Principles of Latin Word Order
We get lots of questions about Latin word order without a real framework to discuss it beyond saying that this or that puts "emphasis" on something. I would like to start a resource "question" on what determines Latin word order to help guide learners in appreciating their reading and doing their composing.
The focus would not be on the validity of academic theories, but on practical guidance, how to best interpret and appreciate texts, and what to look out for as potentially meaningful in the word order, and examples from the literature to explore the issues. There would be "answers" voted up or down addressing at least the following distinct issues people encounter. The examples would be important, since they are the true resource. Where relevant answers have already been posted elsewhere, we could link to them. The overall resource could be framed something like: "What should I know and appreciate about Latin Word Order?. Here are potential subtopics:
A. General principles (e.g., Why is Latin word order so different from English? What determines the general principles? Should I worry about it or does anything go when I translate English into Latin? What are academic resources to explore the issue further? (e.g., specific works by Devine and Stephens, Olga Spevak, Wikipedia on Latin Word Order, William Gardner Hale, and Allen and Greenough);
B. What is the typical order of major sentence constituents and why does it change? (e.g., Verb last or first and why? Subject or object first and why (with salient examples from real texts);
C. What is the "correct" order for specific sentence constituents and parts of speech, such as 1. head nouns linked to genitives, adjectives, and demonstratives in noun phrases, 2. the varying positions of "sum," 3. pronoun placement, 4. verbs and the infinitives or clauses they link to (all with example sentences from the literature, and 5. particles like "enim" that always go in "second" place in the sentence;
D. What is hyperbaton/constituent scrambling and why does it seem so much more common in Latin than in English? How does it work, and what does Latin do it that way? I don't mean the use of hyperbaton as a mere rhetorical device, but rather the information structure it signals (again, with salient examples from real texts);
E. Perhaps, how does any of the above inform our understanding of the use of Latin rhetorical devices, such as the reason for the chiasmus in this sentence that led the audience to burst into applause of approval patris dictum sapiēns temeritās fīlī comprobāvit.
One possibility is to preferentially highlight usage in a single famous text or passage, such as "Against Cataline" or the Gallic Wars to show how the various issues work themselves out in real contexts that can be further examined at leisure.
This is potentially a lot to tackle, but much is already out there about these issues scattered here and there. It could grow with time, and using specific examples from real texts would be an excellent resource.
Since much of this information cannot easily be found in learner materials, I think it would be of great service and raise the appreciation of how Latin word order was used creatively to create great literature. Besides, many of the issues are probably broadly applicable to Greek as well.