Somehow I’ve misplaced the posts that discussed the possibility of not using “hay” in Spanish, i.e. “there is”. Maybe it was on another listserv; I don’t know. But I wasn’t going to respond until I read this in Ergativity by R. M. W. Dixon on p. 209:
(paraphrased)Du Bois’s second major insight and one which is of vital interest ………. is that a new participant tends to be introduced through a noun phrase in the function of the subject of an intransitive verb or an object and only fairly seldom in the function of the subject of a transitive verb. Like all other generalisations in the field of discourse, this is a tendency, not any sort of definite rule. Bit is is a most recurrent tendency.
In some languages there is a special type of verbless â€˜presentational’ construction (similar to â€˜there is an X’ or â€˜there’s this X’ in English). Typically used for the introduction of new participants. Leaving this aside it is the case that less than 10 per cent of new participants enter in the form of a noun phrase in the subject of transitive verb function.
So…….. it appears “there is” is essential to narratives.