About the Ultra Handy Japanese Verb Conjugator

The Ultra Handy Japanese Verb Conjugator was the result of more than 12 years of pent up frustration in not being able reach fluency in Japanese. Ok, I've got the excuse that I don't actually live there, but my wife is Japanese and my son overtook me when he was 4. I can't understand what's going on in my own house half the time.

Why focus on verbs?
I had once reached a reasonable level of fluency in Spanish which made my failure in Japanese even more annoying. Even though I probably knew almost as many words and phrases in Japanese as I do in Spanish, I couldn't string them together quickly enough to partake in any sort of meaningful conversation. However I finally realised where the missing link to fluency lay - in the ability to quickly conjugate verbs.

Why the website?

A bit of investigation led me to discover that Japanese verb conjugation follows strict rules, once you know the rules you can conjugate any verb. I found the easiest way to get my head round the rules was to write it out in pseudo-code. Once I'd written out the pseudocode the next logical step was to actually produce the program to do it. I figured that this would act as extra revision and who knows - someone else might find it useful!

How does it work?

A number of functions (attempt to) do the right stuff to the dictionary form of a Japanese verb in order to conjugate it into the different tenses. This is done on the fly - you can even make up a verb as long as it looks like a Japanese verb (ends in 'u', basically).
The list of verbs is stored on a database. If I add a new verb to the database it will appear on the list and can be conjugated by clicking on it.
This is still a work in progress - both linguistically and technically - so if you see an error, or have any other comments, post a comment

8 comments:

  1. There's a little book by Barron's titled "Japanese verbs" which reports exactly the same conjugations as your Website. It would be more useful to have a search engine able to parse the verb tense you write in it and tell you back the tense and the verb dictionary form. Can you include such a function in your Website? It would be very very useful for everyone studying Japanese! Keep up with the nice work.

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  2. とりあえず,ありがとう!日本語を勉強している大学生として作文を書く時はいつもそれ助かりました。

    The one thing I did note is that you leave out conjugating the passive tense on a lot of the verbals, so would there be a reason for that? It turns up rather frequently in my readings and writings, so I was curious.

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  3. Thanks for your comments!

    Guy - It would be quite difficult to write a program to 'de-conjugate' a verb; I don't actually store the conjugations anywhere, they're done on the fly when you click the button or click on a link from the list of verbs.
    What I might be able to do is have a Google site search which would work for the ones on the list of verbs page which have been indexed by Google.

    Phillip - I did have the passive on the site but someone pointed out there was some errors. I hope to add it again as soon as I have fixed it.

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  4. I am a Japanese Language Student. So far I found many verbs ending with U, KU, SU, TSU, NU, FU, MU, YU, RU. But I found the only verb which ended with NU i.e. SHINU=to die. Have you found any verb ending with NU? If found, please guide me. My e-mail address is soman_a_b@yahoo.co.in
    The list of verbs given in your site is quite helpful.

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  5. aru - to have to exist - page is down

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  6. I think the provisional form of matsu (to wait) is mateba, not matseba

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    1. Yes you're right there was a bug in my code. Should be fixed now. http://www.japaneseverbconjugator.com/VerbDetails.asp?txtVerb=matsu
      Thanks :-)

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  7. Your site and http://www.gokanji.com/cgi-bin/j-e/dict are the most useful resources on the internet!

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