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German really more logical/rigid?

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    A lot of people say that the grammar of German is more 'logical', and that its structure is more rigidly fixed into place, when compared with the Romance languages and with English.

    I study French, German and Spanish at A-Level, and am doing French and German at university next year, and I'm wondering if there is really any basis for thinking that this is the case.

    More instance, is German word order really more fixed than English or French? It's REALLY not as if there is no flexibility, particularly in the literary language. It's also not as if there aren't equally strict syntactical rules in English and French.

    Consider the following (* means ungrammatical to a native):
    *I went yesterday there with my friend
    *I went with my friend yesterday there
    I went there yesterday with my friend
    *I went with my friend there yesterday (maybe this is correct?)
    I went yesterday with my friend there (means something different [by my side])
    I went there with my friend yesterday

    And is German really more logical? This would suggest that there are fewer illogical aspects to the grammar, but really?

    - Verbs that take 'sein' and 'haben' in the perfect is not always predictable (intransitive verbs usually take 'sein', but that is simply not always true)
    - Irregular/strong verbs just as in English
    - Adjectival endings and declension of determiners adds nothing to the meaning of a sentence in a communicative way; their presence in the grammar of German doesn't make it more beautiful or productive, it's just a fact of the language
    - Total irregularity with genders (there are VERY few rules with no exceptions) and plural forms

    I think I've come to the conclusion that this feeling of German being more 'logical' and 'rigid' is just an old wives' tale, as it were. But if so many people think this (lots of people I've met and also the comments I've read on here) maybe it's more than just a myth?
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    I don't know, at GCSE German (I continued Spanish to A Level) we were taught the whole verb being the second idea, then time manner place.
    So, at least to please AQA, it should be
    I went yesterday with my friend to the place.

    Spanish feels a lot more flexible, but then I would usually follow the same order
    Yesterday I went with my friend to the place.

    For a while I got into a bad habit of structuring my Spanish sentences like Latin ones.
    Yesterday I with my friend to the place went.


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Updated: June 15, 2012
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