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Try my French verb conjugator

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I made a valiant effort to learn French. For three semesters, I went to night classes at the University of California (Berkeley) extension in San Francisco. With that foundation, I started reading. I never claim to speak French, and my aural comprehension is terrible. But I did learn to read French quite well, and I would have to say that the effort I put into it was well rewarded, because I was able to read some of the classics of 19th Century French literature — Les Misérables, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, Notre-Dame de Paris (the English title is The Hunchback of Notre Dame), La Dame aux Camélias, and some of the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud.

Verbs, of course, are a major problem. Back then, no online verb conjugators existed, so I made my own. As a learning exercise, and working with books on the conjugations of French verbs, I typed in the conjugations of 1,446 French verbs. I imported all those verbs into a MySQL database and made a web interface for queries. Fortunately, I preserved the data over the years, though it existed only on old archive disks. Not too long ago I retrieved the data, put it into MySQL again, and got the query interface running again (written in php), just to preserve it. There are many conjugators (not to mention translators) on the web today, so my efforts are redundant. But I figured that it would be a shame to let all that work be lost.

The verb conjugator lives on the site that I use as a hot backup for this blog. I synchronize the backup only once a month, so, other than the verb conjugator, you should ignore the backup site. The verb conjugator is here:

Verb conjugator: 1,446 French verbs

Reading (at least for most of us) is much easier than speaking. If we need a verb form while speaking, then the correct form of the verb needs to be on the tips of our tongues. But when we encounter verb forms in reading, all we need to do is recognize from the verbs’ ending what form of the verb we’ve encountered — whether the verb is singular, plural, indicative, conditional, subjunctive, etc. And of course many forms of verbs are very rarely used. In English, how often do you say, “I shall have been there for three hours before you arrive”?

One Comment

  1. Henry Sandigo wrote:

    David, have you heard Florida’s Orange County has banned John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” due to a passage in Book Four where Adam and Eve are introduced “Naked” amongst a few other passages. The County wanted to “err on the side of caution” since the State requires books that may be “lewd” should be removed from library shelves.

    Friday, January 5, 2024 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

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