Friday, December 14, 2012

Conjugations--Some Verb-ose Observations

Occasionally, I think about conjugation as either a second-nature reflex or a throw-up-the-hands convention for rolling the eyes at. I have no problem with writing, editing, and verbalizing subject and verb agreement and tenses in English. But my recall for almost anything in Spanish and French (my foreign language electives from way back)—well, fuggedaboutit.

I studiously and happily conjugated away, and made great grades. These days, however, I'm lucky to remember more than one or two conjugated forms. And I'm pretty much limited to third-person simple present indicative tense.

I think it's actually appealing to just drop all the subject-verb number agreements. Let's just have one verb, as number is already accounted for with the subject. What's wrong with the following?
I work.
We work.
You work. (Skip y'all work.)
He, she, or it work.
They work.
I also find it curious that singular for a verb would be adding an "s" for third person singular. Yet, most cases of making a single noun plural is adding an "s" or "es" at the end.
A baker bakes.
Bakers bake.
It'd be simple to just use one verb and let the noun take care of the number.
A baker bake.
Bakers bake.
Come to think of it, future and past tenses don't differentiate the verb form for number.
A baker baked.
Bakers baked.
A baker will bake.
Bakers will bake.
To take this observation even further, check out the conjugation for "to bake". The only differentiation for subject-verb number agreement is in the present tense and the present tense variations! And for only third-person singular vs. plural!

The basic online conjugator site looks good for mechanical conjugation. Fill the field with an infinitive, select French, English, Spanish, or German, and click the Conjugate button. For English, you can just enter a root verb, omitting "to". For that matter, you can enter a non-verb, and the site conjugates anyway. I discovered that anomaly when I stumbled onto the site, and history was already in the input field. Maybe "history" autofilled because of my poking around the web with "history" as a keyword.

The silver lining to the silliness of conjugating "to history" is gleaning the patterns and technical terms for conjugation groups themselves, which the site nicely shows in a mostly logical grid pattern. After I got over the initial surprise of seeing "to history" conjugated, I appreciated the layout for mostly orderly groupings. Curiously, the future tense conjugation was not near the present and past conjugations as I would have expected. Present and past (noted as preterite) were grouped as Simple form, along with infinitive, imperative, present participle (historying), and past participle (historied).

Ah, the Compound form group also has a past participle, but it's listed as having historied. Curiously, the future tense is in the compound grouping. To complicate matters, the group also lists present continuous, past continuous, past perfect continuous, present perfect, past perfect, future perfect continuous, future, future continuous, future perfect, past perfect continuous. Not sure why the grid arrangement.

The second part of my verb-ose observations pertain to mostly infinitives and gerunds. Visit Some Verb-ose Observations 2.

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