Linguistic sidebar

I was visiting with my second cousins this afternoon and attempted to improve my French skills by reading one of their childrens’ bandes dessinées. It turns out that the the verb schtroumpfer (English: ‘to smurf’) is a regular 1st group verb which can be conjugated, presumably, in all 97 possible combinations of tense, mood, aspect, etc. Je schtroumpfe (I smurf), tu schtroumpfes (you(s) smurf), vous schtroumpfiez (you(pl) were smurfing), ils ont schtroumpfé (they smurfed), que nous schtroumpfions (that we would smurf), elle schtroumpferait (she would smurf), and so on. However, the whole exercise turned out to be pedagogically somewhat useless, since it was more or less the only verb employed in the narrative, leaving the reader to discern the action from the illustrations rather than the text. It’s also not a verb that you can employ very often in day to day conversation.

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