New to Latin, I can't help but wonder about the following:
Every text I found online claims that since words are inflected (enough) to indicate the roles they play in a sentence, word order has no syntactic importance in Latin, but does it really not matter? Is inflection really sufficient to unambiguously specify what a word does in a sentence?
1) What if you have a compound sentence:
A young man has a friend that has a dog.
Translated into Latin, with proper declension (singular nominative, and assume the nouns are all masculine), we can tell that the adjective "young" doesn't modify "a friend" or "a dog", but if I place it in a random place in the sentence, how can we tell that it modifies "a man" instead of "that"? (If "that" can't be modified, how about "... a good friend ..."? How do we know "good" isn't modifying "a dog"?)
2) Even if you have only a simple sentence, there can still be a problem. Consider:
After visiting my best friend, I ride my broken bike to a store to buy a green apple.
We have "best", "broken" and "green". If I understand the grammar correctly, "friend", "bike" and "apple" are all accusative. Assuming they are all masculine. How do you match the adjectives with the nouns?
And there are also two genitive"my"s, just to make things more complicated.
Btw, by "new to Latin" I mean "a few days into Latin, having read a few Wikipedia articles and some other intros I found on the web, barely able to decipher a Latin sentence with the help of Google translate and Wiktionary", so please be gentle if you use Latin examples in your reply. And please forgive my impatience. I am more curious about the linguistic features of Latin than concerned with its practical uses.