"A girl was born in Germany."
Translation:Puella in Germania nata est.
The verb in this sentence is nata est, not just est. It is from the deponent verb nascor, nasci, which can mean "to be born". The perfect tense of this verb would be natus/nata/natum est, depending on gender. In this case, since the puella is feminine, you would expect nata. As a result, you get nata est, was born. I know that this course doesn't at the moment teach you the perfect tense, so I'm just telling you this as a heads up.
Deponent verbs use passive voice, but have a meaning in the present. (just saying for the people who don't know).
English language considers the action in the past, when Romance languages consider, not the action, but the result of the action, the state to be "born-ed". So, as you are always in this state, you "are" born, for Romance languages. (indeed, it's rather an English language specificity than the opposite).
That's a good explanation.
Once again, (for the people who don't know) it's a matter of how different languages frame thing differently. There are different ways to conceptualize something, and from that there are different ways to put that into words.
It's very very easy to take how your native language says something for granted, to assume it's the natural way to say it, but that's just not true at all.
In old English texts (not Old English texts, which are a different matter entirely) the verb 'to be' is sometimes used to form the perfect tense also.
Eg. in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure "I am come to know your pleasure." (Modern translation: I have come to find out what you want to do.) or in the King James Bible "Think not that I am come to destroy the law..." (Do not think that I have come to destroy the law...).
Using "to be" as the auxiliary verb instead of "to have" was used as recently as the 1800s, although at that point it was on the decline. People also used to say "a house is building" instead of "a house is being built".
In King James English, the "I am come" descends directly from the language's Germanic roots. Consider modern German: "Ich bin gekommen." SOME romance languages also preserve the Latin's use of this construction; French: "Je suis venu"; Italian: "Sono venuto." But Spanish does not: "He venido."
Only the names of cities, towns, and small islands, along with the words "domus", "rus", and "humus" take the locative. "Germania" is the name of a country and therefore takes a preposition plus ablative.
Here is a plain-English overview of what the cases are and how they work:
Latin cases, in English
Adjectives must agree in gender, number, and case with the nouns they modify, but they have their own declensions. Sometimes you get lucky and the adjective just happens to follow the same declension as the noun, but that is not a guarantee.
Two reasons. First (and most saliently here), verbs tend to go last in Latin. It's generally an SOV language. Also, verbs in Latin stack the opposite way as in English. You'll also see this in sentences like:
Viri et feminae in lecto dormire solent.
Men and women usually sleep in a bed.
(literally: Men and women are accustomed to sleeping in bed.)
Matrem visitare debeo.
I ought to visit mother.
(literally: I have to visit mother. Yes, the literal "have". Because it is a debt, an obligation you possess.)
This is how the tense suffixes evolved in the Romance languages, by fusing the auxiliary verb to the end of the main verb.