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380                The Loom oj Language
large class (about 350) embraces verbs like fina (finish) of which the
infinitive ends in -IR The third is made up of about 50 verbs like
vendre (sell), of which the infinitive ends in -RE A small group of
about twenty verbs which end in -IR are also worth considering as
a separate family It is made up of words like parttr (go away), and
dormr (sleep), which are in constant use These verbs lack the trade-
mark of the fimr conjugation Verbs of the finir class have a suffix
added to the stem throughout the plural of the present, through-
out the imperfect tense and the subjunctive This suffix, -ISS> comes
from the Latin accretion -ISC or -ESC which originally indicated the
beginning of a process Thus the Latin verb for to burst into flower is
florescere The same suffix, which survives in evanescent, putrescenty
incandescent, adolescent, lost its meaning through too frequent use in
Vulgar Latin
With the models shown m the table on p 379 to guide him (or her)
and the parts listed in any good dictionary, the home student of French
can add to the stem of most (footnote p. 391) irregular verbs the ending
appropriate to the context The overwhelming majority of verbs are
regular, and fall into one of the conjugations listed To write French
passably, it is therefore essential to learn a model of each conjugation as
given in the table on p 379 and to memorize the personal terminals of
each tense To lighten the task the home student may find it helpful to
make tables of (a) personal terminals common to all tenses, (i) personal
terminals common to the same tense of all conjugations Fortunately, we
can get by in real life with much less (see p. 391) For reading purposes
what is most essential is to be able to recognize the tense form
Within the three conjugations a few deviations from the rule occur
-er verbs which have a silent E or an 2j in the second last syllable, change
E or  to  before the endings -e, -es3 and -ent, e g mener (lead), 70 mene
(I lead), posseder (possess),;*? possede (I possess) Most verbs ending in -ler
or -ter> double L or T instead of having E, e g appeler (caft), j'appelle (I
caU),;eter (throw), je jette (I throw) Verbs in -ayer> -oyer, -uyer, substi-
tute / for Y before a silent E or a consonant, e g essayer (attempt),
fesswe (I attempt) If C befoie A or O has the value of a sibilant, a
cedilla (5) is added, e g percer (pierce), nous persons (we pierce). G in the
same situation takes a silent E unto itself, e g manger (eat), nous mangeons
(we eat) If the third person singular of the verb in a question has a final
vowel and precedes a pronoun beginning with a vowel, a T is inserted to
avoid a hiatus, e g aime~t-il3 parle-t-on> viendra-t-elle
We may also arrange Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian, like French
verbs, in three main conjugations, of which there are models set out in