Author: Rupert Maxwell Gaut
Author: Rupert Maxwell Gaut
It is the official language of 21 countries & has over 400 million native speakers!
There are also 21 million students of Spanish worldwide, so if you are thinking of learning a language, Spanish is a good choice, and if you are already learning Spanish, muy bien!
Verbwise™ is a series of handy pocket-sized cards designed to help you get to grips with and master Spanish verbs – Accompanied by free lessons: www.facebook.com/verbwiseSpanish
The entire series of Verbwise contains 72 cards featuring a total of 284 verbs, they have been divided into three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. There are 24 cards for each level and the cards at each level have been carefully selected to reflect their frequency of use in every day language.
The cards are colour coded to divide them into seven families of verb: Regular (RE), Stem Change (ST), Ending Change (EN), Stem & Ending Change (SE), Accent Change (AC), Accent & End Change (AE) & Irregular (IR).
Verbwise has been created by myself over a number of years, with the help, advice and encouragement of Miquel Roig, one of Barcelona’s most prestigious graphic designers and founder of Bullet Design (www.bulletdesign.es – @bullet_design). Miquel transformed my early drawings of Berta el búho (Berta the owl), the Verbwise mascot, into her fully fledged form as can be seen below!
Each card is packed with a number of clever features to make the learning process fast and simple. The first three cards in the Verbwise set deal with the formation, more commonly known as conjugation, of regular verbs. There are three types of regular verb ‘ar’, ‘er’ and ‘ir’.
On the front of each card you will find a model verb, its translation, a unique code for that card and a simple rule to indicate how the verb is formed. In addition you will find a list of up to twelve examples of other verbs that follow the same conjugation pattern, as well as a level indicator (Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced) and the Verbwise website – www.verbwise.com.
On the back of each of these cards are shown the complete conjugations of the model verb for all eight tenses: the present, the imperfect, the preterit, the future, the conditional, the perfect & imperfect subjunctives and the imperative. Plus the present participle (also known as the gerund) and the past participle.
So for example if we wish to learn the present tense for ‘HABLAR’ – to speak, all the conjugations can be seen on the back of the card. They are hablo, hablas, habla, hablamos, habláis, hablan and they translate as I speak, you speak, she or he speaks, we speak, you-all speak, they speak.
The key to Spanish verbs is understanding that most verbs are regular BUT the most used verbs tend to be irregular. And this is where the other Verbwise cards come into play.
On the back of the non-regular Verbwise cards you can see that only four tenses are shown: the present tense, the preterit or simple past, the present subjunctive and the imperative, along with the present participle, also known as the gerund and the past participle.
Four tenses have been omitted: the imperfect, the future & conditional tenses and the imperfect subjunctive.
The imperfect tense; this tense is only irregular for three verbs and when this is the case the conjugations are listed on the front of card. So for example for ‘IR‘, which is the Spanish verb ‘to go‘, they are iba, ibas, iba, ibamos, ibaís, iban.
The future and conditional tenses; are always formed using the same endings, which you will learn from the regular Verbwise cards. However they have irregular stems for twelve model verbs, when this is the case this is also indicated on the front of the Verbwise cards.
The Imperfect Subjunctive; always takes its stem from the third person plural of the preterit (aka simple past) – this stem is underscored on every card.
Note: that on the non-regular verb cards i.e. all but the first three cards – irregular conjugations are indicated in bold print.
Also note: that Irregular Verbwise cards (light purple in colour, as shown above) do not have a simple conjugation rule. That’s what makes them irregular!
Unlike a book, which is set out in a specific and unchangeable order, the nice thing about Verbwise cards is that you can easily flick between cards and pick out a specific verb or set of verbs that you are interested in concentrating upon. For example, the most commonly used irregular verbs, as indicated by level – beginner and family – irregular (IR), cards numbered IR01 to IR12.
Verbwise combines a number of ideas to make something that is logical, unique and easy to use!
Remember to watch out for ‘Berta el búho’, the Verbwise watermark to ensure your cards are genuine.
So remember get wise, get Verbwise!
Verbwise bookmarks & keyrings
Verbwise mini reference dictionary & coaster
The Verbwise mini reference dictionary contains nearly 500 Spanish to English verb translations
Android App from Google Play
Risks and challenges
Nothing in life comes without risks & challenges but hey that’s what life’s all about! All the groundwork of the Verbwise cards is completed – designs, layout, etc. I have called upon my background as a Molecular Biologist, having worked in environments where risk analysis is a requirement, to analyze all the major risks that I can envisage.
Risks of problems with printing & distribution: I am working closely with a small, well-established (over 35 years) local family run printing business. I tried a few alternative printers before I settled on these guys and as you can see from their website they are very professional and come highly recommended. Richard Bertram, grandson of founder Harry Bertram, has been very generous with his time in order to discuss and fully understand the project. Richard is a ‘can do guy’, this together with a ‘behind the scenes’ insight into County Print and along with many examples of their previous work has left very confident in their ability to provide and meet all my printing needs as well support with distribution. I am very happy to have found such a great printers on my doorstep in the North East of England!
Risk of Quality Control (QC) issues: In my career as a Molecular Biologist (over 20 years) I have constantly worked in environments that require working to high QC standards. I am familiar with the concepts behind QC standards and how they are best achieved, maintained and sometimes exceeded. For Verbwise I see the QC objectives are fairly simple: to deliver the right reward(s) to the right person in a timely manner. Hopefully everything will go smoothly but just in case I have set aside some time and built in some financial leeway to the project to cope with the unforeseen.
Lastly but not least, I am not in the process of completing any other projects. My project does not require approval or premarket review from an outside company or agency before I can distribute rewards.
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
My very first (very amateur) conception of Berta which included the idea of making her ‘eyebrows’ from the ‘V’ and her legs from the ‘W’ of VerbWise
Birth of Berta
Ryan & Amy – Two young and talented film makers studying at Newcastle College who helped me to make the video for this project (www.lcamedia.co.uk).
Richard from County Print – A fantastic family run printing business established over 35 years, who stand out head and shoulders above all the other local printers that I approached to help with my project (http://www.countyprint.co.uk/).
Bricel – A graphic designer based on the beautiful island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean who has provided the graphic design work required to translate Verbwise from concept to reality (behance.net/bricelbrito).
Amany – An IT support expert who also runs a language learning group (Be Serious & Learn Language).
Sony – and my Xperia L! All the photos for this project were taken using this phone (except the one below…). I used this phone to create the Verbwise Facebook page and wrote many of the early lessons using just this phone!