In this blog post, we’ll talk about the story behind the Cooljugator project, our mission statement and how any user of our website can contribute to making Cooljugator the best (and coolest) verb conjugator on the web!
As enthusiastic language learners ourselves (we speak more than 10 languages between the two of us), we have always been fascinated by how grammar rules shape the nuances of understanding. We enjoy playing around with languages but we also like to share our love for it with other language learners. With this in mind, Cooljugator was born as a personal project for Linas some 5 years ago when he first launched a simple version of the website. He focused on 5 languages that did not have substantial verb conjugation resources available. Though the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and there were many ideas on how to keep growing the resource, there was never enough time to do so and the project remained dormant for a while.
Then it was in 2015 that Linas met Alexey and the two of us realised that by joining forces we could turn Cooljugator into something bigger and, excuse us the pun, cooler. Since then, we went from 5 languages to the current 37 and have grown to about 2,500 visitors per day. (That’s mid-December 2016.) We believe that this is just the beginning and we would like to see Cooljugator become one of the most useful free resources out there for people trying to tackle the intricacies of grammar in any language.
What makes Cooljugator unique, in our opinion? We want to have as extensive and complete coverage of everything related to verb conjugation as possible. This means that simply providing all the forms for each verb is not enough. We want to explain the exact meaning behind these forms with the help of translations and examples from the living language. We also want to provide grammar explanations that are intuitive, visual and captivating, making conjugation patterns easier to understand and to remember. We’ll let you in on a secret here: very soon we will start rolling out grammar maps that show how each conjugated form is connected to the others both grammatically and in terms of meaning. Finally, we want to do the above for many-many languages. We think that by highlighting similarities and differences in conjugation patterns between different languages, language learners can appreciate the nuances of expressing the right meaning even better. You may be reading about French verbs in English, but some of that Spanish you picked up last summer might come in very handy too. No language is an island!
We want all of the above and no less in our final product. It’s a long way to go and it would be a shame to not share any of the intermediate stages with you, our users. Our resources are not perfect yet. We trust the quality of our conjugation patterns as that is the key information that we are building around. When occasional mistakes do creep in, we act fast to eliminate them as soon as we discover them. You may also have noticed that not all our translations and example sentences are of the highest quality, e.g. where the translation is lacking it is replaced with “do”. In order to avoid infringing the copyright of other resources, we have to rely on automated generation for both translations and examples based on open-source resources. With over 250,000 verbs in our database at the moment, it is not possible for us to proofread all the translations and examples for them manually - but as our resource matures, this will eventually happen. And with your help, our resource can mature even faster!
Cooljugator is a hobby project by two language enthusiasts. We started off by playing with it in our own free time but have gradually seen it become almost our full-time occupation. We have neither sought nor plan to seek any outside funding for it as we want to remain an independent project committed to building the best conjugation resource out there, which would always remain free to use for everyone, everywhere. Earlier this year, we started running ads on Cooljugator to cover our rising expenses. (However, in the future we hope to provide a registration based option to use Cooljugator without the ads for our returning users.) The rising expenses of our project are firstly due to increasing costs of website maintenance as the complexity of the website as well as the number of visitors continue to rise at a fast pace. Secondly, not only has Cooljugator gradually become the main occupation for both of us, but we are also in the process of hiring a new collaborator to help us manage the increasing workload in design, web development and outreach.
UPDATE 11 Jan 2017 - We are very happy to welcome Maggie who has joined Cooljugator to help with outreach and data quality assurance!
To be fully transparent about our intentions, in the future, we may begin developing paid-for features such as courses and exercises on Cooljugator, or start selling published grammar materials. However, any of these features would be in addition and not instead of the resources we are currently building, which will always remain free to access.
You can help us in one of two ways, either by donating money to help us run and improve Cooljugator (see button below), or by donating your time to directly contribute to improving Cooljugator’s resources. In the latter case we need native or near-native speakers in all of the languages on our website to help us with double-checking conjugation patterns, improving translations and proofreading our automatically generated example sentences. If you would like to volunteer as much or as little of your time as you can, please send an email to email@example.com stating the language(s) you can contribute to. There are plans for some really cool geeky (the linguistic kind of geeky) t-shirts for our volunteers!:)
Thank you if you’ve read this far, we appreciate your interest in what we are doing! As always, if you have any suggestions, ideas, questions or just want to say hi because you are also a language geek, don’t hesitate to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy cooljugating!