Learning the rules of conjugating verbs is hard enough — let alone all the exceptions of irregulars. It’s like juggling balls — keeping them all in the air — to be able to remember and apply them all immediately as needed.
My Spanish 2 students just completed the imperfect tense, which is the perfect time to sum up and see if they remember the other conjugations: present, preterit and command forms.
The highest grade was a 69%, from my son, a native-born Guatemalan. (We were missionaries.) Not a passing grade at Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica, where only a C is considered passing.
Conjugations belong to the branch of linguistics known as morphology, how words are formed. The dizzying array of conjugations in Spanish (there are 302 variations for each verb) frustrates native English speakers since the changes on the verb in English are few and simple. The poor student asks: Why?
Despite marketing (by Pimsleur and others) alleging that reciting and rewriting lists is useless, I still assert that the old style of learning is the best way to mastery. After all, it worked for me. I didn’t just “catch” Spanish by immersing myself in Mexico; I studied before and during my time of immersion at the University of Guadalajara (sí soy chivo, soy tapatío).
What do you think about conjugations? Can you post a more miserable, conjugation-learning face in the comments?