Hi I'm working on a software project for work that inflects english words into their various derived forms. e.g. work (verb) -> works, working, worked. My main problem at the moment is that I need to standardize some naming conventions or categories for each inflection type in my program, and then funnel scraped data from across the internet into these categories.
For nouns it was fairly easy since there is just plural and possessive (correct me at any point if there is an error).
For adjectives I have base form, superlative, and comparative.
For verbs the situation is more complicated. I have a mood -> tense -> person -> number hierarchy currently that was brought over from the Italian language system. I want to be clear that I do not need a category for every possible combination, and I do not need separate categories for conjugations that use auxiliary verbs, only those which inflect the verb's form. I want a minimum set of categories that will fully describe all possible flexed regular & irregular verb forms. For instance from what I can tell https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/be#Conjugation "be" is the most irregular verb and has 8 different forms, so ideally I'd like to have at most 8 categories.
At the moment, when I say "category" I mean a single combination of multiple "aspects". Sorry if I am using jargon loosely or improperly, I'm learning things as I do research for this project.
So far I have the following jumble of aspects:
indicative, imperative, subjunctive, infinitive, participle
present, past, preterite
first person, second person, third person
An example of a category might be
indicative, present, third person, singular for work -> works.
I do not need to keep this hierarchy, I can use any flat or nested structure necessary. However, I need to know how a standard conjugation table (from wiktionary for example) might map onto it.
Currently I'm most worried about moods and tenses. For instance is the preterite identical to the past form? I understand that it's used to describe a different tense but it seems like the base inflection is the same. Can I get rid of one, and if so which?
The moods were mostly just copied and pasted from Italian. Can I get rid of the imperative? Does it have the same inflection pattern (i.e. none at all) as the infinitive?
Thanks for any replies