Here’s a German sentence:
“Gestern hat der Hund eine Feder in seinem Garten gefunden.” (Yesterday has the dog a feather in his garden found)
Here are the rules governing German sentence creation:
1) German nouns have 1 of 3 genders and there is no way to know from the noun what gender it is. Hund is masculine and Feder is feminine
2) German articles match nouns in gender, number and one of four cases. Many German articles are the same– e.g. den means “the” in the masculine accusative singular as well as the plural feminine dative.
3) the masculine singlular nominative article is der
4) the feminine accusative singular indefinite article is eine
5) German word order for declarative sentences is generally SVO but changes depending on emphasis.
6) the simple past tense indicates a short-term action begun and ended during a specific time in the past; in German this tense is formed with the verb sein (to be) or haben (to have) and a past participle which begins with ge- and whose forms are often irregular; the simple past form of finden (to find) takes haben. (German past tense formation is like French’s passé composé.
7) the simple past tense verb is “divided” with an auxiliary verb first, and then dependent items– clauses, objects etc– next, with the past participle coming at the end.
8) dependent intra-verb items broadly follow the order: time, manner, place
9) German nouns and names are capitalised.
10) If a German sentence begins with a time, manner or place marker (e.g. “Yesterday”), the word-order changes from SVO to time marker, auxiliary verb, subject, other dependent items and clauses, then past participle.
11) In (10), the object can go right after the noun, or right before the past participle of the verb.
12) the third-peson singular ending of haben is -t
Ok. Now. Go ask your grammarian colleagues:
A) could anyone learn a language starting with these rules?
B) could anyone other than a linguist catalogue all these rules?
C) do all German speakers learn these rules as babies?
D) Can any German speaker explain these rules?
There you go. The grammarians among you should now be quiet.