May 28, 2012 | Review Period


Which Romance language wins?

In Spanish Verb Tenses, author Dorothy Richmond seems to be trying to start a Romance language war.

In a provocative chapter on stem-changing verbs, which are verbs like almorzar (to eat lunch), morir (to die), and dormir (to sleep), she writes, “Many people wonder, Why all this bother? Why not just conjugate these verbs using the regular pattern covered in Chapter 1?”

Which Language Has Better Verbs, Spanish or Italian?

Which Language Has Better Verbs, Spanish or Italian?

The answer, she says, “has to do with sound: Spanish is nothing if not mellifluous. Without the stem change, we would have forms such as almorzo, moro, and dormo. It’s easy to hear how deficient these sounds are compared to their correct counterparts of almuerzo, muero, and duermo.”

She continues, “It’s well worth the effort to learn to conjugate these verbs, and after a bit, you will be conjugating them correctly based on sound alone. Not making the stem change will be painful to your delicate ears.”

Here’s the funny thing.

He sleeps:

  • Spanish: duerme
  • Italian: dorme

He dreams:

  • Spanish: sueƱa
  • Italian sogna

I believe Portuguese does not change stems for those verbs either.

Poor unmellifluous other languages! 

Comments (1)

Kris L. • Posted on Sat, August 24, 2013 - 9:47 pm EST

Well, my language at the moment is German and those prepositions, particularly zum and am, are giving me grief.  It seems as though it does depend on the noun following it, but I’m still dazed by the two.

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