I know that there is freer word order in Polish vs English, but I'm curious how common it is to place subject and object together at the beginning of a sentence before any verbs have been used. How acceptable is it to use English-style word order in Polish? Would it sound awkward?
Nope, 'to listen' is one of these nasty verbs you have to memorise together with their preposition, as it's intransitive in all of its meanings, so whatever it is that you pay attention to, using your sense of hearing, requires some preposition, usually 'to'. ;)
'Słuchać ' means 'to obey' too, right? So shouldn't that version of the verb translation work too?