Eurysilas wrote:OK, so I just need more exposure to the language.....
I knew that Latin word order was freer than other languages, but I have also been told that unusual word order was utilized to place emphasis on certain words. which I don't want to do. So I was anxious to get the standard word order down. But maybe I ought not to get so hung up on it in my first lesson.
It is good but misleading to think of Latin word order as 'free'. For while some syntactic 'objects' you can rearrange as you like, others you can't without making your sentence confusing or wrong. For (an extreme and rather silly) example,
Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris [...] venit
can't be rearranged as
Arma Troiae cano virumque, venit ab qui oris primus.
In other words, words generally have to stay in their own clause. So in the end, you will 'absorb' how it works the more you read. Oh, but a comment: you do
want to 'put emphasis on certain words'. You have to put the words in some order, and they might as well be one that expresses what you want to say with the emphasis that is natural to put on it ... otherwise your Latin may be grammatically correct, but stilted. But yes, if you are still in the early stages don't worry about it too much. Imitate the 'good' Latin you see in whatever textbook you use, and it will all fall together.