the real subject here (as allintolearning mentioned), and 'on the left' is just an Adjunct of Place. As such, the latter is not an obligatory constituent and can be omitted/moved around without affecting the grammaticality of the sentence. 'There' has to be placed before the verb as to serve the role of grammatical subject (it has no real meaning, it's only there to fulfil a grammatical function).
There is a castle on the left.
On the left THERE is a castle.
(Sorry for the caps, I don't know how to use boldtype here)
If we omit there, as soon as we remove the non-obligatory element (the Adjunct of Place, 'on the left') or place it at the end we get to see that the sentence is ungrammatical.
The resulting ungrammatical sentences would be:
-- is an old castle.
-- is an old castle on the left.
At the same time, I wanted to add that you are absolutely right when you say that anticipatory it requires the use of the (empty) pronoun it, which in such a case is only in the sentence to fulfil a grammatical function, just as existential there (that of being the grammatical subject if the sentence).
I hope I managed to write this without any spelling mistakes (I have dyslexia), since I had to rewrite everything two times already because of the lack of an edit button on the app (and the disappearance of the activity feed :( ).
And I also hope we can keep exchanging views on this matter, it's always enriching.
The subject is "the castle". There is no problem with mixing up the word order in German, but in English "The old castle is on the left." should be accepted as correct. Tour guides do say it this way also, so it is also correct. In fact when something other than the subject is first, the German verb is still in second position with the subject after it in third position. This places emphasis on the direction you should look and is correct in both languages.
No. At best, you can say "Aan uw linkerkant ligt een oud kasteel", which would translate to "to your left side lies an old castle".
As a side-note: you don't capitalize "u" in Dutch (unless it's the start of the sentence as with every word) and since we're referring to the left side of the person (and therefor like that person's property), you say "uw".
First of all, links is "left" and rechts is "right". Quite important not to mix these two up hehe.
Second, linksaf is more "go to the left" and as you can imagine is used for giving directions rather than indicating a position. Links by itself is used both as indicating direction and position.
No on both accounts. As I've mentioned above, "linksaf" is specifically used for giving directions as in "go to the left", which would translate "aan de linksaf is een oud kasteel" to "on the go to the left is an old castle". What is possible, however, is to say "aan de linkerkant is een oud kasteel", as "links" and "linkerkant" both indicate a position, which translates to "on the left side is an old castle". This wouldn't be an exact translation of what is asked in this assignment, but it is the exact same in meaning and is grammatically correct.
PS: unlike "links", "aan de linkerkant" cannot be used to indicate directions for going to the left, and must be preceded with "aan de" (as I just did) to be grammatically correct.